Washington State Cosmetology Exam: Free Practice Test, and Everything you Need to Know

Are you planning to shift to Washington state with your cosmetology degree? Do you live in Washington but are not sure how to get your cosmetology license?

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about the Washington State Board Exam. Besides the state board test, you will also find information on cosmetology license renewal in Washington state. You will also receive a free practice test to help you prepare for your final exam!

Go straight to the practice test

Table of Contents:

3 Steps: Registration, Exam, and License

To begin with, the first step for every exam is registration. After this, you must have completed your cosmetology exam with a minimum score of 75%. With a passing score, you are then eligible for your Washington cosmetology license.

Taking and passing the license exam can seem daunting. Most people find the process of registering, scheduling, and preparing for exams to be quite difficult. This is completely natural! The process can seem complex but we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to complete the process. Starting with…

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility

The first step is to check your eligibility before planning to appear in any exam. To be eligible for the Washington Cosmetology State Board Exam, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have graduated from a Cosmetology school approved by the Department of Licensing with required hours.or
  • Completed an apprenticeship training program approved by the State.

The minimum practical working hours required to be eligible for the State Board exam are as follows:

  • Cosmetologist: 1600 hours
  • Barber: 1000 hours
  • Esthetician: 750 hours
  • Manicurist: 600 hours
  • Master Esthetician: 1200 hours
  • Hair design: 1400 hours

If your eligibility is determined via apprenticeship, here are the minimum practical hours you should have completed from a Washington state-approved apprentice program:

  • Cosmetologist: 2000 hours
  • Barber: 1200 hours
  • Esthetician: 800 hours
  • Master Esthetician: 1400 hours
  • Manicurist: 800 hours
  • Hair design: 1750 hours

Step 2: Apply for the Washington State Board of Cosmetology Examinations

Once you meet the qualifications for your particular profession, you are eligible and ready to apply for the exam.

With everything becoming online, the cosmetology exam application is also available online. You can apply online at this website.

To apply for the online application, your application should have approval from your school or the Washington State DOL (Department of Licensing) which can be found here: WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site. 

Your application will be rejected if you are not approved by your school or the state’s DOL. The cost of processing the application is $8.00.

Step 3: Pay your exam fees

The examination fees for the Washington Cosmetology Board are:

For cosmetologist, hair design, esthetician, nail technician, and cosmetologist instructor, the fees are as follows:

  • written examination: $114.00
  • practical examination: $180.00

For combined esthetician examination:

  • written examination (combined for both esthetician and advanced esthetician): $228.00
  • practical examination (combined for both esthetician and advanced esthetician): $270.00

After you pass both your theory and practical examination, pay a fee of $30.00 to get your license.
The examination fees are non-refundable and are valid for 6 months from the date of receipt.

Step 4: Scheduling of your Exam

After you submit your application, DL Roope will be responsible to set up the examination space for all candidates. After they have created your account, you can log in and schedule your exam.

You may also call their telephone experts to schedule the exam. They are available 24 hours throughout the week. The number is 1-888-375-2020.

For the following locations, you can schedule the practical and written examination day:

  • Fife
  • Spokane
  • Yakima

Schedule the practical test first, then go to schedule the written exam.

The other only written examination centers in Washington are:

  • Olympia
  • Camsas
  • Pasco
  • Everett

After you schedule your examination, you will get all the details including the exam center, time, and date. Take a printout of your admission letter.

If by any chance you cannot take the exam, your fees will remain non-refundable. But every candidate who is not able to appear in the exam is eligible to re-schedule their exam by submitting a rescheduling fee and filling a rescheduling application.

Step 5: On the Examination Day

You should arrive a minimum of 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled examination time. Arriving late may cause the loss of your examination costs.

Bring these documents on the day of your examination.

  • Carry one form of identification provided by the Federal Government. The identification form must contain your signature and a current photo. This could be a state driver’s license or a state identification card. (see below for other acceptable forms of ID)
  • Your admission letter
  • You must bring your cosmetology, esthetician, or barbering kit to the practical examination.

Please note that the following are being accepted as authentic identification documents:

  • The US or any other state’s driving license
  • US armed service ID card
  • The US or any other foreign country passport
  • ID photo card from the State
  • Immigration ID card from the US Citizenship & Immigration Service
  • US naturalization citizenship certificate
  • US permanent resident card
  • Tribal ID card (if applicable).

Step 6: Take the Exam

Your practical and written examination might be scheduled on the same or separate days. The cosmetologist examination comprises 2 sections as specified by the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC):

  • National NIC design written examination: Exam duration is 90 mins
  • National NIC cosmetologist practical examination: Exam duration approximately 4-5 hours.

Step 7: Results Analysis

Candidates can download their copy of the results of the exams from the website. The result copy is only available after 2 weeks from the publishing at Webscore system via D.L. Roope.

All the candidates have to score at least 75% in both practical and written examinations to qualify. Without this score or higher in the individual paper, candidates will not be assigned the pass status.

If any candidate fails one section, they will have to re-take the examination.

Step 8: Receive your Washington State Board Cosmetology License

After passing both the practical and written exams, you will get your Washington cosmetology license via the online results letter.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Washington Cosmetology Exams

HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE WASHINGTON BOARD OF COSMETOLOGY EXAMINATIONS?

The first step for applying to the Washington Board of Cosmetology Examinations is to check your eligibility. Once you have checked your eligibility, you can apply through both online and offline modes.

For offline mode of application, you can download the application form here. For applying online, you can apply here. To be eligible for the online application, you should have prior permission from your graduate school or DOL.

If you prefer offline applications, click here.

I CAN’T MAKE THE DATE/TIME OF MY EXAMINATION. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If by any chance you are not able to take your exam on the scheduled date and time, you will be given the option of rescheduling your exam.

However, to apply for rescheduling you have to submit the rescheduling application along with rescheduling fees.

If you are unable to appear for the examination due to an emergency reason, you will be required to provide valid written documentation. You should fax the documents within 24 hours of your scheduled exam date. Fax: 1-207-848-5511.

WHICH EXAMINATION PROGRAM DOES THE WASHINGTON BOARD OF BARBERING AND COSMETOLOGY USE?

The state of Washington uses the examinations provided by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC).

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TAKE THE WASHINGTON STATE BOARD OF COSMETOLOGY EXAMS?

The Washington State Board of Cosmetology exam will cost you:

  • For practical exam: $114.00
  • For written exam: $180.00

If you are taking the combined esthetician exam.

  • For practical exam: $228.00
  • For written exam: $270.00

After you qualify for the exam, there is a $30.00 fee for receiving your license.

WHERE DO THE EXAMINATIONS TAKE PLACE?

There are two types of choices available for the option in your examination centers. If you take your practical and written exam on the same day you can schedule your exam at Fife, Yakima, or Spokane.

If you are only appearing for a written examination, you can schedule your examination in the following centers.

  • Olympia
  • Camas
  • Pasco
  • Everett.

HOW MANY HOURS OF PRACTICAL WORK DO I NEED TO QUALIFY FOR THE CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD EXAMINATIONS?

If you are planning to be a cosmetologist in Washington, you need to have:

  • 1600 hours for a Cosmetologist license
  • 600 hours for a manicurist license
  • 750 hours for an esthetician license
  • 1400 hours for hair design.

CAN I TAKE THE STATE BOARD EXAMINATIONS BEFORE I’VE COMPLETED THE REQUIRED HOURS?

No, to be eligible to apply for the Washington Cosmetology State Board exam, you must qualify for the required number of practical hours for each specialization.

HOW LONG IS THE COSMETOLOGY WRITTEN EXAMINATION?

The Washington State Board of written exam is for 90 minutes.

WHAT’S THE FORMAT OF THE WRITTEN EXAMINATION?

The format of the written examination is multiple-choice questions (MCQ). The exam is a computer-based examination.
The question set varies with every exam.

CAN I TAKE A PRACTICE TEST EXAM?

If you want to familiarize yourself with the cosmetology test paper, try our cosmetology practice test paper.

HOW LONG IS THE COSMETOLOGY PRACTICAL EXAMINATION?

The practical examination duration for the Washington Cosmetology examination is approximately 4-5 hours.

WHAT’S THE FORMAT OF THE PRACTICAL EXAMINATION?

The practical exam of the Washington State Board of Cosmetology is approximately 4-5 hours long. The exam consists of the following sections:

  • Preparation time for client and work set-up
  • Thermal curling
  • Haircutting
  • Preparation for another client
  • Chemical waving
  • Strand and predisposition test
  • Hair color retouch test
  • Virgin hair relaxer application
  • Exposure to blood exposure
  • Soft wax and eyebrows hair removal by tweezing
  • Manicure and other nail polish applications.

WHAT SCORES DO I NEED TO PASS BOTH PORTIONS OF THE COSMETOLOGY EXAM?

In order to receive your license, you should have a scaled score of at least 75% on each of your written and practical papers. Note that you have to pass both your papers in order to get the pass status.

If a student is not able to pass the examination, they can re-take the examination with re-application fees.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I RE-TAKE THE STATE BOARD COSMETOLOGY EXAMINATIONS IF I FAIL?

If you are not able to take or qualify for the examination on your first attempt, you are eligible to take the exam again. There is no set number of times of taking the cosmetology board exam. But to re-apply or re-schedule you have to pay the re-schedule fees.

HOW DO I TRANSFER MY COSMETOLOGY LICENCE TO WASHINGTON?

If you are from outside Washington and want to transfer your cosmetology license to Washington, there are a few steps.

You should already have a license from your home state, or you must have taken both practical and written examinations.
You have to check and fill the reciprocity application form. The application fee is $50.00.

If you have an active license from another state, you do not have to appear in the Cosmetology Board Exam. You can send an application with all your supporting documents and money order to:

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

HOW DO I GET MY COSMETOLOGY LICENSE IN WASHINGTON?

To get a cosmetology license in Washington, you must have a high school diploma or GED. You’ll need to complete the training hours required by the State Cosmetology Board. The last thing required is to pass both your written and practical exams.

HOW DO I RENEW MY COSMETOLOGY LICENSE IN WASHINGTON?

To renew your license in Washington you may visit the official website of the Washington State Department of Licensing and create an account to manage your license.

  • You should be aware of this information about Washington license renewal:
  • Your license will expire every year. Each year you have to renew your license.
  • The renewal license time starts 120 days prior to the expiration date.
  • If you are late at your renewal, you have to pay late fees (an amount of $110.00)

For more information, you can find it here.

HOW SHOULD I STUDY FOR THE WASHINGTON COSMETOLOGY WRITTEN EXAM?

To start your study and exam preparation, you can use our cosmetology exam preparation package.
I mean the packages to provide you with an overall guide and the format of the exam papers. The simulated exams will keep you on your feet to be prepared for the real exam.

Washington State Cosmetology Exam
Infographic: Washington State Cosmetology Exam

Washington Cosmetology State Board Exam Practice Test

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