How to Become a Cosmetologist in North Carolina

How to Become a Cosmetologist in North Carolina

Cosmetologists are beauty professionals who help customers change their physical appearance.

To make them more attractive and improve the client’s self-esteem and confidence future cosmetologists need to get involved more deeply into this field.

Beauty and the importance of it and how we perceive it has changed, thus leading to the further advancement of the cosmetology.

Job Description

Cosmetologists can be barbers, hairdressers, and nail stylists, and they usually work in pleasant surroundings such as salons and spas, hotels and resorts, or beauty centers.

Popular Programs

No matter whether they work full time or part-time, they are constantly on their feet during their shift.

It is common for them to work during the weekend, too.

As their work involves dealing with chemicals, they need to be careful not to cause skin irritation and should wear gloves or aprons.

Some cosmetologists decide to be self-employed and determine their schedule, while others decide to work for somebody else.

Cosmetology Programs in North Carolina

The North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners offers licenses to cosmetologists, estheticians, and manicurists, thus determining the educational and examination requirements to be able to reach the certificate.

The beginning of your education will be graduation from an accredited cosmetology school, such as:

  • Alexander Paul Institute of Hair Design – Greenville
  • Aveda Institute – Chapel Hill
  • Durham Beauty Academy – Durham
  • Leon’s Beauty School – Greensboro
  • Mitchell’s Hairstyling Academy – Raleigh
  • Pinnacle Institute of Cosmetology – Mooresville.

The North Carolina state requires that a future cosmetologist must complete 1500 hours of training and get the necessary knowledge about the following subjects:

  • Cosmetology theory
  • Professional image
  • Business management
  • Salon business
  • Sanitation
  • Bacteriology
  • Chemistry
  • Professional ethics
  • Color application
  • Techniques of cosmetology
  • Multidimensional color
  • Lash and brow color
  • Facials
  • Makeup application
  • Hair removal

Once the classroom education and practice are completed, you will be competent in hair, nail and facial techniques, business management, and laws which is enough to be able to pass the examination and get the certificate.

Cosmetology Exams in North Carolina

The graduation from a cosmetology school makes you eligible to take exams, and you are supposed to get more than a 75% score to be able to get the license.

In case you do not manage to get that score, you will only be able to reach an apprenticeship license.

The National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. (NIC exam) organizes both the practical and written exams.

For the practical exam, you will need to bring your equipment and show your skills thought at school covered by six areas:

  • Set Up and Client Protection
  • Thermal Curling
  • Haircutting
  • Chemical Waving
  • Virgin Hair Lightening Application and Hair Color Retouch
  • Virgin Relaxer Application and Relaxer Retouch

The written exam lasts one and a half hours, and you will be asked questions about:

  • Bacteriology
  • Basic Customer Service
  • Anatomy
  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Trichology
  • Principles of Hair Design
  • Haircutting
  • Wigs
  • Hair enhancements
  • Extensions
  • Chemical service consultation
  • Chemical
  • Hair color services
  • Skincare
  • Nail care

There is a chance of taking the NIC Cosmetology online practice test.

This can be done after paying a $30 fee and calling 1-800-211-2754.

The books that you can use to study for this exam are:

  • Milady’s Standard Cosmetology, by Milady
  • Salon Fundamentals, Cosmetology
  • Cosmetology Career Concepts, haircutting, Hair designing, Hair coloring, and Success Dynamics
  • NIC Health and Safety Standards
  • NIC Cleaning and Disinfecting of Circulating and Non Circulating Tubs and Spas


Those who have reached 75% on both written and practical exams are allowed to apply for the license by submitting the initial application, $49 application fee and national board exam scores.

There is also a chance of getting a temporary permit and start working as a cosmetologist while you still have not passed the exams, but are waiting to take them.

This kind of permit lasts only six months and cannot be renewed.

To get the temporary permit, you must graduate from a cosmetology program and apply for examination within three months of your graduation date.

To apply for it you should receive permit application from your cosmetology school and submit it with the payment.

The Apprentice License is allowed only to those who graduated from a 1200 or 1500 hour cosmetology school, passed written and practical exams with at least 70% which is not enough for a full license, and paid $20 license fee.

North Carolina offers one more license not present in other states and that is Natural Hair Care License which allows you to do different forms of braiding, cornrows, locks, and knots.

You can apply for this license if you have graduated from a cosmetic arts natural hair care school with at least 300 hours of instruction, passed the exam and submitted an application fee.

Keeping Your License Current 

North Carolina is one of the states that requires further education for license renewal.

You must gain eight credits of continuing education per license renewal cycle and maintain accurate records of the following information:

  • Course title
  • Description
  • Date
  • Address of location
  • Number of hours earned
  • Date and sign an affirmation of course completion

Furthermore, half of the subjects covered in your courses must be related to the practice of cosmetology.

Your continuing education records should always be ready to be submitted to the Board.

Average Annual Cosmetologist Salary and Job Prospects in North Carolina

North Carolina has to offer amazing job opportunities in its best salons, including:

  • Citrine Salon, Chapel Hill
  • Carmen Carmen Salon E’Spa, Charlotte
  • Salon Blu, Raleigh
  • Bella Hair Salon, Jacksonville
  • Hair Studio 168, Durham
  • Dominican Hair Salon, Charlotte

Throughout the USA it is estimated that cosmetologists, including both hairdressers and hairstylists, as well as nail and skincare practitioners, earn decent salaries per year.

It is expected that inexperienced cosmetologists cannot earn equal salaries as their more experienced colleagues and the pay scale depends on the location, city development and the social status of citizens.

The salary can also be affected by the personal characteristics of a cosmetologist, such as level of education and training, quality of work and the number of daily activities in the salon.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Asheville,NC $23,971
Burlington,NC $24,759
Cary,NC $25,036
Chapel Hill,NC $24,813
Charlotte,NC $25,563
Concord,NC $25,054
Durham,NC $24,895
Fayetteville,NC $23,945
Gastonia,NC $25,597
Greensboro,NC $24,869
Greenville,NC $24,853
Hickory,NC $25,336
High Point,NC $25,088
Jacksonville,NC $23,619
Kannapolis,NC $24,704
Raleigh,NC $25,036
Rocky Mount,NC $24,853
Salisbury,NC $24,765
Wilmington,NC $23,802
Wilson,NC $28,532
Winston Salem,NC $24,999

Regional Salary in North Carolina

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Asheville, NC370$40,320$19.38$70,320$18,580
Burlington, NC100$30,830$14.82$50,820$18,010
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC2,750$39,300$18.9$74,300$21,690
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC430$46,400$22.31$76,270$21,950
Fayetteville, NC180$35,980$17.3$59,570$17,390
Goldsboro, NC60$35,690$17.16$60,360$18,380
Greensboro-High Point, NC430$38,120$18.33$65,930$18,580
Greenville, NC80$39,250$18.87$68,180$18,580
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC180$30,270$14.55$51,050$18,200
Jacksonville, NC120$34,360$16.52$61,390$16,830
New Bern, NC50$31,500$15.15$64,530$17,440
Raleigh, NC1,410$45,090$21.68$76,090$23,030
Rocky Mount, NC40$37,680$18.12$59,990$17,680
Wilmington, NC420$39,600$19.04$61,050$20,160
Winston-Salem, NC470$39,250$18.87$70,080$18,510
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, OCC Code 39-5012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

USA Cosmetology by State

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