Cosmetology Schools in Washington
No matter where you live in the Evergreen State, you can explore diverse and exciting beauty careers. As the country's second highest-paying state for cosmetologists and with wages well above the national average, Washington can be an ideal place to begin your cosmetology career. Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in Washington, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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802 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122
Aveda Institute Portland, Vancouver Campus – Accredited
Vancouver, WA 98661
Gene Juarez Academy of Beauty – Accredited
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
International Beauty Education Center – Accredited
Airway Heights, WA 99001
Paul Mitchell The School Spokane – Accredited
Spokane Valley, WA 99037
You must attend a school that meets any licensure requirements as defined by your state. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited or state-approved school.
Find a Cosmetology School Near You
How to Become a Cosmetologist in Washington
- 1,600 education hours or 3,244 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 2 years.
- 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in Washington is $43,590.
- There is a predicted 16% job increase between 2020–2030 for cosmetologists.
Cosmetologists perform various beauty services to help maintain and improve their clients' appearance, like hair cutting, styling, and coloring; hair removal; nail and skin care; and makeup application. You'll need to fulfill certain requirements to become a cosmetologist in Washington, which include:
Cosmetology Salary in Washington and Projected Job Growth
Average yearly salary for cosmetologists in Washington
On average, cosmetologists in Washington earned an annual salary of $43,590 and an hourly wage of $20.96 in 2021. This figure falls within the top 75% of annual wages earned for cosmetologists in the United States. In fact, after Massachusetts, Washington cosmetologists make more than those in any other state.
Some cosmetologists in Washington make as low as $29,840 per year, while others earn annual wages as high as $60,080. The job outlook for cosmetologists in Washington is bright, with a projected growth of 16% from 2020-2030.
The highest-paying metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas for cosmetologists in Washington are:
|Area||2021 Median Salary|
|Western Washington nonmetropolitan area||$45,220|
|Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA||$45,080|
Table information sourced from O*Net (2022)
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Washington
Time to complete a cosmetology program in Washington
The first step in becoming a cosmetologist in Washington is completing the necessary beauty training at a licensed institution. You'll need to undergo at least 1,600 hours of cosmetology education, which must include:
Licenses for cosmetology schools to operate in Washington expire annually. For a beauty school to remain licensed in Washington, the institution must submit a renewal application, documentation of any catalog or curriculum changes, and pay a $300 fee and Tuition Recovery Trust Fund Deposit (unless the school is 100% publicly funded).
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in Washington?
Time to complete a cosmetology apprenticeship in Washington
Washington does offer a cosmetology apprenticeship program as an alternative to attending beauty school. Cosmetology apprentices must complete 3,000 on-the-job training hours at a licensed apprentice training salon plus 244 supplemental instruction hours under an approved trainer. You can find state-approved salons by searching the Department of Labor and Industries website.
Washington Cosmetology Licensing Requirements and Exam
After completing a minimum of 1,600 beauty school hours or 3,244 apprenticeship hours, you can take the required state practical and written exams. You must be within 80 hours of completing your program to apply for examinations.
Sign up for the exams and pay the exam fees at test administrator DL Roope's website. Alternatively, you can mail in your exam application along with a money order. The practical test costs $114, and the written is $180. These fees are in addition to the $30 licensing fee.
The practical exam is only available in English, but applicants can complete the written portion in other languages. You can choose your language preference when completing the exam application. If your preferred language isn't listed, you can submit a request to use a dictionary during your test to email@example.com. Your request must be received and approved before scheduling your exam.
You can also apply for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations by submitting Forms A, B, and C to the Department of Licensing. You can obtain the documents by contacting DL Roope or your school. Form A must be filled out by you, Form B must be completed by your physician, and Form C by a school official.
On the day of the test, bring your test admission letter and one form of government-issued identification containing a photo and signature, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID, passport, armed services ID, employee ID, immigration ID, certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization, permanent resident card, or tribal ID.
Applicants should come dressed in clean, professional attire without any identifying marks. During the practical exam, testing candidates need to bring their supplies; separate bags for item disinfection, soiled linens, and trash; and a mannequin head. All supplies must be labeled in English.
The written exam is 90 minutes, contains 110 questions, and covers two domains: scientific concepts and hair care and services.
The practical exam is 4-5 hours and includes:
You must receive a scaled score of 75 on both your written and practical examinations to pass. If you fail the exam, you can apply to retake it on a different day and pay the re-exam fee.
DL Roope will post a message on their website when they receive the test results from the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology.
Washington Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
Cosmetology license reciprocity is available in Washington to cosmetologists with licenses from a different state. Candidates will need to submit a reciprocity application along with a copy of a current license, proof of exams, verification that the license is active and in good standing, and a $50 licensing fee. If you received a license in a state not requiring exams, then you'll need to take Washington's cosmetology examinations.
If you have a cosmetology license from another state and you, your spouse, or your domestic partner served in the military, you may be able to receive an expedited temporary license when relocating to Washington.
Cosmetology Specialties in Washington
You can further specialize as a cosmetologist in Washington by earning your license in other fields of beauty. The state offers licensure for barbers, manicurists, hair designers, estheticians, and even master estheticians. You will need to have acquired the relevant training and pass the license exams for each.
Cosmetology License Renewal in Washington
License renewal period
Continuing education required
Washington requires cosmetologists to renew their license every two years. You can either apply online or mail in a renewal application and pay the $55 renewal fee. You don't need to complete any continuing education classes, and you can renew 120 days before your license expires.
You will have to pay a $110 late fee if you don't renew before expiration, and if you fail to renew your license within one year of its expiration date, then it will be canceled.
Contact the Washington State Board of Cosmetology
- 405 Black Lake Boulevard Southwest, Olympia, WA 98502
- Website: State of Washington Dept. of Licensing, Cosmetology Licensing Program
- Email: DOLCosmo@dol.wa.gov
- Call: 360-664-6626
- Fax: 360-664-2550
Resources for Cosmetologists in Washington
Washington State Board of Cosmetology
This is the entity responsible for licensing and enforcing the rules and regulations related to the practice of cosmetology in Washington. Here, you can find information on how to obtain and renew your cosmetology license.
Cosmetologists of Washington United
This organization advocates on behalf of Washington cosmetologists on legislation and other political issues affecting the industry. The association also works to support, inform, and provide guidance to the state's cosmetologists.