The beauty industry is all about making connections. Making customers feel great while you help them look their best is key to becoming a brilliant makeup artist. A positive, personable attitude plus the help of one of Washington DC’s great beauty schools can help ensure your success in a creative career that will always keep you on your toes. And it all starts with getting your license through the right program. Texas esthetics and makeup schools are more numerous but the training is more thorough in DC.

washington skyline
Washington, DC skyline

Training Hours & Topics

To qualify as a licensed makeup artist in the state of Washington DC, you must complete a makeup artistry program at least 600 hours of class time and 600 hours of practical work.

The Board requires programs that include everything from makeup, skin histology, skin disease, physiology as well as handling the scope of practice and regulatory rules. You will complete school with a degree in esthetics. From there, you can choose to take a Masters Esthetician course, which is another 600 hours, and which can help further your career. Or you can go straight to the workforce, and gain experience as a makeup artist straight away.


Once you complete your program, you will need to take your exams. You will need to take a practical and theoretical exam, and pass with at least 75%. The computerized written exam is administered weekly, while the practical is offered six times throughout the year. Once you pass the theory exam, you will be automatically registered for the next scheduled practical exam. Once you pass, you will be automatically licensed.


If you’re applying for license and you currently hold a valid license in another state, you must check with the DC state board if your state is eligible for reciprocity.

If your state educational requirements are the same or greater than the requirements for District of Columbia, or you have at least two years of full-time experience as a makeup artist, you may be eligible for a DC esthetician license by reciprocity.

You will still be required to take an exam covering DC’s laws and rules for makeup artists and estheticians, to ensure that you are aware of any differences in state regulations before you start work.


DC esthetician licenses expire every odd numbered year on April 30th of even-numbered year. D.C. requires a total of 6 cosmetology continuing education credits, regardless of whether you are registered as a makeup artist, nail technician, cosmetologist, or esthetician. These can be taken at any time during the two year period, but you must ensure at least 2 hours of study is devoted to sanitation and hygiene. The remaining four can be in any subject or area of study.


The DC Film Office calls Washington DC the venue of choice for film and television production thanks to all the diversity of people and neighborhoods. That makes it a great place to become an accomplished theatre makeup artist.

If you’re not interested in the film world, there are many salons and spas in the state, as well as high-end department stores looking for makeup specialists. However you choose to build your career, the DC beauty industry offers plenty of opportunities. Check out some of the great job opportunities available in the state, and get started on this vibrant industry.

Bennett Career Institute – Washington

Dudley Beauty College of Washington – Washington

Skin Care Center School of Aesthetics – Washington

Did we miss any DC MUA schools? Please contact us to let us know.

Other District of Columbia schools for nail technicians, estheticians, cosmetologists and barbers.

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