By all accounts, DC’s salon industry is thriving. As a beauty professional, you will enjoy a career that will allow you to work and live independently in a bustling location with wealthy clients that are known for being big tippers.
According to the US Department of Labor, the greater DC metropolitan area boasts some hot numbers for beauty professionals. Not only are there more skincare specialists, cosmetologists, hairstylists, and hairdressers located in Washington, DC than almost anywhere else in the US, they also earn some of the highest salaries.
|Cosmetologist License Requirements in DC|
|Nail Technician License Requirements in Washington, DC|
|Esthetician License Requirements in DC|
|Electrology License Requirements in DC|
|Makeup Artist License Requirements in DC|
|Barber License Requirements in DC|
During the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022 a 15 percent-plus increase in the number of salon jobs for personal appearance professionals is expected:
- 13.69% increase in barbers
- 14.12% increase in cosmetologists, hairdressers, and hairstylists
- 17.61% increase for manicurists and pedicurists
- 41.53% increase for skincare specialists
To work in most fields of beauty you must obtain a specific license, whether cosmetology, nail care, hair care or barbering. As you work toward earning your license, you will be working with the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology and the testing company Pearson VUE to obtain your license, which is issued through the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ Occupational and Professional Licensing Division.
Your path towards licensure starts with formal training through a beauty school listed among the DC Education Licensure Commission (ELC)-approved institutions, which includes beauty colleges from states surrounding the DC area.
Cosmetologist License Requirements in DC
Though your primary focus will likely be on hair care and styling, the services you could provide your clients as a licensed cosmetologist run a wide gamut, and include those associated with all of the following professions:
- Hair stylist and hair dresser
- Hair braider
- Nail technician
Required Education to Become a Cosmetologist in Washington, DC
To be eligible for a cosmetologist license, you will need to graduate from an ELC-approved cosmetology program that is at least 1,500 hours in length, or substitute for this by having equivalent training and experience as approved by the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology.
Equivalent training and experience can be gained through an apprenticeship that is at least 2,000 hours in length.
As part of your educational program you will study:
- Manicuring and pedicuring techniques
- Hair perm and straightening methods
- Hair cutting, coloring, styling, and braiding
- Scalp and skin treatments
- Facial mask applications and facial massages
- Electrology methods
- Skin, hair, and nail anatomy, physiology, and chemistry
- Sanitation, disinfection, and hygiene
- Business ethics and DC law
If you want to pursue a barber license at a later point, your cosmetology license will count for 1,000 of the 1,500 hours of barber training required to become a licensed barber. You will still need to pass the barber exams and take 500 more hours of barbering courses.
You will need to pass two examinations which are both administered by the testing company Pearson VUE. The exams are created by the NIC (National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology), and are scheduled through the company PSI:
Working as a Cosmetologist in DC
Once you have obtained your cosmetology practitioner license you will find no shortage of professional opportunities in the District. Whether you’re looking to find a regular salaried job, hourly-plus-commission position, or strike out on your own by renting a station in an established salon, you could find employment in any of these settings:
- Hair salons
- Electrology businesses
- Beauty salons and day spas
- Nail boutiques
- Companies that employ makeup artists
- Cosmetic companies
- Skin care specialty shops
Besides working as an employee at such establishments, you can also consider obtaining your own beauty shop license. This will allow you to open your own business and work completely independently or hire your own staff. This license will also allow you to rent a booth or chair space in an existing establishment as an independent business operator.
Nail Technician License Requirements in Washington, DC
As a manicurist, also known as a nail technician, you will be able to offer your clients a wide variety of hand, feet, and nail care services:
- Nail trimming, decorating, shaping, and enhancing
- Use of lotions, creams, scrubs, waxes, and polishes to cosmetically treat the feet and hands
Required Education to Become a Manicurist in Washington, DC
To become a licensed manicurist in Washington, you will need to graduate from a ELC-approved program that offers at least 350 hours of nail technician instruction, or have an equivalent combination of training and experience as determined by the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology.
This formal training will include the study of:
- Manicuring, pedicuring, and the use of water and oil in these processes
- Nail and skin anatomy, physiology, and chemistry
- Sales and business ethics
- Pathology, bacteriology, disinfection, and sanitation
- DC laws and regulations
To earn your license you will need to pass two exams that are both administered by Pearson VUE. The exams themselves are created by the NIC (National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology). Once eligible, you can sign up for these exams through the testing company PSI:
Working as a Manicurist in DC
As a licensed manicurist, you would be eligible for salon jobs at nail bars and nail salons throughout DC. Places like Ibiza Day Spa and Salon offer clients one-of-a-kind customized beauty services. Working in such an establishment will mean you provide your expertise in nail care alongside other beauty specialists who work in different fields.
DC’s nail artists work at places like:
- Georgetown Nail Salon
- Patsy’s Nail Bar
- Eastern Market Nails
- Vicky’s Nail Boutique
- Ibiza Day Spa and Salon
Esthetician License Requirements in Washington, DC
As a licensed esthetician operator you would offer a variety of skincare and makeup services, including:
- Application of creams, lotions, beauty rubs, and other skincare products
- Application of makeup, eyelashes, and other cosmetics
- Removal of superfluous hair using tweezers, waxing, or depilatories
- Facial massages
Required Education to Become an Esthetician in DC
To qualify for an esthetician operator license in Washington, DC you will need to complete 600 hours in an education program that is approved by the ELC. You can substitute for this by documenting for the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology that you have an equivalent amount of training and experience gained through an apprenticeship.
Your education will cover the topics of:
- Administration of facials and facial masks
- Facial massage techniques
- Application of makeup and other cosmetics
- Skin anatomy, physiology, and histology
- Skin disorders, diseases, and treatment options
- Infection control and sanitation
- DC laws and regulations
Pearson VUE administers the two exams you will need to take in order to earn your license. The NIC (National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology) creates these tests. Once eligible, you can register through PSI:
Working as an Esthetician in DC
Estheticians work as specialized skincare experts at establishments that range from beauty salons and spas to skincare specialty companies. As an esthetician you can also advertise and provide services that are associated with makeup artistry.
Potential employers of skilled estheticians in Washington, DC include:
- Mimosa Salon
- Andre Chreky the Salon Spa
- Inari Salon and Spa
- Hudson’s Bay Company
- Eidolon Films
Electrology License Requirements in Washington, DC
As a licensed electrologist you would provide hair removal services for your clients using the following modalities:
- Galvanic electrolysis
- The Blend
You would not be able to legally use electronic tweezers or other non-needle methods.
Required Education to Become an Electrologist
You will need to complete 600 hours of electrology training from a school that is approved by the ELC, or gain an equivalent amount of education and training through an apprenticeship approved by the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology.
The courses you can expect to study will cover these topics:
- Anatomy and physiology of the skin and hair
- Modalities of electrology
- Electrology equipment safety and operation
- Clinical applications and observations
- Infection control, sanitation, and DC laws
Pearson VUE coordinates both tests you will need to pass to earn an esthetician license in Washington, DC. Once you have completed the registration process through Pearson VUE you can sign up via the testing company PSI to take the required exams:
Working as an Electrologist in DC
As an electrologist you can work in a clinic that specializes in electrology or a full-service beauty salon like EMC Beauty Clinic, where you would work alongside other beauty professionals who offer different specialty services.
Some of the best electrology clinics in Washington, DC include:
- EMC Beauty Clinic
- Falls Church Electrolysis Clinic
- Washington International Electrolysis Clinic
- Electrolysis and Laser Medical Center
Makeup Artist License Requirements in DC
To work as a professional makeup artist in Washington, DC, you will need to earn one of these licenses:
- Cosmetology license
- Esthetician license
An exception to this is if you work as an employee of a cosmetics company. In this case you can apply makeup as part of your job as long as you hold a demonstrator license. With a demonstrator license you would not be able to accept payment for your services.
Working as a Makeup Artist in DC
As a makeup artist, you can look for salon jobs in a number of fields that range from film production to bridal events and the performing arts. In Washington, DC, makeup artist jobs can be found with these organizations:
- Piaf Salon and Day Spa
- Salon Nardos
- Washington National Opera
- Shakespeare Theatre Company
- Layalina Productions
- Maslow Media Group
Barber License Requirements in DC
As a licensed barber in Washington, DC, you can offer your clients any of the following services:
- Shaving, beard trimming, and mustache trimming
- Perms, curls, hair straightening, hair coloring, hair cutting, and hair styling
- Facials, scalp treatments, and face massage
- Hairpiece services
Required Education to Become a Barber in DC
To be eligible for barber licensure, you will need to complete a program that is at least 1,500 hours in length and approved by the ELC. Alternatively, you may complete an equivalent amount of training and education through an apprenticeship approved by the DC Board of Barber and Cosmetology. Equivalent training and education through an apprenticeship must be at least 2,000 hours in length.
Your formal barber training will include the study of:
- Barbering techniques and methods
- Beard and mustache care and maintenance
- Anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, and chemistry of the hair and skin
- Sanitation, infection control, and safety procedures
- Customer relations and business ethics
- DC laws and regulations
If you want to become a cosmetologist at a later point, your barber license will give you credit for up to 1,000 of the 1,500 hours of training required for a cosmetology license. You will still need to pass the cosmetology exams and pursue the 500 additional hours of cosmetology training.
You will need to pass two exams to be eligible for licensure as a barber:
- Barber Theory Examination
- Barber Practical Examination – you will need to perform a series of barbering services in front of an evaluator
Working as a Barber in DC
As a new barber hitting the streets of DC, your first job will probably be as an employee at one of DC’s many barber shops. Once you have built up experience and demonstrated your skill, you can consider opening up your own establishment and getting a Barber Shop License. Having this will also give you the option of renting a space in an existing facility and working as an independent business.
Well known barber shops in Washington, DC include:
- Wall’s Barber Shop
- Mohamed’s Barber Shop
- Cuttin-Up Barber Shop
- Jose’s Barber Shop
- The Dashery