Working in the North Carolina Beauty Industry: What to Know
Considering becoming a cosmetologist, barber, esthetician, massage therapist, or another beauty professional in North Carolina? Have some questions before you dedicate the time and money to this journey?
We're here to help!
Read on to learn about the cosmetology field in North Carolina and get the answers to a ton of frequently asked questions.
Attending Beauty School in North Carolina
Here are answers to common questions about beauty school and licensure in North Carolina.
North Carolina has a ton of state-approved cosmetology, barbering, massage, and other similar schools ready to open their doors to you. We've created a list of the best cosmetology schools in North Carolina for you to check out. You can also read through options in different parts of the state below.
Best Cosmetology Schools in North Carolina Metro Areas
We've ranked the top cosmetology schools in metro areas within or near North Carolina to help you find your perfect fit.
How Long Is Beauty School in North Carolina?
The length of time it takes to graduate from beauty school depends on the beauty subject and discipline you are studying for. Let's look at North Carolina's licenses, hours spent in school, and a short list of the topics you'll learn about.
North Carolina Beauty School Curriculum
Most people pay for a beauty school in North Carolina by using their own money, taking out loans, or getting scholarships or grants. Instead of making you read paragraph after paragraph for all of those things, you can find some information about the most relevant parts below:
Individual schools offer most cosmetology and trade school scholarships in North Carolina. However, you may find a few options at the state level if you attend specific, approved schools.
The state doesn't have one central licensing location. If you want to find your beauty career's licensing board, look up to find out where to get all the licensing info.
What Specialties Need Licenses in North Carolina?
North Carolina makes cosmetology specialty licensure a bit confusing. Here are some specialties people ask about a lot:
What Can Natural Hair Stylists Do in North Carolina?
North Carolina natural hair stylists can do services dealing with hair tension. These include locking, twisting, wrapping, placing extensions, or installing weaves. They can also cut off artificial hair.
Natural hair stylists in North Carolina can't cut real hair, use rollers alone, or work with chemical adhesives.
To do more in-depth natural hair work, you need to get a cosmetology license. You could also take voluntary continuing education classes to perfect your skills. The state board offers many free options.
What Beauty Jobs Can I Do Without a License in North Carolina?
Shampooers in North Carolina don't need licenses. Those who work in tanning need certification, but a license isn't required. Permanent makeup artists in North Carolina need permits but don't need specific training.
Pretty much everyone else needs a license.
How Much Do North Carolina Beauty Professional Licenses Cost?
Do I Need to Speak English to Get a Beauty License in North Carolina?
The barbering written exam is available in Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. You need to request this modification ahead of time.
The electrology board doesn't talk about languages offered for the exam. But, since they plan to merge with the barbering board, there's a chance the languages will be the same.
Massage therapists must prove English proficiency.
No matter what, you need to speak, read, and write English to some level to work in cosmetology in North Carolina. If you aren't fluent, getting help from bilingual teachers or peers may help. You may also be able to take English language classes through your local community college or other programs.
Can I Get Disability Accommodations in Cosmetology School and on My Exams?
In most circumstances, you can get accommodations in cosmetology school and exams.
For the exams, you need to contact the examiners ahead of time so they can decide upon your request.
North Carolina cosmetology schools have to follow customary ADA laws. But, those that don't receive federal funding may have less of an obligation.
Lots of states have one or two licensing agencies or boards overseeing cosmetology and related beauty careers. North Carolina takes individual jobs super seriously, though. It has licensing agencies for a bunch of different professions.
The North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts regulates:
Massage therapists go through the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy.
The Board of Barber Examiners is the place to look at if you're wanting to become a barber.
Even electrologists have a board: the North Carolina Board of Electrolysis Examiners.
Note: North Carolina ratified a bill to merge the barber and electrolysis boards. This hasn't happened as of August 2022. Look up "NC Board of Barber and Electrolysis Examiners" if things are different when you read this. (We do our best to stay on top of these things, but hey, we're only human!)
What Are the Most In-Demand Beauty Jobs In North Carolina?
All cosmetology jobs in North Carolina should grow over the next several years. To up your chances of employment, look into some of these options.
Oncology Esthetician, Nurse Esthetician, or Medical Esthetician
Where Can I Do Makeup and Hair in North Carolina?
Most North Carolina cosmetologists are self-employed or work in places like salons and spas. Almost as many pros work in stores, hotels, and care facilities like nursing homes.
The only North Carolina beauty pros more likely to work for others are estheticians and nail technicians.
You can make a good living as a beauty pro in North Carolina because the state's cost of living is lower than average. And that’s with mean (average) salaries that are either on par with or more than the norm for the country!
|Career||Average Salary in NC||Average Salary in the U.S.|
|Cosmetics Counter Manager*||$39,275||$36,736|
|Cosmetic Sales Consultant*||$65,009||$60,806|
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists (Includes Natural Hair and Braiding)||$34,880||$35,990|
|Personal Care and Service Workers, All Other||$34,260||$30,790|
Where Can Cosmetologists Make the Most Money in North Carolina?
Here are the top five highest-paying cities (by median salary) for cosmetologists. Remember, the more money you make above the cost of living, the farther your dollar can go.
The costs of living are for one person and include rent.
|City||Approximate Median Monthly Pay||Monthly Cost of Living|
|Durham-Chapel Hill||$3,200||$2,090 (Durham) / $2,248 (Chapel Hill)|
|Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC||$2,500||$1,968 (Charlotte) / $1,842 (Concord) / $1,828 (Gastonia)|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||$2,500||$1,944 (Virginia Beach) / $2,034 (Norfolk) / $2,029 (Newport News)|
|Greensboro-High Point||$2,400||$1671 (Greensboro) / $1,596 (High Point)|
What Is the Job Outlook for Beauty Jobs in North Carolina?
The cosmetology field in North Carolina is growing slower than the national average for cosmetology. But don't fear! Make sure you have a great portfolio, technical demo, and unique skills, and you could be good to go. And the anticipated growth in jobs is total new jobs expected to be created, which does not include job openings from other people retiring or leaving the workforce, for instance.
Plus, all fields are growing!
|Career||North Carolina Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030||National Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030|
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists (Includes Natural Hair and Braiding)||14%||19%|
Growth information from CareerOneStop (2022)
You should work to live, not live to work. But you can improve your work life by having many clients and making the world better.
North Carolina has many different demographics that you can work with.
Older Adults in North Carolina
North Carolina has one of the highest aged 65+ populations in the country. Knowing the needs and styles of older generations could get you more clients. This is why residential facilities have so many cosmetologists working for them.
Tourism in North Carolina
Want to hang out with people from all over the country, if not the world? North Carolina's tourism industry is on the rise! This could be anything from visiting a busy town like Asheville to relaxing on a beach or island on the Outer Banks.
If this sounds like your deal, ensure you're ready to work with anybody from anywhere.
LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in North Carolina
North Carolina is in the middle of the pack for the percentage of the population identifying as LGBT.
In raw numbers, the state has the 7th highest transgender population. (The overall number of transgender people is still low.)
Not everyone understands how scary entering a salon may be for the LGBTQ+ population. So, learning to ensure they look great and feel comfortable is essential!
Plus, becoming known as an inclusive beauty pro could help open your business up to new clients.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity in North Carolina
North Carolina is the 20th most racially diverse state. Most people identify as white, but over 22% are Black/African American, and about 10% are Hispanic or Latino. Plus, 8% of people who live in the state were born in other countries.
Understanding different languages and cultural norms could give your beauty career a boost. This is extra true if you live in Charlotte, where many of the most diverse neighborhoods in the state are.
Homelessness in North Carolina: How Cosmetologists Can Help
COVID-19 seems to be a contributor to homelessness, as many people have lost jobs and homes. LGBTQ+ youth are also more likely to be homeless than their cishet peers.
Beauticians can help people experiencing homelessness in many ways, like preparing interview looks or keeping up with grooming when bathroom and other facilities or equipment are difficult to access.
Is Working in Beauty Stressful in North Carolina?
Work stress is relative, but North Carolina is the 12th most stressed state. But most pressure comes from family stuff. It falls to 23rd for work-related stress.
Resources for the Beauty Industry in North Carolina
If we missed something, you may find other details about North Carolina's beauty industry below.
DL Roope North Carolina Exam Information
Details about cosmetic exams from the testing organization
North Carolina Barbers Association
Trade association supporting barbers and the industry in North Carolina
Electrolysis Association of North Carolina
Membership organization giving support and continuing education
Free Continuing Education
The Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners has free continuing education