DC isn’t exactly known for its fashion sense. If you live in the state and find yourself fixing all your friends style don’ts, you might be perfect for a job as a beautician or makeup artist. You will need to attend a cosmetology program to get your license. But once you’ve chosen among the great schools, you’re well on your way to a career of making the world a little more beautiful!

Washington, DC
Washington, DC by Ad Meskens [Attribution, CC BY-SA 3.0

How Many Hours Do Cosmetology Schools In The DC Metro Area Require?

If you’ve made your decision and you’re looking to get a cosmetology license in DC, you’ll want to begin with an accredited program.

You can choose a licensed cosmetology school, or you an associate degree at another vocational school or college.

The hours of training are pretty specific, but in total, you’ll end up with 1500 of training in everything from manicuring, shampooing, perms, facials, and even sanitation and anatomy.

You can choose to specialize, which requires fewer training hours, by focusing on hair, nails, or skin care. It depends on your preference, and any time constraints.

Anyway, you’ll need to check out schools close to you as the first part of the process to getting licensed:

If you’re constrained by time or money, or want to start working immediately, you could approach a licenced salon or spa about an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships require 2,000 hours to complete, and you must take your exams within six months of your graduation, rather than a full year. It’s the closest you’ll get to a free cosmetology school!

Exams and License For Beauty Schools In DC

District of Columbia Cosmetology exams for apprenticeship are the same as those for formal study. If you’re over 17 and prove your hours of study or apprenticeship, you apply for your exam with pearsonvue.com. You must pay the fee for the exam, application, and your licensing fee at the same time.

Once you’ve been approved for you exams, you will need to schedule them within 30 days of approval. The written theory exam comes first, and once that is passed, you will be automatically registered for the next practical exam. You must pass both exams in one cycle to qualify for license.


If you’re moving to DC, and want to work as a cosmetologist in the state, there are a few steps. You must have an active license in another state. You must have completed licensing requirements equivalent to 1600 hours of study or 2,000 hours practical experience. You may be required to write the DC exams, if you cannot prove equivalent requirements. In that case, you’ll need to pay the exam and licensing fees.

DC Cosmetology Continuing Education

All cosmetology licenses in the state of DC expire on April 30th of every year. To complete your renewal process, you must submit your application for renewal, along with proof of at least six hours of CE. Two hours must be devoted to health and safety, while the other four could be in anything from new techniques, to business courses, or technical training with technology related to skin and hair care. This is your chance to expand your skill set to help customers even better.

Getting A Job With A Good Salary

DC has a wide selection of salons to choose from when you’re ready to start your new career. You may choose to specialize in hair care and work in a studio like Fringe, or skin care, so you can work in a medical esthetics office or spa, like Alanya Spa. Take a look at dcjobs.com for some great job opportunities that are sure to start your new career off right!

Example School — Aveda Institute Washington DC – Washington – Aveda’s Washington location is high-end and in the center of fashionable downtown. Enjoy the city’s power and buzz between classes. At Aveda you’ll learn in real-world situations with guests. You know that Washington beauty and hair clients will be some of the most demanding so you’re sure to be forced to do a top-notch job looking after them.

Other DC schools for makeup artists, estheticians, nail techs and barbers.

Did we miss any cosmetology and hair schools in DC? Please let us know.

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