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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.

How to get, renew, or update your license

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.
  • We can't accept payments over the phone.

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).

I didn’t receive my renewal notice. Do I have to pay the late fee?

Yes, you have to pay the late fee. Failure to get a notice of license renewal from us does not constitute cause for failure to renew.

My license was cancelled. Can I renew?

No, you must reinstate your cancelled license. Before we can reinstate your cancelled license, you must:

  • Submit an application.
  • Pay the license fee.
  • Meet current licensing requirements.
  • Pass any applicable examination(s).

We don't have discretion to renew the license without meeting these relicensing requirements.

To reinstate your license:

I lost my license/I forgot my license number. How do I get that information?

You can find your license and license number online using the License Lookup tool.

How can I update my insurance online?

See step-by-step instructions on how to update your insurance online.

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.

Can I use a medical prescriptive device (laser) in Washington State?

In Washington State, a licensed physician may delegate the use of medical prescriptive devices. They can do this with a trained and licensed professional whose license and scope of practice allows the use of medical prescriptive devices. For more information, contact the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) at 1-800-525-0127 or go to the DOH website.

Estheticians and Master Estheticians may use medical devices that the FDA has approved as “over the counter.” Master Estheticians may use medical devices listed with the FDA as a “prescriptive device.” They may only do so under the authority of a licensed physician.

Laser technicians can get a master esthetics license or get a license under DOH that would allow them to use a medical prescriptive device.

The FDA defines medical devices as “prescriptive or over the counter” in their approved intended use statement. To verify if a medical device is “prescriptive” or “over the counter,” enter the product code on the FDA Product Classification website.

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

Related information

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