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Frequently asked questions: Cosmetologists

Choose a topic below:

Training and exams

I completed my training in Washington State and didn't become licensed. Will you certify my hours?

No, hours are only certified if you're licensed.

Do I need to take a practical and written exam to get my license?

Yes, with the following exceptions:

  • Reciprocity — If you're currently licensed in another jurisdiction and you have passed approved exams, you aren't required to re-take the exams to get a license in Washington State.
  • Instructors with an education degree — Instructor applicants who hold a degree in education from an accredited postsecondary institution and who are otherwise qualified aren't required to take the written or performance exams.

Where can I take my practical and written exams?

All written and performance exams are given by D.L. Roope. For more information, please visit their website at dlroope.com.


For information about getting, renewing, or updating a license, see:

All licenses

Can I laminate my license?

Yes, as long as you make sure both the front and back are visible through the laminate.

How do I get an additional copy of my license?

Online: Log in or sign up to print a copy at any time.

Mail: Send a request with the fee to:

Cosmetology Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Seattle, WA 98124-3856

I'm moving and am currently licensed in Washington State. How do I get a license in another state?

Contact the cosmetology licensing board (nictesting.org) in the state you're moving to. We don't provide license certification letters, but the state where you're moving can get your Washington license status with our license lookup.

What forms of payment do you accept?

  • If you're paying online we'll accept a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express debit or credit card for payment.
  • Mailed payments must be made with a check or money order, payable to the Department of Licensing.

How do I change my name or address?

  • You may update your name and mailing address at any time online. Log in or sign up to update your information.
  • To update your name or mailing address by mail submit a letter requesting the change and include all of the following:
    • Your previous name
    • Your current name
    • Your current mailing address and phone number
    • License type and license number
    • If you want DOL to send you a printed copy of your license, include a check or money order for the $5 fee (payable to the Department of Licensing)
  • If you have changed the physical location for your salon/shop and you are renewing by mail. You must submit payment the fees with a completed Salon/Shop, Personal Services, or Mobile Unit License Application (English, Español, Русский, and more) (check the “Change of Location” box).
    • You may change locations online at any time (fees still apply).

When can I start working?

You can start working after you have received the appropriate license(s). The law requires all licenses to be posted. We'll issue a license after we receive all required documents and fees (where applicable).

How can I reinstate my canceled operating license?


  1. Log in or sign up to submit a reinstatement request.
  2. Pass the written and practical exams (third-party testing fees will apply).


  1. Submit a completed Cosmetology, Hair Design, Barber, Manicurist, Esthetician, or Master Esthetician License, Renewal, Reinstatement, or Reciprocity Application (English, Español, Русский, and more). We'll contact you with exam scheduling information once we receive your completed application.
  2. Pass the written and practical exams (third-party testing fees will apply).

Health and safety

Why do I need to use a 10% bleach solution?

Household bleach is made of 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite (52,500 ppm); therefore, a 1% bleach solution is 525 ppm. Some experiments have shown that 200 ppm (or even less in some experiments) will inactivate most viruses. Therefore it would seem that a 1% solution of household bleach might be adequate. However, hypochlorite is substantially and quickly inactivated in the presence of organic matter. So, although 1% may be adequate for surface decontamination, a 10% dilution may be a better choice for inactivation of virus when one is cleaning out areas which have been infested by rodents. This 10% concentration is currently supported in Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Infection Control recommendations. For details see the state minimum safety and sanitation standards.

How do I know what a 10% bleach solution is?

Special Pathogens Branch recommends a 10% bleach solution be used to inactivate hantaviruses. (A 10% solution corresponds to 1½ cups of household bleach per gallon of water, or 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.) For details see the state minimum safety and sanitation standards.

Is there an equivalent product that can be used instead of the 10% bleach solution?

Yes, you can use a product that is registered with the EPA as a disinfectant that contains demonstrated virucidal, fungicidal, and germicidal properties. For details see the state minimum safety and sanitation standards.

How can I tell if a disinfectant is acceptable?

Read the product information on the label or on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for information on disinfection properties of the product. To be acceptable, the product must be an EPA registered, hospital-grade disinfectant with demonstrated bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal properties. For details see the state minimum safety and sanitation standards.

Technical assistance

Where can I get technical assistance?

The Cosmetology Section provides technical assistance to applicants and licensees if requested. To schedule an appointment, please email us at DOLCosmo@dol.wa.gov. During a technical assistance visit you can learn about:

  • State licensing procedures
  • Compliance with regulation
  • Safety and sanitation procedures
  • Routine inspections

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