How to Get a Cosmetology Instructor’s License in Washington

Beauty school instructors are charged with passing on their knowledge and experience in the field of cosmetology to the next generation.

Getting a Cosmetology Instructor’s License in Washington

The job of a cosmetology instructor can be very fulfilling for many professionals, and can also serve as a next step in their career. After running a salon for several years and working as a hairdresser daily with numerous clients, a licensed cosmetologist is often looking for a change of pace. Becoming an instructor at a beauty college can offer this change, while still capitalizing on their skills and experience.


The main prerequisite for obtaining your cosmetology instructors license in Washington State is that you must also hold a current license in the field. This license can be in cosmetology, barber, manicure or esthetics. This license must be issued in Washington, or transferred to Washington before you test for your cosmetology instructor license in the state. If you earned your license in another state by completing a written and practical application exam, the process of transferring your license to Washington is simple.

Washington does not require a minimum time period for how long a prospective instructor must hold their cosmetology license before testing for an instructor’s license. Some states do, however. This is especially important to note if you are planning to teach in another state. This requirement is sometimes in the form of hours of required hands-on practice, although it is typically simply a time limit. As a time limit, it can range from six months to five years.


In Washington, you must complete an approved cosmetology instructor degree program with a minimum of 500 classroom hours in order to qualify for an instructor license. Since you are already a licensed cosmetologist, these programs assume you know the basic skills and techniques used in the industry.

If you are out of practice, you may want to consider taking a few refresher courses before you begin your degree program.

While there is some review of cosmetology best practices, most of the coursework in your beauty school teaching degree will instead focus on how to teach. This can include curriculum development, student evaluation and even instruction on how to apply theories about how students learn in the classroom. These skills are as important to the job as being able to demonstrate the correct way to shave with a straight razor or applying a chemical treatment to hair.


Just like when earning a cosmetology license, Washington State requires both a written and performance evaluation before issuing an instructor license in cosmetology. The coursework you complete is designed to help you pass this examination, and will most likely include reviews and practice specifically to ensure you know what you will be tested on.

In most cases, students who complete their coursework in a satisfactory manner can pass the licensing test on the first try. Each attempt costs a testing fee of more than $150, so there is great incentive to avoid retesting. The Washington Department of Licensing also offers test preparation guides on its website.

Obtaining a Teaching Position

The demand for cosmetology instructors has grown in recent years, as the demand for licensed cosmetologists has grown. Finding a position teaching cosmetology courses is generally easier than find a position in most fields. Beauty schools, vocational colleges and technical schools all offer these programs. You could even score a spot teaching at the school where you earn your instructor’s certificate.

Many instructors teach part time and maintain their own clients at their salons. Others teach full time and leave their personal practices.

This decision is up to you, and may help to shape the type of position you search for after you get your teaching license. The future of your career and what percentage of time you want to spend in the classroom teaching students is fully in your hands.

How Evergreen Can Help

Evergreen Beauty College offers a comprehensive instructor training program for licensed cosmetologists at all three of our Washington State campuses. We also offer financial aid to those who qualify based on income and scholarship. Visit our website to find out more about our instructor training program today. Our admissions team is also available to answer any questions you may have or to schedule a campus visit.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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Shannon Bartlette
Shannon Bartlette
4 years ago

I have been a hairdresser for 11 years and I am wanting to become an instructor. Can I get info sent to me about course and prices please.

Christine R Consiglio
Christine R Consiglio
3 years ago

Ive veen a hair stylost for 17 years an i have been an nioxin educator and new york fashion week runway coordinator . I am wishing to become an instructor before february 11 an waiting for the application.

1 year ago

Hi, do you all accept the Gi bill or yellow ribbon from the VA for financial compensation ?