Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Minnesota

NAILS magazine reported that as of 2012, there were 3,437 nail technicians licensed in Minnesota, and 637 licensed nail salons statewide. This is an up-and-coming field that is wide open to qualified practitioners who are interested in beautifying hands and feet.

Enter Zip:

A strong job outlook is projected for licensed manicurists in Minnesota in the coming years, especially in the state’s larger cities of Minneapolis and Duluth.

To qualify for a manicurist license through the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners, follow these steps:

Get an Education in Nail Technology
Pass the Necessary Examinations for Nail Technicians in Minnesota
Apply for Minnesota Nail Technician Licensure
Begin your Career and Maintain Your Manicurist License Through Continuing Education



Step 1. Get an Education in Nail Technology

The Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners requires that you must complete 350 hours of nail technician education at a Board-approved program, or at an equivalent program in another state.

Schools are found statewide, in cities including (but not limited to):

  • Cloud
  • Alexandria
  • Blaine
  • Plymouth
  • Duluth
  • Park Rapids
  • Brainerd

You will take coursework in the classroom (theory courses) and practical courses to practice what you have learned on mannequins or real-life “clients.”

Examples of course titles at Minnesota nail technician schools include:

  • Pre-clinic introduction
  • Pre-clinic nail care
  • Salon preparation
  • Clinic introduction
  • Nail clinic
  • License preparation



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

Next, you must pass both parts of the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners’ Nail Technician Examination- the general (theory) portion and the state portion. Register online at PSIExams. You may pay the exam fees of $25 for the state exam and $35 for the theory exam online.

Exams are offered at the following PSI Exam Centers in Minnesota:

  • Duluth
  • Edina
  • Moorhead
  • Mankato
  • Lake Elmo
  • Woodbury
  • Thief River Falls
  • Cloud
  • Rochester

Minnesota Theory Exam for Nail Technicians

You will be given one and a half hours to complete 70   questions on the theory portion of the Minnesota Nail Technician Exam. The content of this exam encompasses the following subjects:

    • Safety, sanitation and disinfection:
      • Safe working conditions/practices
      • Safety agencies
      • Infection control
      • Standard precautions for exposure incidents


    • Client consultation and professional conduct:
      • Client consultation
      • Professional ethics
      • Record keeping
      • Personal hygiene


    • Nail structure and physiology:
      • Nail structure
      • Nail conditions and disorders


    • Basic manicure and pedicure:
      • Products
      • Procedures
      • Tools and equipment
      • Hand and foot massage


  • Artificial nail enhancements:
    • Application and removal of nail tips, gels, acrylics
    • Tools, equipment, products
    • Maintenance

You must get at least 75 percent of the questions correct in order to pass this portion of the exam. You will receive your score when you complete the exam.

Minnesota State Exam for Nail Technicians

The state portion of the Minnesota Nail Technician Exam allots you one hour to complete 35 questions on the following subject matter:

    • General information:
      • Definitions
      • Administration
      • Practitioner


    • Licensing:
      • Types of salon licenses
      • Reactivation and renewal
      • Permits
      • Minnesota individual licensing
      • Maintaining individual licenses
      • Salon licenses


    • Sanitation and requirements:
      • Salon
      • Salon supervision
      • Intoxicants and controlled substances
      • Policy


  • Enforcement:
    • Licensing and registration
    • Inspections
    • Displaying license

You must score 75 percent or better to past he state portion of the exam. You will be given your score on the day of the exam.



Step 3. Apply for Minnesota Nail Technician Licensure

After passing both parts of the Minnesota Nail Technician Examination, you are ready to apply for licensure as a nail technician in Minnesota. Complete the Initial Operator License Application, checking the Manicurist box at the top.

Along with your completed application, the following must be submitted to the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners:

  • $139 application, license and surcharge fees payable to the BCE via check or money order only
  • Copy of your high school diploma, GED or transcript
  • Original certificate showing you have completed 350 hours of manicurist education
  • Original certification of skills/readiness from your manicurist school
  • Original passing results from your general test, not more than one year old
  • Original passing results from the state test, not more than one year old

Before mailing the information and application, it is recommended that you make a copy of everything to keep for your own records. When you are ready to mail, send everything to: Board of Cosmetologist Examiners, 2829 University Ave SE, Suite 710, Minneapolis, MN 55414. Your application will be processed 15 days from its receipt, and if everything is in order, you will be mailed your Minnesota manicurist license.



Step 4. Start your Career and Maintain your Manicurist License Through Continuing Education

Congratulations on obtaining your manicurist license in Minnesota!

As a licensed manicurist in Minnesota, you are eligible for jobs in nail and cosmetology salons and spas all across the state. Some of these jobs may involve working as an employee of a salon or spa, while other salons and spas may allow you to rent space from them to offer your nail technician services to the public as a proprietor of your own business.

After working in a licensed salon in Minnesota for 2700 hours, you might opt to manage your own salon, in which case you must complete the Salon Manager License Application and pass the Minnesota Manager Test.

Examples of some of the most prominent employers of manicurists in Minnesota include:

  • Pamper Me Nails – Minneapolis
  • BodyGEM-Robbinsdale
  • Revolution Salon – Minneapolis
  • Lemon Water Salon and Spa – White Bear Lake
  • JCPenney – Mankato, Wilmar and Burnsville
  • Life Time Fitness – Minneapolis
  • Spalon Montage, Inc. – Edina, Chanhassen and Woodbury

Make sure to complete the correct steps in order to maintain your license, which renews every three years. You must complete four hours of Board-approved continuing education every three years, with three of those hours in sanitation, safety and health, and the remaining hour on state laws and rules.

The Board maintains a list of approved continuing education providers at its website.

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