How to Become a Cosmetologist in North Dakota

Do you want to innovate style in hair, makeup, and nails all day every day, stay on the cutting edge of the latest fashion trends and beauty techniques, and be up-to-date on what’s hot in Hollywood and around the world—AND get paid for it? If so, then a career in cosmetology is perfect for you.

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Your exciting career in North Dakota’s salon industry starts with a cosmetology license through the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology. As a licensed cosmetologist, you will work with hair and makeup, and provide general nail and skincare services. Performing other specialized services would require additional licensure.

For an easy guide on how to become a cosmetologist in North Dakota, follow these simple steps:

Complete Cosmetology School
Pass North Dakota’s Cosmetology Licensing Exams
Submit an Application to the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology
Find Work and Keep your License Current



Step 1. Complete Cosmetology School

Completing beauty school might be the most fun part of becoming a cosmetologist! Not only do you get to learn all the latest trends and techniques in hair, makeup, and nails, but you also get to be surrounded with like-minded people, all delving into the world of beauty together. Many of these schools offer flexible schedules, as well.

The Board provides a list of schools on their website that provide the required 1800 hours of training. After you graduate from one of these schools, you will be able to move on to taking the state exams. In cosmetology school, you will take courses such as:

  • Permanent Waves
  • Facials and Make-Up
  • Complete Finger Waves
  • Hair Cutting
  • Hair Styling
  • Eyebrows and Arches
  • Lashes and Brows
  • Manicuring
  • Scalp Treatments
  • Hair Coloring and Bleaches
  • Professional Ethics and Good Grooming
  • Salesmanship
  • Reception Desk and Telephone
  • Dispensary

Through these programs, you will be knowledgeable concerning the theory, practical, and business aspects of cosmetology.



Step 2. Pass North Dakota’s Cosmetology Licensing Exams

There are three exams you will have to pass in order to apply for a North Dakota cosmetology license:

  • The National Cosmetology Theory Exam
  • The North Dakota Cosmetology Laws, Rules, and Regulations Exam
  • The State Cosmetology Practical Exam

Information on all of these exams may be found by downloading Exam Info from the North Dakota Board State Board of Cosmetology Website.

You must pass all exams with a 75% or higher in order to apply for a license.

The first two examinations may be taken online, and you will schedule with PSI Exam services. In order to do so, you must complete the following steps:

  • Download and print the PSI candidate information bulletin (CIB)
  • Follow instructions in CIB
  • Pay $70 exam fee for the cosmetology exam
  • Pay $60 exam fee for the laws, rules, and regulations exam
  • Schedule your exam

The PSI exam locations in North Dakota include:

  • Bismarck – Rasmussen College
  • Fargo –Fargo Jet Center
  • Grand Forks – Kvasager Learning Center
  • Minot State University – Center for Extended Learning
  • Williston – State College

State Cosmetology Practical Exam

You will receive an application for this exam directly from your cosmetology school. If you do not, then contact the Board or download the application online. This exam was developed and is administered by the Board, and it will last approximately three (3) hours.

It contains five (5) sections, in which you will be assessed according to your ability to perform practical, cosmetology services. Included in this exam will be the use of two (2) mannequin heads, a first aid kit, a blood spill kit, and a cosmetology supplies kit. The exam will be administered according to these five (5) sections:

  • Haircut (40 minutes)
  • Hairstyling (40 minutes)
  • Chemical Waving (15 minutes)
  • Hair coloring (45 minutes)
  • Retouch Chemical Relaxer (15 minutes)



Step 3. Submit an Application to the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology

If you have never been licensed before, the Board will issue your license upon your completion and passing of the required exams. However, if you have held a license in another sate, you will need to apply for your license through reciprocity. You are eligible to apply through reciprocity if you:

  • Hold a current out-of-state license
  • Have completed high school (or equivalent)
  • Have completed 1800 hours of cosmetology school
  • Have passed the state practical test, the NIC theory test, and the state laws, rules, and regulations test
  • Pay the appropriate fees

If you are eligible, download and fill out the reciprocity application. In order to submit any paper license application materials or to contact the board, use the following contact information:

ND State Board of Cosmetology
P.O. Box 2177
1102 S. Washington Street
Suite 200
Bismarck, ND 58502-2177
(Call 701-224-9800 for questions)



Step 4. Find Work and Keep your License Current

With a degree and a license in cosmetology, you have the potential to be a hairstylist, makeup artist, educator, and even a salon manager or owner!

If you apply to be a hairstylist, be aware that some salons will have you rent a chair for a monthly rental fee. You may consider looking for employment at some of North Dakota’s top salons, including, but definitely not limited to, the following:

  • Glance Spa – Bismarck
  • Evolution Salon – Minot
  • Top Designers Salon – Jamestown
  • Solitude Salon and Day Spa – Minot
  • Creative Salon and Spa – Minot

The license renewal period ends on December 31st, and you must renew before then to avoid penalty. You will be notified of your appropriate renewal period and given instructions on how to renew. You may renew online or through mailing in the license renewal form.

You will only have to complete continuing education for your renewal if you are an instructor; however, completing continuing education and renewing your license will keep you on the cutting edge of fashion knowledge, able to please your clients and impress your employers!

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