Hair Schools in Washington, DC

Browse our directory of hair design schools in Washington, DC, or skip ahead to learn about the state's hair design licensing requirements and job outlook.

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How to Become a Hair Designer in Washington, DC

Washington, DC Hair Design Careers At a Glance
  • 1,500 education hours or 2,000 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years.
  • 6 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for cosmetologists in Washington, DC is $31,960 ($15.37/hour). This is higher than the national average of $26,090 ($12.54/hour).
  • There is a predicted 12% job increase between 2016-2026 for cosmetologists. This is higher than the expected national growth of 9%.

Do you have a creative and artistic bent? Do you enjoy styling friends and family member's hair for them? The field of hair styling and hair design is always looking for talented newcomers as every city, town, village, and hamlet in this country offers hairdressing services to the public.

So if you love to interact with people, making them both feel and look their best, a career in hair design in the District of Columbia just might be right for you!

State License Requirements

1,500 Education Hours OR 2,000 Apprentice Hours

Required to earn a hair design license

To become a practicing hair designer, you will need to have a license from the Washington, DC Board of Cosmetology. To obtain this you must complete 1,500 hours of classroom training in cosmetology and hair styling at an accredited institution. Usually this would be a school of cosmetology, but some local community colleges offer associate's (2 year) degrees programs that are also eligible for licensure.

Education Details

The curriculum in cosmetology and hairdressing school covers a wide range of subject. You will learn about the physiology of hair, skin and nails, and diseases and conditions of each. You will learn about hair styling and hair cutting, as well as coloring and highlighting, and straightening techniques such as keratin treatments. You will study skin care and makeup application, and the tools and products used in all of these areas. Sterilization and sanitation will be covered. And your program may teach you some aspects of the business of running a hairdressing or cosmetology salon. You will train by viewing videos and live examples of professionals performing these different services. You will get a chance to practice on mannequins where appropriate, and fellow students before moving on to work on clients. Some individuals choose to extend their training by apprenticing with a skilled professional in the field who can supervise your work and help you refine your skills. You will then need to take and pass the licensing exam which will test both your theoretical knowledge and your practical skills. After passing the exam and paying the requisite fee, you will be issued your license to practice. Licenses in the District of Columbia must be renewed every two years, and you must complete a minimum of six continuing education credits for renewal.

License Renewal

2 Years

License renewal period

6 Hours

Continuing education required

In our nation's capital, you will need to renew your cosmetologists license through the Board of Barber and Cosmetology, which regulates these areas of the beauty industry in the area. To earn your cosmetology license you will first need a minimum of 1,500 hours of training. You will have to renew your license every other year, and submit a payment of $105, along with your application materials. Make sure when you compare beauty schools that you ask each one how they help you prepare for the other requirements to be a hair designer in DC.

District of Columbia Hair Design Careers


Average yearly salary for hair design in District of Columbia

Individuals who are licensed in hairdressing and cosmetology in the District of Columbia earned an average wage of $31,960 in 2019, the last year for which data exist according to O*Net. Of course, this is just an average. When you are starting out, your annual income may be somewhat less, but has the potential to increase with years of experience, a growing clientele, and the addition of new skills. If you specialize in hair design for certain events, such as for weddings, or for fashion and photo shoots, or for television and stage, your income stands to be proportionally higher. And the field of hairdressing and cosmetology is growing 12% between 2016 and 2026, so jobs should be available for new graduates and people looking to move up within the industry.

Of course, designing a hairdo is always something that is done for an individual with a particular facial shape, facial features, and coloring. Thus, every creation is uniquely designed for the person you are working on. Most hair designers work in beauty salons or spas, but many alternate settings exist in which to practice your craft. You may travel to client's homes to design their hair, or to the location at which your clients are working, like a television studio or fashion shoot. If you design hair for bridal parties, you will most likely need to travel to the venue at which the wedding will take place. You may need to work early morning hours and well as some evenings and weekends. Still, you will have some scheduling flexibility. You can work either part or full time, so if you have other commitments you can most likely work around them. Hair design is always a fun, positive experience for the person having his or her hair done. They expect to look great, and enjoy the process as well as the interaction. If you are a people-person, and hair is your thing, do consider a career in hair design in the District of Columbia. It could be the beginning of a fun, exciting future!

Contact the District of Columbia State Board of Cosmetology

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Many who have gone into hair design as a career in the District of Columbia find it a rewarding experience. It’s also a jumping point to greater notoriety as well, bolstered by a certain coterie of hair stylists who’ve made the city sparkle nationally. They all have gotten their start by consulting these groups.

Black Beauty Association
Professional Beauty Association

Hair Design
District of Columbia

How to Become a Hair Designer in Your State

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