Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota Cosmetology Commission

Licensing Requirements

Cosmetologist License

Nail Technician License

Esthetician License

Instructor Licenses

Manager's License (discontinued)

Salon/Booth Licenses (including home salons)

Certification of Licensure (Proof)

License Replacement or Duplicate

Cosmetologist License

For hair, nail and skin services, as established by South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 36-15-2

  • Complete 1,500 hours of cosmetology education, as shown by transcript from a South Dakota school. Out-of-state students must provide certification from their state board (using the Out-of-state Student Affidavit for Certification Form available from our Forms page), not their school.
  • Be 18 years or older, as shown by copy of birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, U.S. governmental photo ID or U.S. passport.
  • Provide evidence of high school or GED® completion.
  • Submit the completed Exam and Temporary License Application Form (available from our Forms page) to Cosmetology Commission.
  • Pay $80 examination fee, which includes the first license.
  • Pass three examinations: NIC national written, NIC national practical and South Dakota state laws/rules.
  • Pay annual renewal fee.

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Nail Technician License

For nail services only, as established by SDCL 36-15-17.2

  • Complete 400 hours of nail technology education, as shown by transcript from a South Dakota school. Out-of-state students must provide certification from their state board (using the Out-of-state Student Affidavit for Certification Form available from our Forms page), not their school.
  • Be 18 years or older, as shown by copy of birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, U.S. governmental photo ID,or U.S. passport.
  • Provide evidence of high school or GED® completion.
  • Submit the completed Exam and Temporary License Application Form (available from our Forms page) to the Cosmetology Commission.
  • Pay $80 examination fee, which includes the first license.
  • Pass three examinations: NIC national written, NIC national practical and South Dakota state laws/rules.
  • Pay annual renewal fee.

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Esthetician License

Skin services only, as established in SDCL 36-15-2.2

  • Complete 600 hours of esthetics education, as shown by transcript from a South Dakota school. Out-of-state students must provide certification from their state board (using the Out-of-state Student Affidavit for Certification Form available from our Forms page), not their school.
  • Be 18 years or older, as shown by copy of birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, U.S. governmental photo ID or U.S. passport.
  • Provide evidence of high school or GED® completion.
  • Submit the completed Exam and Temporary License Application Form (available from our Forms page) to Cosmetology Commission.
  • Pay $80 examination fee, which includes the first license.
  • Pass three examinations: NIC national written, NIC national practical and South Dakota state laws/rules.
  • Pay annual renewal fee.

You may also find Esthetics handout (Adobe PDF format) helpful.

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Instructor Licenses

Cosmetologist instructors can teach hair, nails and skin. Nail technology instructors can teach only nail technology. Esthetics instructors can teach only esthetics.

  • Submit the Instructor License Application Form (available from our Forms page) with initial fee.
  • Follow the Instructions (Adobe PDF format) for obtaining an instructor's license.

Conditional Instructor

  • Possess either a cosmetologist, nail technician or esthetician license.
  • Complete a 12 clock-hour pre-approved instructor education course.
  • Pass the South Dakota Instructor Laws/Rules written test.
  • Conditional instructor license is valid for 90 days.

Instructor

  • A conditional instructor must take/pass the Instructor Theory examination to become a fully licensed instructor.
  • If the Instructor Theory examination is failed, the conditional instructor license is invalid and the individual may not instruct students until passing the examination and being issued an Instructor License.
  • Instructor licenses must be renewed each year by the expiration date on the license (date of birth).
  • Twelve hours of instructor continuing education on teaching methodology must be completed and proof of education submitted to the Commission office prior to renewing an instructor license.
  • The list of pre-approved providers is on the Instructor Continuing Education page.

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Manager's License

The Manager's License was discontinued July 1, 2007. All those who possessed a manager license will now have "Cosmetologist," "Nail Technician" or "Esthetician" on their license, as applicable.

Salon/Booth Licenses

If you are opening a new cosmetology, esthetics or nail salon or booth, you must apply for your first license, which is a 90-day permit. The fee is $60. Your salon/booth will be inspected during the 90-day period.

If the inspection is passed, we will issue a license that will expire annually on the business opening date. If the inspection is failed, you must set up a recheck inspection before the 90-day permit expires.

You may not open for business before the salon/booth permit license is received and posted. Once your salon/booth is licensed, it must pass a yearly inspection and you must pay an annual renewal fee.

A booth license is for an individual acting as an independent contractor, renting space in a salon. See our General Guidelines for the Booth Rental License page.

Setting up a salon in your home requires a salon license. You must follow all salon rules and regulations. In addition, your home salon must have a separate entrance from outside and be completely separated from your living quarters. You should check your local city/county ordinances as well. See the Home Salon Requirements (Adobe PDF format) for more information.

All salon and booth licenses are valid for the original owner(s) and original physical address only. If you move your physical address or the salon changes ownership, a new license is required.

Use the Salon/Booth Permit License Application (available from our Forms page) to apply for a new salon/booth permit.

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Certification or Endorsement of Licensure (Proof)

To prove to another state that you hold a valid South Dakota license, you may request a certificate with the state seal showing hours and licensing for a $20 fee. Please send either a check or money order (made payable to "State Cosmetology Commission"), your current name, student record name and your address. We will send the certificate directly to the other state, unless that state's form indicates otherwise.

License Replacement or Duplicate

If you have lost your copy of your license or need a duplicate to post at a different salon, notify the Commission. The cost of the replacement or duplicate is $5.

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