Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Delaware

According to NAILS Magazine, there were 93 nail salons in Delaware in 2012; in 2013, this number had increased to 129.

If you want to be part of the thriving nail salon industry in Delaware, you must first become licensed through the Delaware Board of Cosmetology and Barbering by completing the following:

Enter Zip:
Complete a Nail Technology Program or Apprenticeship
Complete the Examination and License Application
Schedule and Take the Nail Technician Practical and Theory Examinations
Explore your Professional Options and Keep your Nail Technician License Valid

Regardless of where you go, Delaware is a great place to be, particularly if you’re a manicurist! From Riverfront Wilmington in Northern Delaware to the iconic Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk in Southern Delaware, there are plenty of fantastic places where your nail technology career can take off.



Step 1. Complete a Nail Technology Program or Apprenticeship

Nail Technician School

The Delaware Board of Cosmetology and Barbering recognizes a nail technician as a licensed beauty professional who engages in the practice of manicuring, pedicuring, and sculpting nails, including acrylic nails. When you complete a nail program in Delaware, you can also expect to complete coursework in areas such as sanitation and safety as it relates to nail technology.

To be eligible for licensure as a nail technician in Delaware, your nail technology program must consist of at least 300 classroom hours. You can expect to complete a nail technology program either through a dedicated nail school or through a broad cosmetology school that offers programs in nail technology.


You may also earn your nail technician education through the completion of an apprenticeship. However, you must complete an apprenticeship of at least 600 hours to be eligible for licensure in Delaware. You must also meet this practice hour requirement within 12 months.

There are a number of things you must do to prepare for a nail technology apprenticeship in Delaware:

  • Choose a sponsor to supervise your apprenticeship (sponsor must be licensed in Delaware as a nail technician or cosmetologist)
  • Complete a signed, signed, and notarized Application for Apprenticeship
  • Have the sponsor and the shop/salon owner sign the application
  • Submit the $40 processing fee (made payable to the State of Delaware)
  • Arrange for the Board to receive your high school transcripts (showing that you have completed at least the 10th grade)

During your apprenticeship, you and your sponsor should maintain records of your accrued hours on the Verification of Apprentice Hours form, which is found at the end of the Apprenticeship Application.



Step 2. Complete the Examination and License Application

Upon the successful completion of either your nail technician program or nail technician apprenticeship, you must complete the online Examination and License application through Professional Credential Services (PCS), submit all the required documentation as to determine your eligibility to take the required theory and practical examinations, and pay the $197 fee (includes examination fees for both the theory and practical exams).

In addition to meeting the educational/apprenticeship requirements for licensure, you must also be at least 16 years old and have completed the 10th grade to be eligible for licensure as a nail technician in Delaware.

The Board has chosen PCS to provide the administration examination services for nail technician licensure candidates in Delaware. The Board also exclusively utilizes the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) examinations. You can read more about the nail technology NIC examinations here.

Once you have completed your online application and submitted payment, the coordinator will receive notification from PCS, who will then review your application and determine if you are eligible to take the examinations.



Step 3. Schedule and Take the Nail Technician Practical and Theory Examinations

Once your application has been approved, PCS will send you a notification, via email, that will include a Theory Authorization to Test (ATT) letter.

You will also receive a Practical Admission Notice about 10 days before your examination date that will include information regarding the assigned date, time, and location of your practical examination. All practical examinations are held in Newark. Note: You will have scheduled your practical examination when completing your online application.

Once you receive your ATT letter, you must call PSI Exams to schedule your theory (written) examination. You can either schedule online through or by calling 1-800-733-9267. You may take your written examination at the PSI testing centers located in Dover or Georgetown.

You can learn more about the required examinations for licensure as a nail technician in Delaware through the PCS Nail Technology Candidate Handbook.

On the day of your practical examination, you must take your ATT letter, a current 2×2 passport-style photo, two forms of identification, and the required examination supplies. You must score at least 75 on both examinations to pass. Once you successfully pass both examinations, you will receive a Notice of Completion from PCS. PCS will electronically notify the Board of your status so that your Delaware nail technician license can be issued.

Note: Delaware law states that you must successfully pass both examinations within 2 calendar years of your initial application date. If you cannot pass both examinations within this time frame, you must wait at least one year from the last exam date and reapply with PCS as a first-time candidate.



Step 4. Explore your Professional Options and Keep your Nail Technician
License Valid

Your nail technician license in Delaware expires on March 31 of every even-numbered year. You can expect to receive a renewal notice a few weeks before your expiration date with information on how to access the online renewal application. There are no continuing education requirements for nail technicians in Delaware.

As a nail technician, it is important to always stay on top of the latest trends in the nail salon industry through continuing education classes. Further, if you want to expand your career and either manage a salon or open up your own salon, you will likely want to pursue study in management, marketing, and advertising, among others.

In addition, if you want to head back to school and become a licensed cosmetologist in Delaware, you may apply 125 of your nail technician program hours to a cosmetology school curriculum totaling 1,500 hours. You may also apply 250 of your apprentice nail technician hours to an apprentice cosmetology program totaling 3,000 hours.

In addition to working as an employee in one of Delaware’s many nail salons, spas, and full-service salons, you may also choose to work for a mobile nail salon business or as an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you will likely rent space at a nail salon. Just a few of the fantastic nail salon options in Delaware include:

  • Polished Salon, Wilmington
  • Nails Image, Wilmington
  • Star Nails and Spa, Wilmington
  • Angel Nails, Middleton
  • Top Nails, New Castle
  • Orchids Nail Salon, Bear
  • Michael Christopher, Wilmington

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