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How to get your license: Cosmetologist, barber, manicurist, esthetician, hair design, or master esthetician

We have a new online service for managing professional and business licenses. Learn how to set up account access and manage your license. If you need help with the new service, please contact your professional licensing program.

We expect a processing delay for mailed applications and renewals. Renew or apply online for faster processing of your license. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Licensing requirements

School or apprenticeship graduate

To get your license as a cosmetologist, barber, manicurist, esthetician, master esthetician, or hair design you must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age.
  • Graduate from a school approved and licensed by the Department of Licensing with the minimum required state hours.
    or
    Successfully complete a state-approved apprenticeship training program with the minimum state-required hours.
  • Pass the state-approved practical and written exams administered by D.L. Roope.

Reciprocity applicants

To get your license as a cosmetologist, barber, manicurist, esthetician, master esthetician, or hair design you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Have an active license in good standing in another jurisdiction and have passed that jurisdiction's approved exam(s).

After you get your license, you must post it at your work station.

How to apply

Online

You'll need a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account to apply online.

Apply online

By mail

School graduates

  1. After you pass the exams, complete a Cosmetology, Hair Design, Barber, Manicurist, Esthetician, or Master Esthetician License, Renewal, Reinstatement, or Reciprocity Application (English, Español, Русский, and more)
  2. Mail your completed application, supporting documents and a check or money order (payable to Department of Licensing) for the fee to the address below.

Reciprocity applicants

  1. Complete a Cosmetology, Hair Design, Barber, Manicurist, Esthetician, or Master Esthetician License, Renewal, Reinstatement, or Reciprocity Application (English, Español, Русский, and more)
  2. Provide proof of an active license in good standing in another jurisdiction and proof you have passed that jurisdiction's approved exam(s).
  3. Mail your completed application, any supporting documents, and a check or money order (payable to Department of Licensing) for the fee to the address below.

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

If you apply for a WA license, it won’t affect your license in another state.

Estheticians, Master Estheticians, and the Use of Devices/Lasers

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.

Education requirements

Minimum required school hours*

  • Cosmetologist - 1,600 hours
  • Barber - 1,000 hours
  • Manicurist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours
  • Master esthetician - 450 hours
  • Combined master esthetician - 1,200 hours
  • Hair design - 1,400 hours

Minimum required apprenticeship program hours*

  • Cosmetologist - 2,000 hours
  • Barber - 1,200 hours
  • Manicurist - 800 hours
  • Esthetician - 800 hours
  • Master esthetician - 1,400 hours
  • Hair design - 1,750 hours

*Your school or program may require you to complete more than the minimum state-required hours.

If you fail an exam

You may take each exam once per day. If you fail an exam, you may apply to retake it on another day. To schedule a re-exam and pay the re-exam fee, go to dlroope.com.

When will I get my license?

We won't mail your license unless you request a printed copy. Your license is available to print online.

If you applied online

  • We'll process your request within 14 business days. It will be available to print online at any time.
  • Check your email for notifications about your license.
  • See how to self-print your license.

If you applied by mail

  • We'll process your request within 45 business days and send a copy of your license to the email address listed on the application.
  • You can print your license online at any time. See how to self-print your license

Get a printed license by mail

  • To get a printed license when applying by mail, you must send the license print fee with your application.
  • To request a printed copy of your license, send us the following information:
    • Name
    • Mailing address
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • License type
    • License number
    • Check or money order for the license print fee, payable to Department of Licensing
    • Mail to:

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

For veterans, military personnel, and partners

Your military experience or training might help you meet licensing requirements. You may also be able to get a temporary license if you're moving here with a current license from another state. For more information visit military assistance.

If you're a U.S. veteran, you may be eligible for partial reimbursement of your fees. For more information, visit Get paid back for test fees.

Email updates

Subscribe to email updates to get the latest rule changes, licensing updates, and board notices by email.

Related information

Questions? Need help?

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