Beauty Schools for Salon Jobs in Washington

It is an exciting time to be seeking your dream job in Washington’s salon industry. Washington’s beauty and wellness industry is known throughout the nation as providing a comfortable income for its beauty professionals:

  • Olympia offers the highest average salary for manicurists and pedicurists among all metropolitan areas in the United States.
  • Washington offers the third-highest average salary for cosmetologists, hairdressers, and hairstylists of all states in the country.
  • Seattle ranks second behind San Francisco as the city that provides cosmetologists with the highest average salary. On this same list of cities nationwide, the Bremerton-Silverdale area ranks fourth, while Yakima ranks sixth.
  • Of all urban areas, the Vancouver-Portland metro area offers the fourth-highest average salary for skincare specialists in the nation.
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Becoming a Cosmetologist in Washington
Becoming an Esthetician in Washington
Becoming a Manicurist in Washington
Becoming a Makeup Artist in Washington
Becoming a Barber in Washington

Washington’s Employment Security Department estimates that between 2012 and 2022 the beauty and wellness industry will add an unprecedented number of new salon jobs:

  • Cosmetologists, hairdressers, and hairstylists – over 3,500
  • Barbers – over 1,000
  • Manicurists and pedicurists – over 1,000
  • Skincare specialists – nearly 400

To work in the beauty industry, you will need to earn an appropriate license issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing Cosmetology Division. This process starts with obtaining the right education from a licensed beauty school or through an apprenticeship.



Becoming a Cosmetologist in Washington

As a licensed cosmetologist in Washington you will be able to perform services for your clients that are associated with all of the following occupations:

  • Hairdresser and hairstylist
  • Barber
  • Esthetician
  • Manicurist and pedicurist
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Cosmetology Schools in Washington

The first step you’ll take towards becoming a licensed cosmetologist in Washington is to enroll in cosmetology school or participate in an apprenticeship program:

  • Graduate from a licensed beauty college that is at least 1,600 hours in length
  • Graduate from an approved apprentice program that is at least 2,000 hours in length

There are currently more than 65 licensed beauty colleges located in Washington.

Your cosmetology education will cover vital topics like:

  • Business practices and ethics
  • Hair styling, coloring, trimming, braiding, coloring, lightening, and bleaching
  • Chemical and heat hair treatments
  • Trimming and cutting of facial hair and eyebrows
  • Manicures, pedicures, nail wraps, and nail art
  • Esthetics, skin care, makeup application, and skin treatments
  • Emergency procedures and first aid

Required Exams for Licensure

Once you have completed your cosmetology training you will need to pass two exams, both of which are administered by National Testing Network (NTN)/Ergonomics:

  • Written Cosmetology Examination – 90 minutes to complete this multiple-choice exam
  • Practical Cosmetology Examination – 140 minutes to complete a list of cosmetology procedures on a mannequin head

You can use the Washington Cosmetologist Exam Preparation Guide to prepare for these exams.

Job Opportunities for Cosmetologists in Washington

Because you will be able to perform the full suite of personal care services, you will have your choice of potential employers:

  • Beauty salons and spas
  • Nail salons and all-purpose beauty salons
  • Hair salons and hair styling establishments
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Skin care companies
  • Productions seeking a makeup artist
  • Barber shops

As a cosmetologist, you will have the option of pursuing conventional jobs that offer hourly pay, as well as commissioned positions in which you are paid based on the services and products you sell, in addition to an hourly rate – and don’t forget tips! Eventually you may choose to rent a station within an established salon and go into business for yourself.



Becoming an Esthetician in Washington

As an esthetician you will be able to offer your clients services that relate to:

  • Skin care
  • Makeup
  • Massage
  • Superfluous hair removal using electrical, mechanical, and manual methods
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If you envision a lifelong career in esthetics you may also want to consider the option of becoming a master esthetician. This requires additional education and testing, and will allow you to offer more in-depth services for your clients:

  • Laser, ultrasound, and plasma skin treatments
  • Lymphatic drainage and advanced facial massage
  • Medium depth chemical peels
  • Medical esthetic procedures

Esthetician Schools in Washington

To become an esthetician in Washington you will need to complete one of the following education programs:

  • Esthetician college of at least 750 hours
  • Esthetician apprenticeship that is at least 800 hours

Currently there are 63 esthetician schools located throughout Washington. The curriculum you will study as part of your esthetician training will include:

  • Skin compresses, body wraps, exfoliation, and facial masks
  • Temporary removal of superfluous hair using mechanical, chemical, and manual means
  • Disorders and diseases of the skin on the neck, face, and hands
  • Sanitation and disinfection
  • First aid and emergency procedures
  • Business practices and ethics

Esthetician Exams for Licensure

To become a licensed esthetician in Washington you will need to pass two exams, both of which are administered by National Testing Network (NTN)/Ergonomics:

  • Esthetician Written Exam – you will have 90 minutes to complete this computer-based exam
  • Esthetician Practical Exam – you will need to complete a series of esthetic procedures on a mannequin head, including a face cleanse, massage, manual extraction, mask, and makeup

You can start reviewing for these exams using the Esthetician Exam Preparation Guide.

Esthetician Jobs in Washington

Skin care companies, cosmetic companies, and beauty salons all look to hire the most qualified estheticians. Some of the top employers in Washington include:

  • Gene Juarez Salons and Spas with locations throughout the Seattle area as well as Tacoma
  • Benefit Cosmetics in Bellevue
  • Kelley Services in Seattle
  • Bellevue Salon and Spa
  • Mosaic SalonSpa in Spokane
  • Vata Salon and Spa in Vancouver



Becoming a Manicurist in Washington

Officially referred to as manicurists by the Washington State Department of Licensing, as a nail technician you will be able to offer your clients services that include:

  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Artificial nails and nail extensions
  • Cuticle treatments
  • Nail product application and removal
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Manicurist Schools in Washington

You can qualify for a manicurist license in Washington by completing one of the following courses of education:

  • Manicurist college that is at least 600 hours in length
  • Manicurist apprenticeship that is at least 800 hours in length

The courses you study will cover the subjects of:

  • Shaping, cleaning, and polishing nails
  • Cuticle treatment methods
  • Application of nails, including gel, powder, silk, linen, acrylic, and fiberglass
  • Artificial nail tip extensions
  • Professional ethics and business practices
  • Chemical safety procedures
  • Disinfection, first aid, and emergency procedures

Currently there are 65 manicurist schools with an active license in Washington.

Manicurist Licensing Exams

You must pass the following two exams to be eligible for licensure as a manicurist in Washington. These are both administered through National Testing Network (NTN)/Ergonomics:

  • Manicurist Written Exam – 90 minutes and taken on a computer
  • Manicurist Practical Exam – 100 minutes to perform a series of manicurist procedures on a mannequin hand

You can use the Manicurist Exam Preparation Guide to start reviewing for these exams.

Manicurist Jobs in Washington

Nail spas are nearly as common in Washington as Starbucks. From nail spas in neighborhood strip malls in Renton, to the chicest salons in Bellevue and Seattle, as a skilled manicurist you have a near-endless number of potential employers to choose from.

  • Nail Envy Salon and Spa in Vancouver
  • La Bella Nail Spa in Tacoma
  • Jonathan Nail Salon and Spa in Spokane
  • Bliss Nail Spa in Everett
  • Le’von Nail Spa in Kent
  • Jenny Nails in Yakima



Becoming a Makeup Artist in Washington

If you engage solely in makeup application for clients you are not specifically required to become licensed in Washington State. However, the best qualified and most highly sought after makeup artists often hold either an esthetician or cosmetologist license so as to offer a diverse suite of beautification services.

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If you want to work in the field of permanent makeup artistry – referred to in Washington as permanent cosmetic artistry – you will need to become licensed. This license is similar to that required of a tattoo artist.

Becoming a Permanent Makeup Artist in Washington

To become a permanent makeup artist you will need to complete an approved Bloodborne Pathogen Training program. Next you will need to submit a Permanent Cosmetics License Application to the Washington State Department of Licensing’s office in Seattle, as indicated on the application.

Makeup Artist Employers in Washington

Makeup artist jobs may be found in several different types of fields, ranging from movie production to the performing arts and the salon industry. You may also choose to start your own business in event makeup artistry, catering to bridal parties, proms and any other even in which women want to look exceptional and striking.

In Washington, top makeup artist employers include:

  • Seattle Opera
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • North by Northwest film production company in Spokane
  • Sensa Salon in Seattle
  • ULTA Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance in Puyallup
  • LUSH Cosmetics in Tacoma



Becoming a Barber in Washington

As a barber in Washington, you will be able to offer services like hair cutting and styling of beards and moustaches, helping Seattle’s hippest embrace classic style and reconnect with the rich tradition of barbershop culture.

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Barber Schools in Washington

You will need to complete either of the following courses of education to become eligible for a barber license in Washington:

  • Barber college that is at least 1,000 hours in length
  • Barber apprenticeship that is at least 1,200 hours in length

Currently throughout Washington there are 61 licensed barber colleges. As part of your education you will study:

  • Theory and practice of barbering services and business practices
  • Shampooing and conditioning
  • Hair cutting with scissors, razor, shears, and clippers
  • Cutting and trimming of facial hair, nose hair, ear hair, mustache, and beard
  • First aid, emergency procedures, sanitation, disinfection, and safety

Required Barbering Exams

To be eligible for a barber license you will need to pass these two exams, which are both administered by National Testing Network (NTN)/Ergonomics:

  • Barbering Written Exam – 90 minutes taken on a computer
  • Barbering Practical Exam – you will need to complete three barbering procedures on a mannequin head

You can prepare for these exams by consulting the Barber Exam Preparation Guide.

Barber Employers in Washington

Just a few of the barbershops that offer the classic cuts Washington’s fashion-forward are looking for, and a classic-contemporary atmosphere reminiscent of a simpler time – but oh so much better:

  • Tim’s Barber Shop in Seattle
  • Bellevue Barber Shop
  • Dave’s Barber Shop in Tacoma
  • Porters Barber Shop in Spokane
  • Moe’s Barber Shop in Vancouver
  • Lost Art Barber Shop in Kent

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