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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in South Dakota

South Dakota is known for its unique tourist destinations such as Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. However, this state can also be known to you as the place where you started an enjoyable and rewarding career as a licensed esthetician.

There are several exciting venues that require the work of a licensed esthetician in South Dakota such as:

  • Spas
  • Salons
  • Resorts and hotels
  • Medical spas and dermatology offices
  • Department stores

If you are considering a career as a licensed esthetician in the state of South Dakota, you’ll want to keep reading this article, as it contains important information that you need to know.

Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in South Dakota

Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program

The South Dakota Cosmetology Commission requires that all esthetician licensing exam applicants:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma or a GED.

You must also successfully complete 600 hours in a state-approved esthetician program. A minimum of 110 hours must be done through coursework, practice, and hands-on demonstrations, per the Commission.

Your esthetician education must also include the following:

  • 90 hours of infection control, safety guidelines and procedures, and South Dakota laws and rules
  • 90 hours of scientific concepts, skin histology, dermatology, aromatherapy, nutrition, chemistry, and physiology
  • 240 hours of skin treatments, client consultations, analysis, chemical face treatments, and electrical and mechanical facial and body treatments
  • 30 hours of massage manipulation
  • 30 hours of makeup and eyelash extensions
  • 30 hours of hair removal and eyebrow shaping
  • 60 hours of business practices, salon management, and ethics

It’s a good idea to make sure that the esthetician school you plan on attending has been licensed and approved by the state of South Dakota.

Let Esthetician Schooling Connect You With a High Quality Esthetician School in Your Area!

Are you ready to take the next step and begin your career as a well-paid esthetician? Esthetician Schooling has partnered with some of the best esthetician schools in the nation.  Our huge network of nationally recognized esthetician schools will make it easy for you to find the right school and get started training immediately!

The beauty schools in our network contain one or more of the following high quality standards:

  • State Board Recognition
  • NACCAS Accreditation
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Job Placement Assistance for Those Who Qualify

To get started, simply fill out the quick 1-minute application below.


Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination

Once you have completed the esthetics program and have met the prerequisites above, you can apply to take your licensing exams. You will submit one application for both your exams and your initial licensing.

To apply for your exams and your initial esthetician license, you will need to:

  • Complete, sign, and print the Application for Examination in South Dakota
  • Submit your high school transcripts
  • Submit your esthetician school transcripts
  • Submit a copy of your birth certificate
  • Submit payment for the $80 examination fee
  • If you also wish to apply for the temporary license, submit payment for the $6 fee

You can pay the $80 exam fee (and $6 temporary license fee) using a check or money order made payable to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

Mail your completed and signed application, required documents, and fee payment to:

South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
500 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Once your application has been received and approved, the Commission will contact you about scheduling your exams.


Step 3: Take and Pass the State Licensure Exams

Both the written and practical exams are the National Interstate Council (NIC) exams. All exams are proctored by the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission. You will also be required to take and pass the South Dakota Laws and Rules exam.


Preparing for the Written and Practical Exams

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) recommends the following reference materials to help you prepare for and pass the written (theory) and practical esthetics exams, which can be purchased at discounted prices on Amazon:

We also recommend that you purchase and study the following books in preparation for your exams:


What to Bring to the Exam

Arrive 20 minutes early to the exam location to allow time for registration. If you arrive late, you will be required to reschedule and you may even forfeit your examination fee.

Make sure you bring the following items to your exams:


The Esthetics Written Exam

The written exam will feature 100 questions. You are allowed 90 minutes to complete this multiple-choice exam. Scientific concept questions will account for 55 percent of the exam content.

This section of the written exam will include questions on topics such as:

  • Microbiology
  • Infection control
  • Anatomy
  • Skin diseases
  • Hair growth
  • Chemistry

Skin care and services questions will account for 45 percent of the exam.

This section of the written exam will include questions on topics such as:

  • Skin analysis
  • Cleansing and steaming procedures
  • Extraction and exfoliation procedures
  • The movements and effects of massage
  • Methods of hair removal
  • Eyelash extensions
  • Use of electrical equipment in the cosmetic industry

You must score at least 75 out of 100 in order to pass the practical exam. Practice question can be found in the NIC Theory Exam Candidate Information Bulletin.


The Esthetics Practical Exam

The practical exam will test your hands-on knowledge and procedural skills. You will have about 2.5 to 3 hours to complete the exam.

The practical exam covers the 9 different core domain sections listed below:

  1. Work Area and Client Preparation, and Set Up of Universal Supplies (First client, 15 minutes)
  2. Cleansing of the Face with Product (10 minutes)
  3. Exfoliating the Face with Product, Using Implement or Materials, Including Towel Steaming (10 minutes)
  4. Massaging the Face with Product (10 minutes)
  5. Work Area and New Client Preparation, and Set Up of Supplies (Second client, 15 minutes)
  6. Hair Removal of the Eyebrows by Tweezing and Using Simulated Soft Wax (Not timed)
  7. Facial Mask and Conclusion of Facial Service (10 minutes)
  8. Facial Makeup (20 minutes)
  9. Blood Exposure Procedure (Not timed)

You must score at least 75 out of 100 in order to pass the practical exam.


The South Dakota State Laws and Rules Exam

You will have 30 minutes to complete this 25 question multiple-choice exam. You will need to study the South Dakota State Laws and Regulations in order to prepare for the exam.

Once you have passed all three exams, you will be notified by the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission and will be issued a South Dakota esthetician license.


Step 4: Renew Your SD Esthetician License Every Year

Your South Dakota esthetician license will need to be renewed each and every year in order to keep practicing. Your current license will have the expiration date listed on it.

Before the license expires, detach the renewal portion on the bottom of your license, complete the form, and mail it to the following address:

South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
500 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

You will also need to pay the $20 renewal fee. Make your check or money order payable to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

You may also renew your esthetician license online using the South Dakota License Renewal System.

No continuing education credits are required for estheticians practicing in the state of South Dakota. However, if you perform microdermabrasions using a microdermabrasion machine, there will be a one-time educational requirement. You may be required to pay a $35 verification fee. Click this link for more details.


Esthetician License Reciprocity in South Dakota

If you currently hold an esthetician license in another state, you may qualify for a South Dakota license via reciprocity. You will need to complete the Reciprocity Application and follow the attached checklist very carefully.

Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must have completed the 10th-grade or higher
  • You must have passed both the practical and theory NIC esthetics exams
  • You must have at least 600 hours of esthetics training and education (submit the affidavit)
  • Work experience can be counted on a two hours of work to one hour of training ratio up to 350 hours (submit the affidavit)
  • You must pay the $100 reciprocity fee

Mail your completed and signed application, both affidavits, any other required documents, and fee payment to:

South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
500 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Once the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission approves and processes your application, they will mail you your South Dakota esthetician license.

If you would like a temporary South Dakota license, you will need to submit the Temporary License Application and pay the $6 fee.


South Dakota State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information

South Dakota Cosmetology Commission
221 W. Capitol Avenue
Suite 101
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 773-6193
Fax: (605) 773-7175


South Dakota State Licensure Exam Locations

Below is a map showing the locations of the written, practical, and state law exams administered by the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission. Before you arrive at a test center, please be sure to call the SD Cosmetology Commission at 605-773-6193 to confirm the test center’s current address and inquire about their hours of operation.


Map of State Licensure Exam Locations in South Dakota

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