North Dakota Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for a cosmetologist in North Dakota is controlled by the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in North Dakota

Specific requirements to perform cosmetologist services can generally be used as a guideline, but make sure to check with your local governing rules and regulations.

Who’s allowed to perform these services?


General requirements for cosmetologist license required?

High school diploma.

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology

What are some training programs available for cosmetologist?

See training programs

How long is a license good for and when do I need to renew?

Renews every year by December 31.

What are fees associated with licensing?


Cosmetologist / Esthetician Licensing

A cosmetologist is a beauty professional who specializes in the beautification and health of their client’s hair, skin and nails. An esthetician is a beauty professional that specializes in the beautification and health of their client’s skin, particularly through hair removal, skin and facial treatments and the application of makeup. With additional training, a cosmetologist can become an esthetician and vice versa. While there are fundamental differences between cosmetologists and estheticians as we have just explained, the process of becoming licensed within each career is almost the same.

There are four main steps that need to be completed to become a qualified cosmetologist / esthetician in the state of North Dakota. These include:

  1. The successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course
  2. Successfully undergo state testing and pass the minimum requirements of each test
  3. Submission of an application of intent with the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology
  4. Maintain your knowledge base through regular education to keep your cosmetologist / esthetician license current.


There are basic educational requirements needed before one can become a licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician in North Dakota. The minimum education requirement for this profession is a certificate or diploma in cosmetology / esthetician undertaken at a registered beauty school. To successfully complete this course, students are required to undertake a minimum of 1800 hours of training before they can be signed off. For further training, some beauticians may choose to gain an associate degree to boost their qualifications. For those looking to begin their own start up business, an associate degree is quite a desirable skill to possess. 

Esthetician students are required to undertake 600 hours of coursework at a registered school of estheticians.  

North Dakota does not currently offer cosmetology and esthetician apprenticeships as a pathway into the vocation.

Licensing Exam

The state of North Dakota requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. North Dakota uses PSI exam services for their licensing exam which consists of three parts: a theoretical exam, a state law exam, and a practical exam. 

Both the theoretical examination and the state law examination can be undertaken online for both cosmetologists and estheticians. There is a $70 fee for the theoretical exam, and a $60 for the state law exam.

The practical cosmetology examination will last for approximately three hours, and will cover the following topics:

  • Haircut 
  • Hairstyling 
  • Chemical Waving 
  • Hair coloring 
  • Retouch Chemical Relaxer

The practical esthetician examination costs $50 and requires professionals to bring their own equipment to the exam. The practical exam will typically look at a range of areas of the profession including (but not limited to):

  • Hygienic set up
  • Facial cleansing
  • Hair removal
  • Makeup application
  • Facial mask

Application for licensure

Upon the successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course or an apprenticeship, students within North Dakota are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license and can only be done if all examinations have been successfully completed and all course hours are complete. 

Continuing Education

Following the successful completion of your state license to become either a cosmetology or an esthetician, it is important to remember that you must renew this license on December 31 each year. This process is simple and can be done online through the North Dakota State Board of Cosmetology. 

In North Dakota, there are no continuing education requirements for cosmetology or esthetician licenses, however, many professionals continue to grow their expertise. This allows them to stay up to date with the latest techniques and trends in the field of beauty.


North Dakota