Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota Cosmetology Commission - Menu

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 or certificate 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). You may add documented work credit hours to education hours. We accept two hours of work experience for every one hour of education the applicant is lacking to meet our education requirement. The allowable hours earned from work experience are: 1,000 hours maximum for cosmetology; 350 hours maximum for esthetics; 200 hours maximum for nail technicians. For example, 1,200 education hours + 600 work hours = 1,500 hours.)
  • Have your education evaluated by a professional education company and submit the report to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission. (A list of evaluation companies is below. You must pay for any evaluation costs.)
  • Complete required education hours from a South Dakota school (300 hours for cosmetology; 150 hours for esthetics; 60 hours for nail technicians). This education must include:
    • Federal safety requirements (OSHA and FDA)
    • South Dakota safety and sanitation requirements (laws/rules)
    • United States product information
  • Submit the following in English (any translations must be done by an official translator):
    • Reciprocity application
    • Copy of birth certificate or naturalization record
    • Copy of high school education or GED
    • Current photograph
    • Work credit (if necessary)
    • Education evaluation report mentioned above
    • Proof of education from your South Dakota school
  • Pay the required application and examination fees ($100)
  • Take and pass the NIC national theory test, the NIC hands-on practical test and the South Dakota state laws/rules test from the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission

Evaluation and Translation Services

The South Dakota Cosmetology Commission requires that all foreign-language education documents, including high school diplomas, must be translated and evaluated by Aequo International prior to processing any application for licensure (including temporary or student licenses) in South Dakota. Effective September 25, 2015, all high school diplomas earned thru on-line education need to be verified by Aequo International as well. It is your responsibility as the applicant to contact Aequo International to apply for the translation/evaluation of your foreign-language education documents or verification of your on-line high school diploma.

Contact information for Aequo International is shown below. Aequo will provide the Cosmetology Commission with a detailed report of your education translation and evaluation. The Commission will not accept translations or evaluations from any other source or directly from the applicant.

Aequo International Contact Information

On-line Application

Select "Cosmetology" and then "South Dakota."

If you need assistance:
Phone: 844.882.3786