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South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
With certain exceptions, State Board Examinations are held each Wednesday of the month. All examinations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT at the Commission office located at 217 W. Missouri Ave, Pierre, SD 57501
An applicant for examination will receive notification of his or her examination date two weeks prior to the scheduled exam. Notice will be sent via email to the email address on file with the Commission.
Each exam session can accommodate up to eight examinees. To ensure fairness, scheduling is determined by the date the Commission receives an application. No exceptions are made to this policy.
Examination dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Cosmetology Commission.
Exam Schedule and Procedures
The Cosmetology Commission will be administering State Board exams as shown above. Dates and locations may change during the year, but sufficient notice will be given regarding any date changes to the exam schedule for those affected.
Exam applicants will be scheduled once the application and $100 fee have been received.
If you have completed your education in South Dakota and have a job lined up, use the Application for License Examination in South Dakota.
If you have already applied for State Board examinations and now have a job lined up, use the Temporary License Application.
The following examination is required for South Dakota licensure as a cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail technician:
- Written Theory Examination — South Dakota administers the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) theory examination. There are separate examinations specific to cosmetology, esthetics, and nail technology.
- South Dakota State Laws and Rules Examination — At this time, South Dakota only administers the State Laws and Rules exam to students whose education was earned out of state or who are becoming licensed through reciprocity.
The examinations are administered by the Cosmetology Commission in Pierre.
When registered, candidates are emailed a notice of their examination date two weeks before their exam. Candidates cannot request a certain exam date or change their mind at the last minute. If they choose to not come on the date they are scheduled, it will be an unexcused absence and they will need to reapply and pay the exam fee again. (The policy for excused absences remains the same -- we allow excused absences for personal illness with a doctor’s note or death of an immediate family member) We will not accept additional applications for an examination date after the Admission Notices have been emailed.
Candidates must bring the following documents with them to the State Board examinations:
- Government-issued Photo ID
- Temporary License (if issued one)
(NOTE: There is no need to bring a student license to the examinations.)
South Dakota allows individuals who have completed their education to apply for a temporary license if they have a job lined up. The temporary license will be issued when we receive (a) completed temporary license application, showing where the individual is going to work, (b) $6 temporary license fee, and (c) completed Student Education Record/Time sheet. A temporary license is valid until the individual takes their State Board examination. An unexcused absence for the scheduled exam date will invalidate the temporary license, and the candidate cannot continue to work as a cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail technician until they pass all State Board exams. The law allows for only one lifetime temporary license per individual.
If a candidate with a temporary license fails any one of their examinations, the temporary license is no longer valid, and it is not returned to them. They cannot work as a cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail technician until they retake and pass the exam(s) that they failed. If a candidate fails one or more exams, information will be provided about scheduling a retake exam(s). Retake exams are scheduled at the Commission office in Pierre.