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How to Become a Cosmetologist in West Virginia

Becoming a cosmetologist means starting a career where your creativity, self-expression, and originality will be highly valued. Any way you cut it, as a cosmetologist you will enjoy opportunities to expand your artistic talents while making people look and feel beautiful.

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To become licensed in either of these fields, you will need to complete the following steps:

Complete an Approved Education Program
Pass the Required Exams
Apply for Licensure with the West Virginia Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
Explore Options in Your New Career

The West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists is the agency responsible for licensing both cosmetologists and hair stylists. The Board defines these two professions separately:

  • Cosmetologist – A licensed professional working as an overall beauty specialist, working with everything including general aesthetics, makeup, nails, chemical hair treatments, hairstyling, and beauty products.
  • Hairstylist – A licensed professional that specializes in hair, working with things like scalp care, shampooing, conditioning, styling and hair braiding, as well as performing chemical texturing and hair coloring.

 


 

Step 1. Complete an Approved Education Program

Education Requirements to Become a Cosmetologist in West Virginia

Your first step will be to choose an approved cosmetology college in West Virginia. Your cosmetology degree program must be at least 1,800 hours in length and include the following amounts of dedicated curriculum:

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  • 100 hours of study covering professional information such as business relations, sanitation, and West Virginia state law
  • 200 hours of study plus 50 hours of practice regarding the science of cosmetology, such as the principles of chemistry and electricity, skin diseases, and properties of hair and the scalp
  • 50 hours of study plus 400 hours of practice covering professional cosmetology, to include hair styling, cutting, braiding, wigs, extensions, and scalp care
  • 100 hours of study and an additional 100 hours of practice regarding chemical hair services and coloring
  • 117 hours of study plus 50 hours of practice on aesthetics, including coverage of nutrition, infection control, and the overall science of aesthetics
  • 40 hours of study plus 90 hours of practice covering the science of skin, such as skin physiology, histology, disorders, diseases, analysis, and skin care products
  • 36 hours of study plus 167 hours of practice in general aesthetics, including makeup, hair removal, facials, and facial massage
  • 64 hours of study plus 10 hours of practice regarding nail science, such as nail structure, growth, diseases, anatomy, and the chemistry of nail products
  • 12 hours of study plus 80 hours of practice regarding basic cosmetology procedures including extremity massage, manicures, pedicures, polishing, UV gel, and nail design
  • 21 hours of study plus 113 hours of practice covering nail technology, to include advanced manicures, advanced pedicures, electric filing, nail enhancements, and creative nail designs

Education Requirements to Become a Hair Stylist in West Virginia

To obtain the training for this profession you will also need to choose an approved hair stylist school in West Virginia. The curriculum you complete must be at least 1,000 hours, distributed as follows among these subject areas:

  • 100 hours of study on general professional information such as business management, communication, sanitation, first aid, and state laws
  • 200 hours of study plus 50 hours of practice on the science of cosmetology, including the properties of hair and the scalp, as well as basic applicable principles of chemistry and electricity
  • 50 hours of study plus 400 hours of practice dealing with professional cosmetology, such as hair styling, cutting, braiding, the principles of hair design, shampooing and conditioning, wigs, and hair extensions
  • 100 hours of study plus 100 hours of practice on hair coloring and chemical texture services

School Locations

There are 18 approved cosmetology schools in West Virginia that often include hair stylist programs. These are distributed across the state in the cities of:

  • Alderson
  • Beckley
  • Charleston
  • Clarksburg
  • Huntington
  • Lewisburg
  • Martinsburg
  • Morgantown
  • Mount Gay
  • Parkersburg
  • Petersburg
  • Pineville
  • Princeton
  • West Columbia
  • Westover
  • Wheeling
  • White Hall

Education is paramount to earning your cosmetology license in West Virginia, however before you are admitted to an education program you will need to pass a tuberculosis test. Once you have found a school you like you will need to turn in a Student Registration Form to the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists at their office in Dunbar.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Required Exams

The West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists contracts its testing with the company DL Roope Administrations. Once you have completed your required education you can register online or through your school with this company to complete your testing.

Both prospective hair stylists and cosmetologists will need to pass a 30-minute West Virginia State Law Exam that is administered directly after their respective written examinations. This exam covers the rules and regulations associated with working in the state’s beauty industry.

Once you have passed all of your examinations DL Roope Administrations will forward your results directly to the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

Cosmetology Examinations

You will need to pass two additional exams to become eligible for a cosmetology license:

  • Cosmetology Written Exam – administered on paper over the course of 90 minutes on the same day as your practical exam, this exam will have questions taken from the following subjects:
    • Scientific concepts of cosmetology
    • Hair care and hair services
    • Skin care and skin services
    • Nail care and nail services

 

  • Cosmetology Practical Exam – you will need to bring a mannequin head and table clamp with you to the practical exam, and demonstrate the following procedures in front of an evaluator over the course of up to four hours:
    • Set up and client protection – 10 minutes
    • Thermal curling – 10 minutes
    • Hair cutting – 30 minutes
    • Chemical waving – 20 minutes
    • Virgin hair lightening and color retouch – 10 minutes each
    • Virgin hair relaxer and relaxer retouch – 10 minutes each
    • Basic facial – 10 minutes
    • Basic manicure – 20 minutes

You can find a detailed list of what you should bring with you to the practical exam and important instructions on the Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) issued by DL Roope Administrations.

Hair Stylist Examinations

If you are a hair stylist candidate you will need to pass the following two additional examinations:

  • Hairstyling Written Examination – 90-minute test given on the same occasion as your practical exam, covering the subjects of:
      • Scientific concepts – 40 percent
        • Infection control
        • Head and hair anatomy
        • Basic principles of electricity and chemistry

     

    • Hair care and hair services – 60 percent
      • Hair cutting, styling, and coloring procedures
      •  Trichology
      • Draping procedures
      • Chemical services
      • Hair enhancements, hair extensions, and wigs

 

  • Hairstyling Practical Examination – you will need to bring a mannequin head to demonstrate the following procedures to an evaluator over the course of this maximum four-hour test:
    • Set up and client protection – 10 minutes
    • Thermal curling – 10 minutes
    • Hair cutting – 30 minutes
    • Chemical waving – 20 minutes
    • Virgin hair lightening and color retouch – 20 minutes
    • Virgin relaxer application and relaxer retouch – 20 minutes

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Licensure with the West Virginia Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists

Once you have passed your tests your final step will be to fill out an Application for Registration with the West Virginia State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.

Out-of-State Candidates

You can be eligible for licensure in West Virginia if you are a licensed cosmetologist or hair stylist in another state that has similar requirements for licensure as West Virginia. This must include the requisite minimum number of hours of study – 1,800 for a cosmetologist and 1,000 for a hair stylist – however if you are somewhat short of this requirement you may substitute work experience for education at a rate of one month of work experience for 25 hours of education, up to a maximum of 50 percent of the education requirement.

If you need to complete any outstanding tests in West Virginia you will use the Out-of-State Exam Application Form to register for these with DL Roope Administrations. This includes the West Virginia State Law Exam and any written or practical exams if your home state did not require these for licensure.

To apply as an out-of-state candidate you can use the same application as in-state candidates above, and along with your application you will need to additionally include:

  • Proof of licensure in good standing from any other states where you are licensed
  • Proof of employment if using work experience as a substitution for some of your education
  • Proof that you completed an education program that is similar to those required in West Virginia

 


 

Step 4. Explore Options in Your New Career

Cosmetologists will need to earn at least four credits of continuing education annually. You will need to earn your continuing education from a provider that is approved by the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, awarded at the rate of one credit for every 50 minutes of activity.

Once you receive your license you will be able to start out in your new career as a cosmetologist or hair stylist. After you have worked hard, gained valuable skills, and built a loyal customer base you may find yourself working in some of West Virginia’s hottest salons:

Once you have proven skills and abilities you may want to consider going into business for yourself or opening your own salon. You can start down this road by renting your own chair from an established salon, which requires Chair Rental Registration through the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. This will allow you to keep all your profits and operate completely independently. Further down the road you can think about opening your own place by submitting a Shop License Application to the Board.

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