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Archives - State Agencies - State Board of Cosmetology

[Authorized:  NDCC Section 43-11]

An act to regulate hairdressers and cosmetologists was passed by the legislature in 1927 along with the creation of the State Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetology. The purpose of the act was to provide for better education through training schools, to license hairdressers and cosmetologists, to provide rules for proper conduct and sanitation, and to provide penalties for violations (S. L. 1927, Ch. 157). 

The Governor appointed three women to the Board who were hairdressers or cosmetologists. Each member had to be licensed, and have at least three years practical experience in that occupation, and be a citizen of the state. No two members could be a graduate of, or have any affiliation with, the same school of cosmetology. Board members served three year staggered terms with vacancies filled by gubernatorial appointment. The Board elected a president and secretary from its membership. They met twice a year on the second Tuesday of January and July.

The Board required cosmetology salons to be licensed and to register and renew the license annually. Salons were inspected by the Board before a license could be granted (S. L. 1959, Ch. 321).

Legislation in 1979 directed the Board to adopt necessary rules consistent with the provisions of the North Dakota Century Code. This included standards related to education, examination, and regulation. It also included licensing, safety, and disciplinary rules (S. L. 1979, Ch. 464).        

In 1985 the Board was renamed the State Board of Cosmetology. The requirement that Board members had to be female was eliminated. The members still needed three years of practical experience and members served three year staggered terms. Each Board member was qualified by taking the oath of office required by civil officers. The Governor could remove from office a member for misconduct, malfeasance, neglect of duty in office, a criminal offence, gross incompetence, or habitual drunkenness  (S. L. 1985, Ch. 477) [NDCC 43-11-03].

The 1995 Board determined the qualifications and fees when applying for a homebound license which allowed cosmetologists to serve the ill and homebound (S. L. 1995, Ch. 401). Voluntary cosmetology services provided to a licensed hospital or nursing home by a cosmetologist would be exempt from licensing (S. L. 1995, Ch. 402).

In 1997 meetings were changed so that the Board could meet any month twice yearly. Legislation gave the Board the authority to employ a secretary, support staff, and other persons knowledgeable in cosmetology to conduct examinations and inspections (S. L. 1997, Ch. 368). 

An earlier law stipulating that no two Board members could be affiliated with the same school of hairdressing and cosmetology or be graduates of the same school was changed in 2003 (S. L. 2003, Ch. 360). 

The Board was responsible to establish health and safety standards for beauty schools and shops, enforce those standards, and impose disciplinary action whenever necessary. The Board also was to oversee the examination, registration and licensure of beauty schools, instructors, operators, and shops.

Cosmetology schools, instructors, and training:
In order to receive a certificate of registration a school had to maintain on its staff a licensed physician and one competent and qualified instructor for classes of twenty five students.  Students had to complete at least 1,000 hours of coursework and training (S. L. 1937, Ch. 137).
Requirements for becoming a school instructor included being a licensed cosmetologists and getting additional training. Students in training to become an instructor needed to be licensed cosmeticians and registered by the Board. Salons needed to employ licensed operators and a salon manager-operator needed to be licensed as a manager-operator (S. L. 1947, Ch. 297).

Schools had to be registered and were required to employ two full time licensed instructors.  They had to maintain a ratio of twelve to one for training of estheticians and manicurists (S. L. 2001, Ch. 371). One instructor had to be added for classes of twenty four students (S. L. 2003, Ch. 360).
According to the Century Code the Board required students of cosmetology to register and to provide a list of their qualifications. This allowed the students to become certified and once the student completed training, passed the examination, and paid a fee they could apply for an original license called an operator’s license [NDCC 43-11-24].

Licensing and registration requirements:
In 1985 several categories of licensing and registration were required by the Board. The need to take an examination before licensing was a change from the earlier registration requirement (S. L.1985, Ch. 477). 

In 1989 the Board established qualifications for the licensing of estheticians and manicurists (S. L. 1989, Ch. 515). This was followed in 1995 with licenses for master estheticians and master manicurists(S. L. 1995, Ch. 401). 

A cosmetologists licensed in another state could become licensed through reciprocity without examination if they complied with the requirements, and passed an exam on sanitary practices, and adhered to the laws provided for cosmetologists as written in the Century Code.

Licenses were granted after fees, registration, examinations, certificates, or renewals had been met. The license had to be displayed in a prominent place. License, registrations, and certificates were renewable annually when the continuing education credits had been met (S. L. 2003, Ch. 360).


1927       Creation of the State Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetology. Board membership consisted of three women who were hairdressers or cosmetologists (S. L. 1927, Ch. 157).

1937       Regulations required a school of hairdressing and cosmetology to follow certain criteria before they were given a certificate of registration by the Board. The law also discussed penalties for violations (S. L. 1937, Ch. 137).

1939       A change was made in the qualifications by applicants for examinations and certification. A provision was added for paying fees and clarification of requirements for schools (S. L. 1939, Ch. 150).

1947       Legislation provided the qualifications of conduct for schools and shops as well as for registration and licensing of students, instructors, student instructors, and manager-operators (S. L. 1947, Ch. 297).

1959       Registration certificates were not issued to a salon until an inspection of the business had been conducted (S. L. 1959, Ch. 321).

1971       Licensed barber shops could employ a licensed manicurist to “engage in manicuring the nails of any person” (S. L. 1971, Ch. 432).

1979       Legislation directed the Board to adopt rules consistent with and necessary in carrying out the law. The Board required a list of students and their qualifications (S. L. 1979, Ch. 464).

1981       Legislation required all state occupational and professional boards including cosmetology to license those trained in a specific occupation (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435).

1985       The Board was renamed State Board of Cosmetology. Board members were required to be cosmetologists and when addressing the Board members, the wording changed from “women” to “persons.” License and registrations rules changed (S. L. 1985, Ch. 477). 

1989       Estheticians and manicurists were licensed by the Board (S. L. 1989, Ch. 515). Those exempt from being licensed were identified (S. L. 1989, Ch. 516).

1995       Licenses were issued for master estheticians and master manicurists. Licenses for homebound services were issued also (S. L. 1995, Ch. 401). Voluntary services provided to hospitals and nursing home were exempt from licensing (S. L. 1995, Ch. 402).

1997       The Board could employ a secretary, support staff, and other persons knowledgeable in cosmetology (S. L. 1997, Ch. 368).

2001       The definition of cosmetology was expanded and the requirement of a student to instructor ratio was changed for schools of cosmetology (S. L. 2001, Ch. 371).

2003       The rule that no two Board members could be affiliated with or have attended the same school of cosmetology was amended. Continuing education was needed for renewals. Student to instructor ratio was changed for training estheticians and manicurist (S. L. 2003, Ch. 360).

2011       Legislation created and amended the Century Code concerning those who had been exempt from cosmetology licensure and addressed Board powers, membership, and compensation. It changed the make-up of the Board from three licensed cosmetologists by adding two members, one of whom was an experienced professional secondary teacher or a post-secondary educator. Legislation changed definitions and language and also changed fee schedules concerning the practice and licensing of cosmetologists, cosmetology salons, estheticians, instructors, manicurists, and cosmetology schools (S.L. 2011, Ch.308).   

2015       The law revised the Code relating to the practice and licensing of cosmetologists, manicurists, and esthetics, and changed the wording in the section on definitions that clarified the term booth space ownership.   The Board membership requirements changed to three of the five members to remain licensed cosmetologists, one member to hold secondary or postsecondary credentials, and one to be a licensed health care provider (S.L. 2015, Ch. 293).       
2017       Amendments were made to the Code by adding a new subsection on satisfactory conditions  for obtaining a certificate without taking an examination as it related to the licensure and reciprocity programs for cosmetologists, manicurists, and estheticians  (S.L. 2017, Ch. 304).


31356    Records.


North Dakota Board of Cosmetology Website.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.


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