Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Idaho

Can you imagine getting to spend each and every day immersed in the world of beauty, fashion, wellness, and relaxation? As a manicurist in Idaho, you will join the booming health and beauty industry and be encouraged to use your talent and creativity with each client.

Enter Zip:

Before you can start working with nails, you will need to become licensed through the Idaho Board of Cosmetology, which issues licenses to all beauty practitioners. As a nail technician, you will specialize in providing manicures and pedicures. To learn how, follow these simple steps:

Complete a Nail Technician Education Program
Pass the National Exams
Apply for License through the Idaho Board of Cosmetology
Start your Career and Renew your License



Step 1. Complete a Nail Technician Education Program

The Idaho Board of Cosmetology requires that you have completed at least the 10th grade, and that you are at least sixteen and a half years of age to qualify for a nail technician license.

Your first step toward becoming a licensed manicurist is completing the required education and training.

Don’t let the thought of more school scare you! Beauty school is a fun, exciting, and fast way to learn absolutely everything you will need to know to excel as a manicurist in Idaho. In Idaho’s nail technician schools you will find the training covers:

  • Natural nail manicuring and pedicuring
  • Artificial nail application
  • Nail art
  • Nail care tools
  • Nail product knowledge
  • Bacteriology and nail disorders
  • Safety, sterilization, and sanitation
  • Business ethics

The Board requires that your school provide you with at least 400 hours of training.



Step 2. Pass the National Exams

After you complete your education, you can move on to the second step toward getting your license, which is passing the national exam! Idaho offers the National-Interstate Council (NIC) cosmetology by DL Roope Administrations, Inc. You will either receive an application for this exam from your nail technology school, or you can apply through the NIC online application form.

There are two parts to this exam, which include practical exam and the written exam.

Practical Exam

You will want to read through practical exam bulletin for information on what to bring with you to the exam, how to dress for the exam, and the script that you will follow throughout the exam. This practical exam will test your ability to actually perform manicuring services. You will need to bring a mannequin hand with you to the exam, and you must apply a set of nails to the hand before you come to the exam. The exam should take about three (3) hours to finish, and you will be tested in areas such as:

  • Set up and client protection
  • Manicure
  • Nail tip
  • Nail wrap
  • Sculptured nail
  • Polish
  • Candidate summary and cleanup

You must pass this exam with at least a 75% in order to qualify with the Idaho Board for a license.

Written Exam

You may also read through the written exam bulletin to find information on what will be on the exam, sample questions for the exam, and what materials you may use for study. The written exam will take about 90 minutes, and it will cover, but is not limited to, the following information:

  • Scientific concepts
  • Infection control procedures
  • Methods of disinfection
  • Nail services
  • Sanitizing and disinfecting circulating and non-circulating pedicure tubs
  • Disposal of soiled materials
  • Storage of suppose
  • OSHA requirements
  • Basic human anatomy
  • Function and structure of the skin
  • Disorders and diseases
  • The nervous system
  • Parts of the nail
  • Nail conditions and disorders
  • Signs of infection
  • Adhesion
  • Chemical reactions
  • Product ingredients
  • Exfoliates
  • Gel
  • Moisturizers
  • Nail polish
  • Primer
  • Nail technology procedures
  • General procedures
  • Nail equipment
  • Nail implements
  • Nail supplies
  • Pushing back cuticles safely
  • Removing excess cuticle
  • Cleaning nails
  • Buffing nails
  • Applying nail polish
  • Paraffin service
  • Removing nail polish
  • Softening cuticles

For any other questions, peruse the nail technician exam frequently asked questions.



Step 3. Apply for License through the Idaho Board of Cosmetology

Now that you have met your education requirements and passed the exam, you are eligible to take this last step—applying for your license! In order to apply, you will need to submit the following information:

  • Completed application
  • Copy of drivers license or birth certificate
  • Copy of transcript or diploma showing completion of 10th grade
  • Copy of any name-change legal documents
  • Proof of successful passing of exams
  • $10 application fee


You can also apply for licensure based on endorsement, meaning that you have previously held a license in a different state and want to apply for an Idaho license. To do this, you will need to provide proof that you have met the educational and examination requirements equal to what is required by the Idaho Board, or you will need to have worked actively with your license for three (3) of the past five (5) years. If you haven’t, then some extra education or exams may be required. If you meet these requirements, you will use the same application as regular applicants, but you will need to submit proof of your previous license.

You will send all applications and documents to the Board at:

Idaho Board of Cosmetology
Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses
700 West State Street PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720



Step 4. Start your Career and Renew your License

As a nail technician, you have many options for finding work. You can choose to look for a salon or spa where you could rent out a station for a monthly fee; you can work full-time, or you could work part-time around the other commitments in your busy life. You could even choose to work from home!

If you’re considering pursuing nail technician jobs in one of Idaho’s top salon’s, consider one of these:

  • Retreat Day Spa – Ammon
  • Viziato Spa – Boise
  • Allay Spa – Boise
  • Highlands Day Spa – Post Falls

As a licensee with the cosmetology Board, you will need to renew your license each year. About six (6) weeks before your license expires, you will receive information and instructions on how to renew your license by mail. You will be allowed to return the documents you were sent, or renew your license online.

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