Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota Cosmetology Commission

Foreign Applicants

If you are from a foreign country and wish to apply for a South Dakota license, you must:

  • Have a current, active license from your country. (If you do not, you must apply as a graduated student and any work credit will not be accepted.)
  • Meet the minimum education requirements (1,500 hours for cosmetology; 600 hours for esthetics; 400 hours for nail technicians).
    • To meet these requirements, you may add documented work credit hours to education hours. We accept 2 hours of work experience for every 1 hour of education the applicant is lacking to meet our education requirement. The allowable hours earned from work experience are: 750 hours maximum for cosmetology; 300 hours maximum for esthetics; 200 hours maximum for nail technicians. For example, 1,200 education hours + 600 work hours = 1,500 hours.) These hours must be validated by a previous employer in the country where you were previously licensed.
  • Complete required, additional education hours from a South Dakota school (225 hours for cosmetology; 90 hours for esthetics; or 60 hours for nail technicians). This education must include:
    • Federal safety requirements (OSHA and FDA) for cosmetology
    • South Dakota safety and sanitation requirements (laws/rules)
    • United States product information
  • Submit the following in English (any translations must be done by a professional translation service):
    • Reciprocity application with the required application and examination fees of $100
    • Copy of birth certificate or naturalization record and current photograph OR copy of your US government issued photo ID
    • Certification of your foreign cosmetology, esthetics, or nail technology licensure to include the required amount of education hours required for licensure in that country
    • Work Experience Affidavit (if necessary)
    • Proof of required, additional education from your South Dakota school (should be sent directly from said school to the Cosmetology Commission)
  • Take and pass the NIC National Theory test and the South Dakota State Laws and Rules Exam from the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
    • The NIC Theory exam for Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Nail Technology is offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean only
    • The State Laws and Rules Exam is offered open book in English with the ability to use a translator of your choosing