Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Washington DC

Our nation’s capital may only be 68 square miles, but it is home to about 100 nail salons, according to NAILS Magazine. From the Blu Nail Spa in Logan Circle and the Mimosa Salon and Spa in Dupont Circle to the Pleasant Nail Spa in Mount Pleasant and Royal Essence Skin Care and Nail Salon in Arlington, there’s no shortage of nail salons in Washington!

Enter Zip:

If you want to become a part of the thriving nail salon industry in Washington D.C., you must hold a cosmetology specialist license from the D.C. Board of Barber and Cosmetology, which requires successfully completing the following steps:

Complete an Approved Educational Program in Manicuring
Complete a New License Application
Take the Required Examinations for Licensure
Keep your Nail Technician License Current
Explore your Options as a Licensed Nail Technician in Washington D.C.



Step 1. Complete an Approved Educational Program in Manicuring

To become a nail technician in Washington D.C., you must complete a formal educational program in nail technology. The nail technology program, which must be satisfactory to the Board, must be at least 350 hours long and must include the following courses (shown with the minimum training hours):

  • Manicuring (water and oil): 100 hours
  • Pedicure: 25
  • Personal hygiene: 25
  • Ethics, salesmanship: 25
  • Courtesy, conduct, communication skills, D.C. law: 35
  • Anatomy and physiology: 25
  • Bacteriology, pathology: 30
  • Chemistry: 35
  • Electricity: 20
  • Sanitation: 30

You can complete a nail technology program through a dedicated nail technology school or through a full cosmetology school that includes manicurist programs. Unlike cosmetologist licenses, there is no apprenticeship route to licensure for manicurists.



Step 2. Complete a New License Application

Upon completing the required education, you must complete the Board of Barber and Cosmetology New License Application and send it, along with all supporting documents for licensure, to:

Pearson VUE
Department DC – Cosmetology
Metroplex I, Suite 250
8401 Corporate Drive
Landover, MD 20785

If you have any questions regarding the application process, you can contact Pearson VUE at 1-877-374-1155.

In addition to the completed application, you must:

  • Show proof that you have completed the 10th grade or higher
  • Submit any other supporting documents
  • Payment of $230 (includes the examination fee $55, application fee $65, and license fee of $110)
  • Submit a Formal Education Certificate (completed by the nail technology school)

You must enter the license code as CSP (cosmetology specialist operator) and the specialty code NAIL on your application form.

After you have submitted the application, the Board will review your application and send you authorization to sit for the DC Board/Cosmetology written and practical examination.



Step 3. Take the Required Examinations for Licensure

If you are approved by the Board to sit for the examination, you will receive an Authorization to Test notice directly from the Examination Unit, which will include instructions on how to schedule your written examination.

The Board utilizes the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) nail technician theory and practical examinations. You can learn more about the content and structure of both examinations here.

Once you take and pass the Nail Technology Theory examination, you will be automatically registered for the next Nail Technology Practical examination, which is offered 6 times a year: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

Upon the successful completion of both the practical and written examination, you will be issued a nail technician license to practice manicuring in Washington D.C.



Step 4. Keep your Nail Technician License Current

Your cosmetology specialty license as a nail technician expires on all even-numbered years (2014, 2016, etc.). You can expect to receive a renewal notice about 3 months before your license’s expiration date. You must complete a renewal form, pay the renewal fee, and complete at least 6 continuing education credits to qualify for renewal.

All of your continuing education credits must be completed through an approved program or course during the term of your nail technician license. In addition, at least 2 of your continuing education credits must be in courses or programs related to safety, health, or welfare. All additional credits may be in areas such as (but not limited to):

  • District laws and regulations
  • Product knowledge
  • Business
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Ethics and standards of professional practice
  • Courses directly related to the practice of manicuring

You may choose to explore a number of areas of study as to not only satisfy your continuing education requirements, but to advance your career, as well. Courses in areas such as business or marketing, for example, may be a smart choice if you have aspirations of opening your own nail salon in Washington D.C. In addition to working as an employee of a nail salon or spa, you may also decide to take your career into your own hands and work as an independent contractor, renting space in salons and spas throughout D.C.



Step 5. Explore your Options as a Licensed Nail Technician in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is home to nail salons of both the luxury and economical variety. Nail salon services are also available through hotels, spas, and full-service salons, so you have a wide array of options when it comes to working as a nail technician in the nation’s capital.

The following nail salons are just a few of the popular establishments where nail technician jobs may be found in Washington D.C.:

  • The Emerald Door
  • Enchanted Nails and Spa
  • Shangri-La Day Spa
  • Qwest Nails
  • Red Sun Nails
  • KARMA Beauty Lounge
  • Polish
  • Patsy’s Nail Bar
  • Bliss Spa at W

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