South Dakota Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for cosmetologist in South Dakota is controlled by the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in South 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?

Cosmetologist

General requirements for cosmetologist license required?

At least 18 years old; High school diploma or GED

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

South Dakota Cosmetology Commission

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?

Renew on or before the licensee’s birth date every year

What are fees associated with licensing?

$20

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. With this being said, the process of being a fully licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician varies between each state.

The following pages look at the detailed information on individual state licensing to help give you the best advice as you move forward in your career path.

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

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

Education

There are basic educational requirements needed before one can become a licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician in the state of South 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 2100 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. 

To become an esthetician in South Dakota, students are required to undertake a minimum of 600 hours of coursework at a registered school of estheticians.  

South Dakota currently offers a cosmetology apprenticeship as a career pathway. Cosmetology apprentices are required to complete 3000 hours of training. 

Application for licensure

Upon the successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course or an apprenticeship, students within the state of South Dakota are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to South Dakota Cosmetology Commission for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license. All transcripts and documentation must be supplied along with an application fee.

Licensing Exam

The state of South Dakota requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. South Dakota uses the National-Interstate Council (NIC) of State Boards of Cosmetology Theory Examination as their examinations. The South Dakota exam consists of three parts: a theoretical exam, a state licencing exam and a practical exam. 

The cosmetology theory exam lasts for 90 minutes and covers the following topics such as:

  • Scientific concepts
  •  Hair care and services
  • Skin care and services
  • Nail care and services

The esthetician theory exam lasts for 90 minutes will cover topics such as:

  • Microbiology
  • Infection Control
  • Safety Procedures
  • Cells and tissues
  • Systems and Functions
  • Skin care
  • Cleansing, steaming and exfoliation
  • Massage

The cosmetology practical exam lasts for 3 hours and requires professionals to bring their own equipment. The practical exam will typically look at a range of areas of the profession including (but not limited to):

  • Maintaining a safe work environment
  • Hair set up
  • Hair removal
  • Hair cutting
  • Hair coloring  

The esthetician practical exam lasts for 2.5 hours and requires professionals to bring their own equipment. 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

South Dakota also requires all professionals to undertake a state licensing exam. This will cover topics such as:

  • South Dakota Codified Law, Chapter 36-15
  • South Dakota Administrative Rules, Rule 20:42

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 yearly in the month of your birthday. This process is simple and can be done online through the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission. There will be a fee involved in this renewal.

In the state of South Dakota, there are no continuing Educational 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.

Location(s):

South Dakota