Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Oklahoma

The fine art of manicures and pedicures is an inseparable part of the spa experience; with many nail salons solely dedicated to providing this service. Clients want their nails to look their best, whether it’s for everyday appeal, weddings, special occasions, prom, or a night out. As a nail technician in Oklahoma you will have the opportunity to use your creative skills and attention to detail in a stable career field that leaves your clients happy.

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You will find that the job description of a nail technician – also known as manicurist – includes giving manicures, pedicures, and applying artificial nails. These are all skills you will master by the time you become a licensed manicurist through the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, the state agency responsible for issuing the nail technician license.

Once you have completed the following steps you will be legally sanctioned by the State of Oklahoma to paint nails to your heart’s content:

Complete a Nail Technician Program
Pass Oklahoma’s Nail Technician Examination
Apply for Your Oklahoma Nail Technician License
Begin Your New Career as a Nail Technician



Step 1. Complete a Nail Technician Program

Most nail technicians will become eligible for licensure by graduating from a manicurist school in Oklahoma. Your nail technician courses in Oklahoma must total at least 600 hours, and must be completed at a nail technician school that is approved by the Oklahoma Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.

By law your manicurist courses in Oklahoma will include the following:

  • Nail structure, composition disorders and diseases
  • Manicuring and pedicuring
  • Nail art
  • Bacteriology, sanitation and sterilization
  • Artificial nails
  • Cosmetology law, rules and regulations
  • Salon development including professionals ethics, public health, hygiene, record keeping, business administration, insurance, salesmanship, displays and advertising

There are close to 100 public and private cosmetology schools located across Oklahoma that offer courses for prospective nail technicians. You will find multiple schools in the following cities:

  • Oklahoma City
  • Tulsa
  • Lawton
  • Norman
  • Stillwater
  • Enid
  • Midwest City
  • Broken Arrow

Nail technicians in Oklahoma must be at least 16 years of age and must have completed at least the eighth grade.

Option to Complete an Apprenticeship

Under certain circumstances you may be able to substitute an apprenticeship in place of nail technician school requirements. In this case you will need to find a licensed manicurist to apprentice with, in a course of study and practice that must include at least 1,200 hours. To be eligible for a license via an apprenticeship you will need to submit evidence to the Board of Cosmetology and Barbering that you cannot financially afford to complete the traditional manicurist school requirements.



Step 2. Pass Oklahoma’s Nail Technician Examination

The next nail technician license requirement you need to surmount is testing. The school where you complete your manicurist training will assist you with the preparation for your exam, which will be comprised of a written theory portion as well as a practical demonstration of skills. You can register for your exams as you near graduation from your nail technician school. The written theory portion lasts 90 minutes is can be divided into two main parts:

  • Nail technology procedures – 60 percent
    • Client preparation and documentation
    • Nail service tools
    • Manicure and pedicure services
    • Application, maintenance, and removal of nail enhancements
    • Performance of cleanup and disinfection procedures


  • Scientific Concepts – 40 percent
    • Safety Procedures and infection control
    • Basic and nail anatomy and physiology
    • Chemistry of nail products

The written segment of your exam is offered throughout the year in the cities of:

  • Oklahoma City
  • McAlester
  • Ponca City
  • Tulsa
  • Woodward

For the practical portion of your exam you will need to successfully demonstrate the theoretical knowledge of your written exam in actual practice in front of an evaluator. Your school will provide you with detailed information regarding materials you will need for the practical portion of the exam and testing locations. In addition to basic nail painting, you should also be adept at:

  • Nail tip application and bending
  • Sculptured nails
  • Disinfection and what to do in case of blood exposure



Step 3. Apply for Your Oklahoma Nail Technician License

Once you have passed the theory and practical portions of your exam you will have met all the manicurist licensing requirements in Oklahoma. Now you will simply need to complete an Initial License Application for a manicurist license and submit this to the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.

Out-of-State Applicants

If you are already a licensed manicurist in another state – or you have completed your education and testing in another state or country – you can be eligible for licensure in Oklahoma if the education program and testing you completed were similar to those required by Oklahoma. In this case you can submit one of the following forms depending on your circumstances:

If you complete your education out-of-state but have not yet passed a manicurist theory and practical exam you will need to submit a Reciprocity Exam Registration.



Step 4. Begin Your New Career as a Nail Technician

Starting out as a nail technician you will need to make a name for yourself, develop a list of loyal clients, and hone your skills. This can be done at your local nail salon, or if you have already demonstrated yourself to be a skilled stylist with good references, you may even land a job at one of the higher-end salons in town. Fortunately in the nails business your career is what you make of it. Even though you will enjoy a large degree of flexibility in this profession, success in your new field will depend on your hard work and dedication. You will have to put in the hours behind the brush if you want to work at a place like these:

Your nail technician license is valid for one year and needs to be renewed annually by the last day of your birth month. You can do this by completing the renewal form at the bottom of your current license or through State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering’s online renewal page.

You can find manicurist jobs in Oklahoma virtually anywhere someone wants their nails to look good. Of the 170 licensed professionals across the state, you will find 120 of your colleagues concentrated in the Tulsa-Oklahoma City area alone. Most other nail technician jobs in Oklahoma are located near the state’s eastern border with Fort Smith. However wherever you are, no city in Oklahoma is too big or small for more nail technicians.

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