Nail Technician School and License Requirements in North Dakota

What could be more fun, enjoyable, and relaxing than spending each and every day working with the latest fashion, beauty, and wellness trends? As a manicurist and pedicurist in North Dakota, you will get to immerse yourself in the world of health and beauty, while helping others look and feel their best.

Enter Zip:

Your career as a manicurist in North Dakota starts with earning a license through the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology. Follow these steps to learn how:

Complete Formal Education and Training
Pass the Required Exams
Submit an Application to the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology
Get to Work and Keep your License Current



Step 1. Complete Formal Education and Training

Nail technician school will bring you up to speed on anything and everything you could possibly want to know about the nail business—whether that’s the best paraffin manicures or the best ways to market yourself in the fast-paced beauty industry.

The North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology requires that your manicurist program include at least three hundred and fifty (350) hours of formal training and coursework.

Coursework and training will include the following:

  • French Color Tips
  • Professional Nail Tips
  • Airbrush Tips
  • Pedicure Spas
  • European Touches

These courses will help to give you a leg up in the beauty industry, while additional courses related to nail salon business management will give you new ways to market your services.



Step 2. Pass the Required Exams

For North Dakota, you will need to pass the Written NIC Nail Technician Exam, the North Dakota Manicure Laws, Rules, and Regulations Exam, and the State Practical Exam.

You will register with PSI Services for the Written and the Regulations exam. After passing the first two exams, you will apply to with the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology to take the practical exam. Upon passing your practical exam, you will be issued your license.

Written NIC Exam

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, or NIC, Nail Technician Theory exam is a ninety (90) minute written exam that you can schedule directly with NIC or through PSI Services – North Dakota Cosmetology.

The Candidate Information Bulletin states that the exam will cover manicurist service subjects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Bacteriology
  • Viruses
  • Fungi
  • Methods of Sanitation, Disinfection, and Sterilization
  • Nail Services
  • OSHA Health and Safety Requirements
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • The Function and Structure of Skin
  • The Function and Structure of Nails
  • Products (including alum, antiseptic, brush cleaners, cuticle cream, exfoliates, gel, moisturizers, monomers, nail polish, etc.)
  • Client Consultation
  • Nail Assessment
  • Service recommendation and documentation
  • Nail Equipment
  • Nail Implements
  • Nail Supplies
  • Pushing back cuticles
  • Removing excess cuticle
  • Applying oil and cream to cuticles
  • Buffing nails
  • Hot oil/lotion services
  • Paraffin Service

North Dakota Manicure Law

This exam is based on the North Dakota Laws and Regulations. You will schedule your exam directly with PSI Services – North Dakota Cosmetology. The Laws, Rules, and Regulations exam is sixty (60) minutes, and requires a $60.00 exam fee.

Once you complete this exam, you will be eligible for your license!

PSI Testing centers may be found in the following cities:

  • Bismarck
  • Fargo
  • Grand Forks
  • Minot
  • Williston

State Practical Exam

When you apply for the practical exam, you are applying for both the exam and your license. All you need to do to apply for this exam and your license is complete the following:

Once you are approved, you will be sent an admission card. This card will confirm the date, location, and time of your practical exam. If you cannot attend on that scheduled date, you will need to contact the Board ninety six (96) hours before the exam date to reschedule.

Manicurist Exam Information is provided by the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology, and outlines special instructions, what to bring with you to the exam, supplies, and sample illustrations.

The practical exam will assess your ability to perform the following manicurist services:

  • Basic Manicure (20 minutes)
  • Sculptured Nail (20 minutes)
  • Nail Tip Application (20 minutes)
  • Nail Wrap (20 minutes)
  • Polish (10 minutes)



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

If you are applying for your license based on your education and examinations, then you have already completed your application!

Your application to take the practical exam, along with your $50 licensing fee, already served as your license application. Once the Board receives your passing practical exam scores, you will be issued a license. However, if you want to apply for a license based on reciprocity, you will need to follow the reciprocity guide below.


Applying by reciprocity means that you have already held a previous nail technician license in a different state. If you are taking this less traditional route of applying for your license, you can apply for your reciprocity by completing the following steps:

  • Submit Reciprocity Application
  • Submit copy of birth certificate
  • Submit proof of high school education
  • Submit photo ID
  • Submit proof of your previous license
  • Submit work experience affidavit
  • Submit $105.00 reciprocity fee and original license fee

You can submit all application materials to the Board at the following address:

ND State Board of Cosmetology
1102 S. Washington, Suite 200
PO Box 2177
Bismarck, ND 58502‐2177



Step 4. Get to Work and Keep your License Current

If you are looking for employment at a full-service salon, check out some of these options:

  • Hair Success Salon and Spa – Fargo
  • Glance Salon and Spa – Bismarck
  • Jo Jo’s Hair Boutique – Grand Forks
  • The Hair Hut Salon and Spa – Williston
  • Mirror Mirror Skin and Hair Care – Minot

As a self-employed manicurist and pedicurist in North Dakota, you will be able to create a flexible part-time or full-time schedule for yourself.

Once you have been working as a manicurist for a minimum of 1,000 hours, you can apply for a Master Manicurist License. To do this, download the Master License Application, have your employer fill it out and notarize it, and submit the application to the Board.

As a manicurist in North Dakota, you need to be aware that your license will expire on December 31st of each year. You may either renew online or print out the paper renewal form.

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