Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Maryland

Nail technicians in Maryland are true artists, practicing their skills and creating works of art on hands and feet. The inspiration of celebrities has further popularized nail art in Maryland. There is more to becoming a nail technician in Maryland than simply learning nail art, however. Maryland’s nail technicians must learn the anatomy of the hand, how to keep clients’ nails healthy, and techniques to make hands and feet look and feel their best. According to NAILS Magazine, in 2012, Maryland employed 6,193 nail technicians and housed 1,031 nail salons.

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Follow these steps to become licensed as a nail technician through the Maryland Board of Cosmetologists:

Get Your Nail Technician Education and Training
Pass the Required Examination for Nail Technicians in Maryland
Apply for Nail Technician Licensure in Maryland
Find Work as a Nail Technician in Maryland



Step 1. Get Your Nail Technician Education and Training

If you want to become a nail technician in Maryland, make sure that you are at least 17 years old and have completed the ninth grade or better. Additionally, you must fulfill the Maryland Board of Cosmetologists’ training requirements through one of the following options:

Option 1: Complete 250 hours of training in a Board-approved school for nail technicians. The Board accepts all schools that are approved by the State Board of Education or the Maryland Higher Education Commission, as they receive routine inspections. A list of these schools may be found here.

Manicuring or nail technician training programs may be found in the following Maryland cities:

  • Cumberland
  • Waldorf
  • Salisbury
  • Hagerstown
  • Gaithersburg
  • Bel Air
  • Timonium
  • Westminster
  • Baltimore

During your 250 hours of training, you will take courses in the classroom and have the chance to practice what you have learned on mannequin hands or real hands. The classroom, or theory, part of your instruction usually makes up about 110 of the 250 hours, and the remaining 140 hours are devoted to clinical practice.

Examples of courses in a typical Maryland nail technician curriculum are:

  • Orientation to nail studies
  • Maryland state laws and regulations
  • Infection control
  • Client safety and sanitation
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nail diseases and disorders
  • Nail structure
  • Manicuring
  • Basic electricity
  • Pedicuring
  • Nail enhancement

Option 2: Complete eight months as a registered nail technician apprentice in a licensed beauty salon. You must train for at least three months, full-time, 30 hours per week if you take this option. In order to take advantage of this option, you must apply online through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and pay their $10 fee.



Step 2. Pass the Necessary Examinations for Nail Technicians in Maryland

Once you have completed your education and training, you are ready to take the Maryland Nail Technician Examination. Complete the exam application form, having your school’s director complete the Student Training portion of the form and having it notarized. If you trained as a nail technician apprentice, make sure your monthly hour reports have been submitted to the state, and have your licensed supervisor complete the Apprentice Training Certification section of the application form. Mail the completed application form, attachments and fees ($80 for both Theory and Practical) to Prometric, Attn: MD Cosmetology Registration, 7941 Corporate Drive, Nottingham, MD 21236.

Allow Prometric 10 days from the time you mail your exam application before scheduling your nail technician exam online.

Theory Exam for Nail Technicians

You are given two hours to complete 100 multiple-choice questions on the topics listed below:

    • General concepts:
      • Infection control and bacteriology
      • Salon safety – EPA, OSHA, MSDS
      • Client protection – EPA, OSHA, MSDS
      • Salon ethics


    • Applied anatomy
      • Anatomy and physiology- nails, hands and feet
      • Skin


    • Chemical concepts and services:
      • EPA and OSHA requirements
      • Ingredients and usage
      • Product knowledge


    • Physical concepts and services:
      • Massage
      • Pedicure
      • Manicure
      • Nail artistry
      • Gel nails
      • Nail tips
      • Nail wraps
      • Repair techniques
      • Sculptured nails


  • State laws and regulations:
    • Licensing
    • Sanitation

The theory test is administered via computer at the Prometric test centers listed below:

  • Columbia
  • Landover
  • Baltimore
  • Bethesda
  • Towson
  • Salisbury

Practical Exam for Nail Technicians

You must bring a mannequin hand with a full set of nails to your practical examination, as well as a supply kit (a list of what you need to bring is found in the exam bulletin). The practical exam is only administered at test sites in Bethesda and Baltimore. You will be given 127 minutes to complete the practical exam, incorporating the services and tasks below:

  • Blood spill safety critical section
  • Manicure and polish service
  • Sculptured nail, acrylic nail
  • Nail tip
  • Nail wrap
  • Final clean-up

You must score at least a 75 on both parts of the Maryland Nail Technician Exam in order to pass it. Your score report will be given to you as soon as you complete the theory portion of the exam. The results of your practical exam will be mailed to you about 10 business days after you take the exam.



Step 3. Apply for Nail Technician Licensure in Maryland

After you have passed both parts of the Maryland Nail Technician Exam, your results will be sent by Prometric to the state and they will determine your licensure eligibility. They will send you instructions on how to apply via paper or online for a nail technician license. The licensure fee is $25, and can be paid via check, money order or credit card.

Congratulations! You are now a licensed nail technician in Maryland! Your nail technician license is valid for two years, with staggered expiration dates. You may renew your license and pay the $25 renewal fee online. The Maryland Board of Cosmetology does not currently require nail technician to complete continuing education in order to renew a license.



Step 4. Find Work as a Nail Technician in Maryland

Nail technicians may find work all across the state of Maryland in a variety of milieus. Not only salons and spas, but also department stores, health clubs, some health care practitioners’ offices, and some long-term care facilities in Maryland employ nail technicians. Some salons and spas may allow you to rent space, or a “booth,” from them to perform nail technician services.

Some examples of employers of nail technicians in Maryland include:

  • Haven On The Lake – Columbia
  • Pampered Pretty – Annapolis
  • Regis Corporation Images Salon – Silver Spring
  • Filiz Hair Design – Clarksville
  • Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa – Gaithersburg
  • JC Penney- Wheaton
  • Futurz Hair Gallery – Hagerstown
  • Sizzlin Styles Hair and Nail Salon – District Heights
  • Luna Nail & Spa- Towson

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