This page provides information for District of Columbia license requirements including how to apply for a new license, renew an existing one, reactivate an expired license and District of Columbia license reciprocity for when you need to transfer a license to this state or out of state. If available, we provide other useful information such as cosmetology school hours requirements, how to apply for additional license for professions like manicurists, nail technicians, instructors etc. If you did not find the answer you were looking for on this page or if you have questions or issues pertaining to cosmetology, then we recommend you contact the District of Columbia Board of Barber and Cosmetology.
District of Columbia Cosmetology License Verification
If you need to verify a license for a salon or person, then you can do so by visiting the District of Columbia Board of Cosmetology license verification website. From there you can search for the person or business and see if there are any disciplinary actions on record. This will allow you to make an informed decision about the person and or business providing your service.
Washington DC Licenses Required
The following licenses or certificates of registration shall be issued to natural persons as required by the Barber and Cosmetology Board pursuant to D.C. Official Code §47-2853.08 (2001):
- Cosmetology operator
- Specialty cosmetology operators, which include: Braider, Electrologist,Esthetician Operator, Master Esthetician Manager, and Master Esthetician Instructor (only a Master Esthetician Manager may become an instructor of esthetics) and Manicurist
- Barber, Cosmetology, or Specialty Salon Manager
- Barber, Cosmetology, or Specialty Salon Owner
- Demonstrators and
- Barber, Cosmetology, or Specialty Independent Contract Owner as regulated by 17 DCMR §3720 et seq., Booth Rentals/Chair Rentals/Space Renting
Except as otherwise permitted, no person shall engage in the practice of barbering or cosmetology, or own or operate a salon or shop before the issuance of all required licenses.Scheduling an Examination
Exams may be scheduled online by clicking here or by calling 800-733-9267.Request for Letter of Certification
Download the Request for Letter of Certification form, fill it out and submit it to request an official Letter of Certification for your District of Columbia License. Print or type all information on this form and include the correct fees, $30, for each letter of certification. Please enclose certified check or money order made payable to DC Treasurer. Do not send cash. You will receive your Letter of Certification in approximately two weeks. Send your request to:
Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration
1100 4th Street, SW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20024
To apply for an initial license or renew an existing one, access their online portal system. Please contact a customer service representative at 866-270-9817 if you have any questions or you do not know the email address linked with your license.
Washington DC Continuing Education Requirements (CE)
DC Barber, Cosmetology and Specialty licensees must complete six Continuing Education (CE) credits during each two year cycle period to renew a practitioner license. A licensee shall submit to the Board proof of having completed at least six CE hours from an approved continuing education program or course during each 2-year license period.
- Barbers must complete six CEs by the next renewal date - September 30, 2017
- Cosmetologists and Specialties must complete six CEs by the next renewal date - April 15, 2018
Two hours must be in health, safety and/or welfare subjects. Four hours shall consist of general elective courses.
Continuing Education Courses can include, but are not limited to:
- Courses related to the practice of barbering, cosmetology, and specialty cosmetology
- District laws and regulations
- Ethics and standards of professional practice
- Occupational health, safety and welfare
- HIV/AIDS, communicable and infectious disease control
- Product knowledge
- Management (Managers only) and
- Education or Instruction (Instructors only)
Please note: Continuing Education requirements apply to all Barber, Cosmetology and Specialty Cosmetology licenses, including Manager and Instructor licenses. Exceptions: First Time License Renewals are exempt.
CEs may be obtained by:
- Classroom instruction
- Trade Shows
- Product Demonstrations
- Educational conferences
- Online classes (or Distance Learning classes)
- College or University
Barber and Cosmetology Apprenticeships
Experience gained through a barber and cosmetology apprenticeship completed in barbershops or cosmetology salons shall satisfy the training and experience requirement for purposes of §3703.1 if:
- The apprentice completes classroom training as shown in §3704.5 and completes a minimum of 2000 hours of apprenticeship work experience
- The apprenticeship work experience component is at least 20 hours per week and work experience is not less than 1 year but lasts no longer than 2 years from the date of registration
- Working as a shampooer, by whatever name known, shall not be credited towards the work experience component of the apprenticeship
- The apprenticeship classroom training curriculum has been approved by the Board
- The apprentice is at least 18 years of age
- The apprenticeship program complies with the requirements of The Office of Apprenticeship Information and Training as set forth in 7 DCMR Chapter 11 (Apprenticeship) and
- Any information provided to the Office of Apprenticeship Information and Training by the apprentice and instructor must be provided to the Board of Barber and Cosmetology
A barber or cosmetology apprenticeship may fulfill only the training and experience requirement of these regulations. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, the apprentice shall sit for examination within six months or lose credit for all training and experience gained in the apprenticeship. An individual shall be registered by the Board before the individual may serve as an apprentice in a beauty salon or barbershop in the District.
While registration as an apprentice is in effect, the registration authorizes the individual to learn to practice barbering or cosmetology:
- In a cosmetology salon that holds a salon owner's license or a barbershop that holds a barbershop owner's license and
- Under the supervision of
- If learning the practice of cosmetology, a licensed cosmetology instructor
- If learning the practice of barbering, a licensed barber instructor
- A licensed instructor may train one apprentice at a time, but the minimum numerical ratio required shall be 1 apprentice to every 3 operators employed
Instructors that rent space pursuant to §3720 are not permitted to have apprentices and do not count towards instructor requirements of this section.3704.5 All classroom theory training must be completed before beginning the work experience part of the apprenticeship. The classroom training must occur in a Board approved school or continuing education course and shall consist of the following:
All classroom theory training must be completed before beginning the work experience part of the apprenticeship. The classroom training must occur in a Board approved school or continuing education course and shall consist of the following:500 classroom theory hours for Barbers consisting of the following
|Courtesy, Conduct, D.C. Law
|Anatomy, Physiology, Bacteriology, Pathology, Chemistry, Electricity
|Courtesy, Conduct, D.C. Law
|Anatomy, Physiology, Bacteriology, Pathology, Chemistry, Electricity
Each registered apprentice shall display the certificate of registration conspicuously in the apprentice's place of employment or training and shall wear identification clearly showing that the individual is an apprentice.
Registration as an apprentice is limited to a term of two years from the date of registration and is not renewable. If the apprentice has not fulfilled the requirements necessary to sit for the barber or cosmetology examination the apprentice may lose credit for the hours obtained.
The Board, for good cause shown, may grant an apprentice an extension of time to complete the requirements of the apprenticeship. Good cause shall include medical emergencies, family emergencies, and military service.
A request for an extension of time must be made in writing and filed with the Board no later than 30 days before the expiration of the apprenticeship. The Board shall notify the apprentice within 60 days of receiving the request for extension whether it approved or denied the request. Any extension of time granted by the Board shall expire no later than 180 days from the date that the Board approves the extension.
The decision to approve or deny a request for extension of time shall be made on a case-by-case basis and may be made by a simple majority of the Board members present at the meeting where the request is considered. The Board's decision regarding a request for extension is final. The apprentice registration shall only be valid for training and experience in barbering or cosmetology and is not valid for training and experience in any of the specialty cosmetology licenses.
Waiver of Examination - Barber Instructor
The Board may waive the examination requirements for an applicant for a barber instructor's license that meets the applicable training, experience, and qualifications requirements to practice barbering and who provides to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant has:
- At least 3 years of experience as a barber manager in a licensed shop or
- At least 2 years of experience either as a master barber instructor in a school acceptable to the Board or
- At least 3 years of experience as a master barber during which time at least 2 persons successfully completed a barber apprenticeship under the direct supervision of the applicant during the 5 years that immediately precede the effective date of this chapter
In addition to the requirements set forth in §3709.1 the Board may consider any other information that it considers relevant. The application for waiver of examination shall be filed within two years of the effective date of this chapter.
Licensure by Reciprocity or Endorsement
An applicant for a license by reciprocity or endorsement shall furnish proof satisfactory to the Board that the applicant has paid the applicable fee and:
If applying for licensure by reciprocity the applicant must provide a letter of good standing from a jurisdiction with requirements which, in the opinion of the Board, were substantially equivalent at the time of the applicant's licensure to those of the District of Columbia, and which jurisdiction admits barbers and cosmetologists licensed by the District in a like manner or if applying for licensure by endorsement the applicant must provide the Board with written certification that he or she:
- Passed an examination acceptable to the Board that is applicable to the license sought in the District
- Has an active certification from a recognized national certifying organization and
- Has not been disciplined or otherwise disqualified by the national certifying organization relied upon for the application for licensure by endorsement
The Board may deny an application for a license by reciprocity or endorsement to a person against whom disciplinary action has been taken, or who has been convicted of a crime bearing on the applicant's fitness to practice. The Board may interview an applicant under this section to determine whether the applicant's education, training, or character meets the requirements of the Act and this chapter.
In addition, an applicant for a license by reciprocity or endorsement shall prove to the satisfaction of the Board that the applicant was actively engaged in the profession in the other jurisdiction. The following organizations shall be recognized by the Board as national certifying organizations acceptable to the Board whose standards for certification are at least as high as the education and experience standards set forth in this chapter for the same profession or occupation in the District:
- Master Estheticians - National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributers & Associations (NCEA)