Cosmetology Schools in North Carolina
If you want to become a cosmetologist, North Carolina could be the right place for you to start your career. The field is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years, and the state’s continuing education requirements are very flexible.
Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in North Carolina, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
Browse All Cosmetology Schools in North Carolina
You must attend school in the state you want to practice in. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited school. Learn more about the requirements in your state.
1520 South Boulevard Suite 150
Charlotte, NC 28203
201 South Estes Drive Sutie 200-B
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
4901-B North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28226
10075 Weddington Road
Concord, NC 28027
1312 Bridford Parkway
Greensboro, NC 27407
8700 Pineville-Matthews Road Suite 700
Pineville, NC 28226
7740 North Point Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
1100 South Stratford Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27614
Alexander Paul Institute of Hair Design – Accredited
Greenville, NC 27858
Asheville High School (high school students only) – Accredited
Asheville, NC 28803
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute – Accredited
Hudson, NC 28638
Boone, NC 28607
Central Carolina Community College – Accredited
Lillington, NC 27546
Central Carolina Community College – Accredited
Siler City, NC 27344
Bostic, NC 28018
Hoke County High School (high school students only) – Accredited
Raeford, NC 28376
McDowell Sr. High School (high school students only) – Accredited
Marion, NC 28752
Huntersville, NC 28078
Gaston, NC 27832
Pitt Community College Hairstyling Academy – Accredited
Greenville, NC 27858
RDT Academy of Cosmetology School – Accredited
Fayetteville, NC 28306
Walter Bickett Cosmetic Arts & Sciences Academy – Accredited
Monroe, NC 28112
WCC-Ashe Campus School of Cosmetic Arts – Accredited
Jefferson, NC 28640
Charlotte, NC 28216
Charlotte, NC 28214
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools Career Center – Accredited
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Cosmetology Schools Near Me
- 1,500 education hours or 1,200 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every year.
- 8 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in North Carolina is $29,210.
- There is a predicted 12% job increase between 2016–2026 for cosmetologists.
North Carolina has several strict requirements for cosmetologists. To gain licensure, you need to:
North Carolina Cosmetology Careers
Average yearly salary for cosmetology in North Carolina
As of 2020, cosmetologists in North Carolina earned a mean wage of $29,210 annually ($14.04 per hour). Typical pay for cosmetologists throughout the state ranges between $16,780 and $49,230, varying based on hours worked, years of experience, location, and more.
The number of cosmetologists in North Carolina is expected to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028—a large difference from the decline of 2% anticipated nationwide.
Salaries vary based on skill, experience, and where you work. Both the location and type of salon you work for may impact your wage. For example, cosmetologists near Fayetteville earn much higher salaries on average than those in the more remote mountain regions of North Carolina. High-end salons may offer higher pay as well.
As of 2019, the five highest-paying metro areas for cosmetologists in North Carolina are:
Reported pay in North Carolina nonmetropolitan areas include:
Data from O*Net (2021)
State License Requirements
Required to earn a cosmetology license
To earn your cosmetologist license in North Carolina, you need to complete 1,500 hours of training at a school approved by the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners. The curriculum includes many requirements, including subjects in theory and practical application including, but not limited to:
At your school, you're required to pass evaluations on infection control, tool safety, and safe application of products for each service you perform. You must also perform services on a live model, such as:
North Carolina students also need to pass an infection control and blood exposure procedure evaluation with a score of 100%. The board offers a list of approved North Carolina schools.
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in North Carolina?
Required to earn a cosmetology license
You may earn your cosmetology license through an apprenticeship in North Carolina. However, they do this in an unusual way: You need to complete 1,200 hours of a cosmetology program in a licensed school before getting an apprentice license to complete your requirements.
Beyond the 1,200 hours of schooling, you need to apprentice for 38-40 hours per week for at least six months or fewer than 38 hours per week for a total of 1,040 hours.
Since you have to attend that many hours of school, you may be wondering why an apprenticeship would be worth it. For one, apprentices are paid. Secondly, this means paying for 300 fewer hours of training, though you still have to pay apprentice licensure and exam fees.
Becoming a cosmetologist apprentice in North Carolina involves paying a $49 application fee for a three-year license and passing the same written and practical exams as those who solely attended school with a 70% or higher.
If you apply from out of state, submit a copy of your current cosmetic arts license and a valid ID to the board.
You must also submit proof of your certification if you earned your training in the following states:
North Carolina Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
After completing the 1,500 training hours from a certified school, sign up to take the written and practical exams online at D.L. Roope.com within six months of graduation. You must score 75% or better on both the written and practical exams for licensure.
After you apply for your written exam online and pay the $10 electronic registration fee, your school and state Board reviews the information. You should receive an email or letter from D.L. Roope Administrations with your examination date, time, and location.
The computerized written exam takes 90 minutes to complete and takes place at your closest Iso Quality Testing (IQT) center. Bring a valid form of ID for entry. The exam is available in multiple languages, so select your preference when you apply.
The practical exam is around four to five hours and only available in English. The test is typically offered in Raleigh, though it also occurs once per year in Hickory and Wilmington. You must dress professionally, show a valid ID, and bring a cosmetology kit with a mannequin head for the exam. Exam results post on the D.L. Roope website after three business days.
If you have a disability or require ADA accommodations for testing, you need to submit three forms with your application. Obtain the forms from your school or D.L. Roope Administrations.
When you have passed the exams, complete your online license application through the board. Send your scores, $49 application fee, and proof of graduation. Once the board approves all the requirements, they issue your license in five to 10 business days.
If you don't pass the exams, you will receive an application to reschedule with the fee required. You can also re-apply online using the D.L. Roope.com link above. Your school doesn't need to re-approve the exam, so make sure to select "retake" or "no show" when you apply.
North Carolina Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
North Carolina has cosmetology licensure reciprocity agreements with most states. This means if you're approved for reciprocity, you don't have to take the state exams. Your license must be in current good standing for eligibility.
Individuals licensed in another state must pay a $64 application fee (or $35 for an apprenticeship). Send the fee with a copy of your current cosmetic arts license and a valid ID. You should ask your state licensing agency to send your certification to the board if you earned your cosmetology license in:
Additional requirements apply if you earned your education in Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. You must send your certification by mail before applying for your North Carolina license.
You could skip the certification requirement and go straight to submitting your application online or by mail if you earned your license in most other states or Puerto Rico.
Out-of-state graduates from an approved cosmetic art school are eligible to transfer with a minimum of 1,500 training hours. If you graduated within the previous five years, send your transcript to the board by email or mail.
Cosmetology Specialties in North Carolina
Many hair salons around North Carolina's metro areas offer Black hair services, particularly near Raleigh and Charlotte. If you want to specialize in natural hair care or braiding services, you need a specialty license.
The only specialty license available in North Carolina is natural hair care, which is the same as a braiding license. This license allows you to provide braid, twist, wrap, extend, or lock hair – any hair service that requires tension on the roots.
If you want to earn your natural hair care specialist licensure in North Carolina, you need to complete at least 300 hours of a natural hair care curriculum at an approved school. You need to take the written and practical exams and pay a $20 application fee. The written exam takes 90 minutes, and you still need a cosmetology kit and mannequin head for the two-hour practical exam.
However, a braiding license doesn't cover other cosmetology services like styling or cutting hair. You may want to earn a cosmetology license and become a natural hair care specialist through an additional program if you plan to perform both services.
If you want to add additional specialties to your skillset that don't require extra licenses, you could consider continuing education classes in fields that interest you.
License renewal period
Continuing education required
In North Carolina, cosmetologists must renew their licenses and complete eight hours of continuing education courses yearly. Your license expires on October 1 each year, and you can renew online anytime between July 1 and the expiration date.
Your continuing education classes can be taken online, via video tutorials, or in person. Record the date, time, and location or URL of each educational course you take with a brief description of what you learned for the board.
Contact the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetology
- 121 Edinbough Dr S Suite 09 Cary, North Carolina 27511
- Website: North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners
- Email: email@example.com
- Call: 919-736-6123
- Fax: 919-678-3012
If you need help updating a change of name or address, acquiring out-of-state transfer forms, or need help with additional questions about obtaining a North Carolina cosmetology license, contact the NC Board using the information above.
North Carolina views cosmetologists as a cherished part of its society. As more individuals add to the number currently operating in the state, beauty care takes on a more dynamic outlook. Those looking to learn more go to these groups.