This page provides information for West Virginia license requirements including how to apply for a new license, renew an existing one, reactivate an expired license and West Virginia 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 West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

West Virginia Cosmetology License Verification

If you need to verify a license for a salon or person, then you can do so by visiting the West Virginia 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.

How to Become Licensed in West Virigina

Individuals interested in becoming a licensed barber, cosmetologists, nail technician, or aesthetician should follow the steps outlined below:

Profession Required Hours
Barbering 1,200 Hours
Cosmetology 1,800 Hours
Nail Technician 400 Hours
Aesthetician 600 Hours
Hair Stylist 1,000 Hours

If you have a foreign high school diploma, foreign transcripts from a beauty school or if you attended a domestic online high school and wish to apply for a license with the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, you must have your education evaluated by a professional evaluation company. The Board has approved Aequo International as the sole provider of education evaluations for cosmetology, nail technician, hair styling, aesthetics and barbering candidates with international and domestic online education. Candidates are responsible for paying the application fee of $125.

Click here to apply for an evaluation. Candidates must submit original or official educational documents directly to Aequo International for evaluation purposes. Please do not send your documents to the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, we will not evaluate them. Once the evaluation is complete, Aequo International will send an electronic evaluation report to the board for review. If you have any questions about the education evaluation application or process, please contact Aequo International at 844-882-3786 or via email at

Tranfer License to West Virginia

Transferring a license (also known as Reciprocity) to West Virginia is a detailed process that requires accurate and official documentation. If you hold a valid license to practice barbering, cosmetology, aesthetics, nail technology, or hair styling in another state, the following steps are required to transfer your license to West Virginia:

  • Register for the WV State Law exam through the Board's testing administrator, D.L. Roope Administrations. You may register for the exam online at For any exam related questions, please contact D.L. Roope Administrations at 888-375-2020
  • Contact the State Board that you were originally licensed and request a license certification be sent from the Board's office to the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. Some states may take up to 4-6 weeks to process your request
  • After you have passed the WV State Law exam, complete the required information in the Reciprocity Packet. No applicant will be considered without proper documentation. Gather all required documents and attach with Reciprocity Packet
  • Submit Reciprocity Packet and required documents to the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. If your application is approved, the license will be issued and mailed

Please note that West Virginia does not require a licensed person to place their current state license on inactive status to become eligible for licensure. If you wish to apply for a work permit while waiting for examination, you must submit the out of state work permit application.

How to Open a Salon in West Virginia

Laws governing the operation of a salon or shop in West Virginia

Before completing the steps below, it may be helpful to review the West Virginia Small Business Development website for information and assistance about starting your own business. For more information, please click here.

Complete the steps below to open a salon/shop in West Virginia:

  • Complete the Shop Opening and License Application. This new Shop Opening and License Application reduces paper work from three forms to one. This single form replaces the Shop Opening Form, Electrical Certification Form, and the Shop License Form
  • Submit the completed Shop Opening and License Application with the $90 application fee ($50 for the opening inspection and $40 for the shop license) and the signed Electrical Certification Statement on the form in step 1 twenty days prior to opening your salon/shop
  • The Board office will send you a salon/shop opening letter which you must post in your salon/shop. The salon/shop opening letter will serve as a temporary license for you to operate your salon/shop. After you have successfully completed steps 1-3 and receive your shop opening letter you may begin servicing clients in your salon/shop
  • The Board office will contact one of our inspectors to conduct a salon/shop opening inspection at your salon/shop as soon as possible
  • You must print out and post in your salon/shop Rules and Regulations
  • All individuals renting a booth or paid by commission must have a Booth Rental Certificate to be renewed annually on July 1. Booth or Chair Rental Registration. Any person working at the salon/shop that does not have their taxes withheld from their pay must be registered with the Board office as a Booth Renter
  • The inspector will schedule a visit to ensure your salon/shop has the required equipment, can promote a safe and sanitary environment, and the proper layout needed for operating a salon
  • If you need to make corrections, the inspector will schedule another inspection date with you
  • If all requirements are met, the inspector will notify the Board office on your behalf that the salon/shop meets all requirements. Once the Board office receives approval notification from the inspector, your shop license will be mailed to you. Please know the 10 most common violations in a salon and help prevent these violations. Ten Most Common Violations in a Salon
  • Now you are done with the Board's paper work and now must register as a business in West Virginia. You can do so by going to Just create a login and then proceed. You can complete this step at any time during the opening process

West Virginia Cosmetology School Hours

Type Requirements
Cosmetologist License 1800 Hours
Barber License 1800 Hours
Barber License + Perm 2000 Hours
Esthetician License 600 Hours
Nail Technician License 400 Hours
Permanent Makeup Artist License Contact Local/regional Health Dept.
Electrologist License Contact Medical Board
Cosmetology Instructor License Cosmetology License + 5 Years Recent Salon Experience
Massage Therapist License 500 Hours

Apprentice/School Applications

Click one of the links below to download a copy of the application you need.

If I have lost or misplaced my license, how can I receive a duplicate license?

Send a note requesting a duplicate license; include your license number and/or social security number, current address, telephone number and a $10 fee.

How can I reactivate an inactive license?

Send a letter requesting reactivation of your license. Include your license number, social security number, current address, telephone number and a renewal fee of $35.

Where is your office located?

Get off the Dunbar exit. Head towards the river and turn right after crossing the train track. The office is one block away on the right side of the street. The address is 1201 Dunbar Avenue, Dunbar, WV 25064.

How do I transfer my license to another state?

Send a letter with a $35.00 check or money order to: WVBBC 1201 Dunbar Avenue, Dunbar, WV 25064. Please be sure to include your name, license number, and the state you wish your license certification to be sent. Allow 1 week for processing. The Board office scans your file and directly emails your file and certification to the recipricating state. You may also call the office at 304-558-2924 and request your certification to be sent and pay by credit card over the phone.

How can I renew or reinstate my lapsed license?

Call the Board office at 304-558-2924 for information into the exact amount for reinstatement.

How do I notify the Board of a name or address change?

You may call the Board at 304-558-2924, fax 304-558-3450 or email