How to Become a Cosmetologist in South Dakota

How to Become a Cosmetologist in South Dakota

A beauty salon is a place where people working there, either hairstylist, nail stylists or cosmetologists, help you transform your physical appearance to your liking and make you look catchy and more attractive by fulfilling your wishes or advising you on what style would suit you best.

Once coming out of the salon, you want to feel like a new, self-confident person, satisfied with his/her look.

Cosmetologists need to be able to manage all kinds of customers, from the shy ones that would rather remain quiet during the treatment, to the most talkative ones that you might get the headache from.

Yet, a good cosmetologist needs to know what to do with their wishes, and that is when training, education and years of experience come into play.

Popular Programs

Job Description

Cosmetologists are licensed professionals, working with hair, nails and skin and their usual duties are related to hair like shampooing, conditioning, and styling.

They also work with nails and should know what kind of treatment is good and bad for you and find the products that suit you.

They are more frequently visited by women, but nowadays more and more men are starting visiting salons.

A cosmetologist job includes:

  • Dying of hair
  • Straightening or waving
  • Shaping eyebrows and remove facial hair
  • Administering chemicals
  • Advising clients if he/she thinks that the desired style will not look good.

So that the style looks good based on the client’s face shape, nail shape or facial characteristics, a cosmetologist might offer his/her style suggestions.

Cosmetology Programs in South Dakota

The South Dakota Cosmetology Commission requires that to achieve the license, you are supposed to graduate from a cosmetology school.

It is not enough to elect any school, as not all are accredited.

Pay attention that the school offers a curriculum of 2,100 hours of education and that it is one of the six approved cosmetology schools in South Dakota located in:

  • Rapid City
  • Sioux Falls
  • Sturgis
  • Watertown

Top cosmetology schools where you can start your cosmetology education are:

  • Black Hills Beauty College – Rapid City & Sioux Falls
  • Desareé & Company School of Beauty – Sturgis
  • Headlines Academy – Rapid City
  • Lake Area Technical Institute – Watertown.

The education might last one to two years, and its curriculum focuses based on cosmetology:

  • Salon management
  • Haircutting and coloring
  • Hairstylist training
  • Permanent waving
  • Esthetics
  • Manicuring
  • Scientific concepts
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Makeup training
  • Electricity, hazardous materials, and safety
  • Use of an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Laws about cosmetologists
  • Sanitation
  • Styling

There is also education for Expanded Duties for the usage of electric drills or files and the performance of microdermabrasion.

The additional education includes 16 hours for Microdermabrasion where you will learn how to work with the hands-on machines, various skin types and sanitation, and safety procedures.

The certification for the usage of Electric drills or files requires 8 hours of instruction related to sanitation and safety, and sanding and drilling methodology.

Another way of reaching the cosmetology license is via an apprenticeship.

Your practice should be 40 hours per week for 18 months, and 3,000 hours.

First of all, you will need to complete an Apprentice Checklist and submit it to the Executive Director of the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

Cosmetology Exams in South Dakota

The South Dakota Cosmetology Commission requires that each graduate need to pass three types of tests:

  • Cosmetologist Theory Examination
  • Cosmetologist Practical Examination
  • South Dakota Laws and Rules Test

Cosmetologist Theory Examination is administered by the National-Interstate Council (NIC) of State Boards of Cosmetology Theory Examination.

The test is comprised of questions related to:

  • Hair services and hair care – 40 percent
  • Scientific concepts – 30 percent
  • Nail services and care – 15 percent
  • Skin services and care – 15 percent

The NIC’s Practical Examination is accepted by the South Dakota Commission.

The dates and locations when and where you can take the exams can be found on the state Cosmetology Commission’s exam calendar.

When it comes to the practical examination, you will have three hours and you will need to perform activities like:

  • Client protection and set-up
  • Chemical waving
  • Thermal curling
  • Haircutting
  • Hair lightening and relaxing
  • Basic facial

The third exam is about South Dakota Laws and Rules.

It is a written exam and, to pass it, you should be acquainted with:

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


The graduation from a cosmetology program makes you eligible to fill out an application to take the required cosmetology exams which will at the same time allow you to get the temporary permit giving you the chance to work until the time you pass the exam.

A temporary license is allowed only to those people who find a salon in South Dakota that is willing to hire them.

In case you fail an exam or do not show up at the scheduled time, your temporary license will become immediately invalidated.

For licensure as a cosmetologist in South Dakota, people who possess a license from other states need to reach the amount of education and testing that is equivalent or greater to that required by South Dakota.

They will also need to have passed exams that are equivalent to those required by South Dakota.

The necessary documentation for licensure application for an out-of-state candidate is:

Keeping Your License Current 

Even though you have all the working knowledge and proven experience as a cosmetologist, you are obliged to renew your license every year by your birthday.

The license renewal form is part of your current license.

You are supposed to pay a renewal fee and send in the renewal form to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

No further education is necessary, even though you can enroll in courses you are interested in to gain more knowledge and stay in touch with the latest trends.

Average Annual Cosmetologist Salary and Job Prospects in South Dakota

The license allows you to work at any of the salons or beauty centers in South Dakota and there are many places where you can apply for employment:

  • Village Hair and Spa in Sioux Falls
  • Sam’s Headquarters in Rapid City
  • Chameleon Hair Design in Sioux Falls.

This profession can earn you a decent salary and your work will determine whether you will become prominent and visited by the rich and famous people.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Aberdeen,SD $21,268
Brookings,SD $22,479
Deadwood,SD $22,257
Pierre,SD $21,659
Rapid City,SD $22,648
Sioux Falls,SD $22,870
Watertown,SD $22,479

Regional Salary in South Dakota

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD160$35,550$17.09$46,830$21,330
Sioux Falls, SD390$39,830$19.15$57,890$31,160
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, OCC Code 39-5012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

USA Cosmetology by State

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