Nail Technician School and License Requirements in Vermont

Nail technicians are in demand throughout Vermont, from resorts around Lake Champlain to the trendiest nail salons in Burlington. As a manicurist you will beautify and massage the hands and feet of your clients to help them look and feel their best. Choosing to pursue a career as a manicurist in Vermont is attractive because it not only provides an outlet for your artistic expression, but it will also allow you to work independently as you earn a respectable salary doing what you love.

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The Vermont Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists sets the licensing requirements you will need to meet to earn your manicurist license. Review these steps to learn how:

Complete Nail Technician Education and Training Requirements
Pass Vermont’s Nail Technician Examinations
Obtain Your Nail Technician License from the Office of Professional Regulation
Begin Your Career as a Professional Nail Technician in Vermont



Step 1. Complete Nail Technician Education and Training Requirements

Education is paramount to earning a nail technician license. It is essential that you complete a series of nail technician courses that total at least 400 clock hours. Vermont’s approved nail technician schools are located in the cities of:

  • South Burlington
  • Barre
  • Williston
  • Essex Junction

As part of your education requirements, you will complete a curriculum that includes the following manicurist courses:

  • Manicuring and pedicuring
  • Nail drill
  • Nails – acrylic, gels, tips, wrap applications, and repairs
  • Liquid and powder brush-ons for acrylic nails
  • Sanitation and sterilization techniques; waste storage areas
  • Personal health and hygiene
  • Safe chemical use, storage, and disposal
  • Vermont laws, rules, and regulations
  • Professional ethics

In Vermont you can only be issued a manicurist license if you are at least 18 years of age and have completed high school or a GED program.

Option for a Nail Technician Apprenticeship

You are also permitted to substitute a manicurist apprenticeship in the place of a formal nail technician program. To do this you will need to first locate an instructor who has worked as a licensed manicurist for at least five years. Your apprenticeship must be between 600 and 900 hours, as well as eight to 12 months, in length. Before you start, your apprenticeship needs to be approved by the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. You can obtain this approval by completing an Apprentice Application.



Step 2. Pass Vermont’s Nail Technician Examinations

Once you have graduated from a training program or completed an approved apprenticeship you will be eligible to complete Vermont’s testing requirements. The state’s Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists contracts testing services through Professional Credential Services (PCS). You will need to apply for your testing through the PCS website.

Once PCS has approved your application it will send you an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter that will provide all the information you need to register for the three required exams:

  • Nail technician theory examination
  • Vermont State Law examination
  • Nail technician practical examination

Once you have passed your exams you will receive your official scores within 10 business days. PCS will also notify the Vermont Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists when you have successfully completed your examinations.

You can start preparing for your examinations now by reviewing PCS’s Nail Technology Candidate Handbook.

Nail Technician Theory Examination

This exam will make sure you have a strong foundation in the theoretical knowledge it takes to be an effective manicurist. You will have 90 minutes to complete this exam, which will include questions from the following subjects:

  • Nail service preparation
  • Basic hand and foot massage
  • Client consultation and recommendations
  • Nail service tools and equipment
  • Manicure and pedicure services
  • Nail enhancement services
  • Nail service anatomy and physiology
  • Sanitation, disinfection, bacteriology, and safety procedures
  • Basic chemistry and product functions

Vermont State Law Examination

This examination is administered by the company Iso-Quality Testing, and PCS will provide you with exam registration details once it has approved your initial application to test. To prepare for the State Law Exam you can review the Vermont Statutes and Rules that pertain to working in the field of cosmetology in general, as well as those that apply specifically to manicurists. You can take this exam at a testing center in Burlington.

Nail Technician Practical Examination

You must bring your own materials, including a mannequin hand, to the practical exam. You will have 100 minutes in total to complete this, and you will need to demonstrate the following procedures:

  • Set up and client protection
  • Manicure
  • Nail tip application
  • Nail wrap procedure
  • Sculptured nail application
  • Nail polish application

This exam is offered once a month at a testing center in Montpelier.



Step 3. Obtain Your Nail Technician License from the Office of Professional Regulation

Once the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation has been notified by PCS that you have passed your examinations it will issue you a nail technician license. At this point you may begin applying as a qualified professional for manicurist jobs throughout Vermont.

Remember that you will need to renew your license biannually by November 30th of odd-numbered years. The Office of Professional Regulation will mail you a Renewal Application well before the expiration date.

Out-of-State Manicurist Licensing Requirements

If you are already a licensed manicurist in another state you may be eligible for a Vermont credential if you have completed equivalent nail technician license requirements. This means you need to:

  • Have already passed a nail technician theory and practical examination
  • Have completed a manicurist education program that was comprised of at least 400 hours
  • Have a high school diploma or GED

If your education program was less than 400 hours you can make up for this with work experience in one of the following ways:

  • Have worked at least 2,000 hours as a manicurist in the preceding year
  • Have worked at least three years as a manicurist

Once you are eligible you can fill out an Application for Licensure by Endorsement and submit this directly to the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation in Montpelier. You will also need to request that your state’s nail technician licensing agency submit a Verification of Licensure Standing form directly to the Office of Professional Regulation. Once you are approved you will need to register with PCS to complete the Vermont State Law Examination.



Step 4. Begin Your Career as a Professional Nail Technician in Vermont

As you begin the job search you will find that the job description may vary somewhat based on the type of salon you work in. It is a good idea to be flexible and well-versed in the entire range of nail services you may be asked to provide. You can find nail technician jobs at nail salons focused exclusively on manicure and pedicure services, and you may also find openings at day spas and resorts that cater to a clientele looking for a range of cosmetology services. Some of the top employers of nail technicians in Vermont include:

After you have gained experience and made a name for yourself you will find more professional options will become available. One thing you may consider is a booth rental license. This will allow you to rent your own nail space in a salon or day spa where you can serve your own clients and operate independently. As a booth renter, you will also need to adhere to the general requirements for all salons. Eventually you may even decide to open up your own nail salon or day spa, at which point you will need to complete an Application for a Shop License.

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