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Board of Cosmetology - Nail Technologist - License Information

Pathway One - Graduation From an Educational Institution

Step 1: Overview 

Oregon applicants applying for a nail technologist certification must first complete and pass courses required by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission's Private Career Schools Licensing Unit.

Programs offered by Oregon licensed career schools under Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 817:

  • Nail Technology: 241 hours, 70 practical operations
  • Oregon Laws and Rules: 20 hours
  • Career Development: 20 hours

Training may also be obtained through a competency-based school.

Step 2: Submission of Documents

Submission of the following must be made to the Health Licensing Office:

  • Cosmetology Practitioner Application (found below under the Forms section).
  • An official transcript from an educational institution showing proof of hours for the field(s) of practice you are applying for.
  • A passing score of a board-approved practical examination. Practical examination scores are valid for two years from the date the practical examination was completed and passed.

Step 3: Take Written Examinations

To obtain Oregon licensure, all reciprocity applicants must pass the Oregon Laws and Rules examination as well as the written exam for each field of practice in which they wish to obtain licensure.

The fees required for licensure include:

  • Verification of licensure
  • Application fee
  • Oregon Laws and Rules examination
  • Each field of practice written examination
  • And, after you pass the exams, you will pay a certification fee for each field of practice.

Basic information on testing at the HLO:

  • The written examinations are conducted on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary).
  • HLO office hours to begin testing are Monday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Applicants who are taking two or more fields of practice examinations should arrive as early as possible (no later than noon) to complete their examinations by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. Applicants taking four fields of practice examinations should arrive and be ready to test at 9 a.m.
  • You are allowed 90 minutes for each examination. Multiply that by the number of exams you need to take to calculate how much time you need. Applicants who do not allow enough time to complete their exams will be turned away.

To study for the Oregon Laws and Rules examination, please review the  Oregon Laws and Rules. For individual field of practice examinations, questions and answers are taken from the Milady and Pivot Point textbooks.

Please bring two forms of acceptable original identification issued by a federal, state or local government agency of the United States. One form of identification must be photographic, and the names on each ID must match each other and your certification, or you must bring court documentation showing the name change

After passing the required examinations and paying all fees, you will receive your Oregon certification(s) the same day.

Pathway Two - Reciprocity

Step 1: Overview

Are you moving to Oregon and you hold an active cosmetology license from another state? To obtain an Oregon practitioner certification in barbering, hair design, esthetics or nail technology by reciprocity, you will have to provide proof of licensure in another state and pass all relevant Oregon written examinations.

Note: Oregon does not offer an umbrella cosmetology certification.

Step 2: Proof of Licensure From Your Home State

First, the Health Licensing Office must have proof that your license is current and in good standing in your home state. Your license alone is not enough; this proof must be communicated to the Health Licensing Office from the board or agency of the state in which you are licensed itself.

Your license can be verified in one of two ways:

  • Contact the regulatory authority of the state in which you are currently licensed and request that it send a verification of licensure to us at Health Licensing Office, 1430 Tandem Ave. NE, Suite 180, Salem, OR 97301.
  • Some states give us the ability to verify your license for you. To do this, fill out an Affidavit of Licensure form and mail it to the HLO or bring it with you to the Office in Salem. (Do not fax or email it.) Contact the office at hlo.info@state.or.us or 503-378-8667 to determine your home state's status regarding license verification.

Once the HLO receives proof of your licensure in another state, we will determine whether your home state's licensure is substantially equivalent to Oregon certification requirements.

If you use the Affidavit of Licensure to verify your license and it includes an address, the HLO will mail you the Office's findings along with additional information. You may also call us at 503-378-8667 to verify whether your affidavit has been received.

If the affidavit discloses any unresolved disciplinary actions and/or outstanding civil fines, you must resolve these issues before obtaining licensure in Oregon.

Step 3: Take Written Examinations

To obtain Oregon licensure, all reciprocity applicants must pass the Oregon Laws and Rules examination as well as the written exam for each field of practice in which they wish to obtain licensure. 

The fees required for licensure include:

  • Verification of licensure
  • Application fee
  • Oregon Laws and Rules examination
  • Each field of practice written examination
  • And, after you pass the exams, you will pay a certification fee for each field of practice.

Basic information on testing at the HLO:

  • The written examinations are conducted on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary).
  • HLO office hours to begin testing are Monday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Applicants who are taking two or more fields of practice examinations should arrive as early as possible (no later than noon) to complete their examinations by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. Applicants taking four fields of practice examinations should arrive and be ready to test at 9 a.m.
  • You are allowed 90 minutes for each examination. Multiply that by the number of exams you need to take to calculate how much time you need. Applicants who do not allow enough time to complete their exams will be turned away.

To study for the Oregon Laws and Rules examination, please review the  Oregon Laws and Rules. For individual field of practice examinations, questions and answers are taken from the Milady and Pivot Point textbooks.

Please bring two forms of acceptable original identification issued by a federal, state or local government agency of the United States. One form of identification must be photographic, and the names on each ID must match each other and your certification, or you must bring court documentation showing the name change

After passing the required examinations and paying all fees, you will receive your Oregon certification(s) the same day.

Pathway 3 - HECC Review and Approval of Non-Credentialed

Step 1: Overview 

This pathway allows applicants from out-of-state who are not currently licensed, or an out-of-country applicant to have their education, training and experience reviewed by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). Oregon Revised Statute 345.430.

Step 2: Contact the Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Contact the HECC to submit your documentation of education, training and experience for review. General inquires: (503) 947-5716, or email them at info.pps@state.or.us.

Once HLO receives a non-credentialed referral of approval from HECC and any other supporting documentation (i.e. skills assessment, transcripts, and/or additional education), you will be allowed to take any applicable written examinations. 

Step 3: Take Written Examinations

To obtain Oregon licensure, all reciprocity applicants must pass the Oregon Laws and Rules examination as well as the written exam for each field of practice in which they wish to obtain licensure.

The fees required for licensure include:

  • Verification of licensure
  • Application fee
  • Oregon Laws and Rules examination
  • Each field of practice written examination
  • And, after you pass the exams, you will pay a certification fee for each field of practice.

Basic information on testing at the HLO:

  • The written examinations are conducted on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary).
  • HLO office hours to begin testing are Monday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Applicants who are taking two or more fields of practice examinations should arrive as early as possible (no later than noon) to complete their examinations by 4:30 p.m. at the latest. Applicants taking four fields of practice examinations should arrive and be ready to test at 9 a.m.
  • You are allowed 90 minutes for each examination. Multiply that by the number of exams you need to take to calculate how much time you need. Applicants who do not allow enough time to complete their exams will be turned away.

To study for the Oregon Laws and Rules examination, please review the  Oregon Laws and Rules. For individual field of practice examinations, questions and answers are taken from the Milady and Pivot Point textbooks.

Please bring two forms of acceptable original identification issued by a federal, state or local government agency of the United States. One form of identification must be photographic, and the names on each ID must match each other and your certification, or you must bring court documentation showing the name change

After passing the required examinations and paying all fees, you will receive your Oregon certification(s) the same day.

Examinations

Practical examinations

Hourly-based and competency-based schools require students to pass a state-sanctioned practical examination conducted by a licensed career school meeting the Higher Education Coordinating Commission's (HECC) criteria and standards.

In collaboration with HECC, the Health Licensing Office (HLO) regularly conducts performance evaluations of state-sanctioned practical examinations at Oregon licensed career schools to guarantee compliance with HECC criteria and standards.

Oregon recognizes the practical examination as the first step in a two-step examination process toward certification.

Graduates of both hourly-based and competency-based schools in Oregon as well as applicants from out of state obtaining certification through reciprocity and experience equivalency (see below) must pass a written examination to obtain certification.

Written examinations for all fields of practice

  • The written examination is conducted on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary).
  • Two forms of government ID with your current legal name are required for testing. Read identification requirements.
  • HLO office hours to begin testing are Monday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Applicants taking two or more fields of practice examinations should arrive as early as possible (no later than noon) to complete their examinations by 4:30 p.m. Applicants taking four fields of practice examinations should arrive and be ready to test at 9 a.m.
  • Please note: If you are on parole or probation, you must provide a letter of release from your probation or parole officer authorizing you to obtain an authorization to practice. If you are on bench probation, or probation with the court, you must provide documentation of your conditions of the probation.
  • The time limit for each field of practice section of the examination and for the Oregon Laws and Rules examination is 90 minutes.

Written examinations offered in Spanish and Vietnamese

The Health Licensing Office (HLO) provides the Cosmetology field of practice examinations (i.e. barbering, hair design, nail technology, and esthetics), and the Oregon Laws and Rules examination in Spanish and Vietnamese.

The HLO will continue to provide individuals with the opportunity to obtain additional time to complete an examination administered in English, when English is the individual's second language (ESL).

Additional time will only be given to individuals taking an examination which is not being administered in the individual's primary language. 

If an applicant is taking an examination(s) with additional time, the applicant must appear at the HLO as specified below: 

  • Between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. - One (1) field of practice and the Oregon Laws and Rules examination.
  • By 8:00 a.m. - Two (2) fields of practice and the Oregon Laws and Rules examination. 

***Please note: The Health Licensing Office does not open until 9:00 a.m. on Tuesdays. 

To accommodate individuals taking three (3) field of practice examinations and the Oregon Laws and Rules examination with additional time, the examinations may be required to be completed on two separate testing days. 

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the HLO at (503) 378-8667, email hlo.info@state.or.us, or visit the agency website at http://www.healthoregon.org/hlo

Special-accommodation examinations are also available. Download and complete an Accommodation Request form to request accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Retaking a written exam

HLO and the Board of Cosmetology established requirements, including waiting periods and additional training, for applicants who fail the written examination and must retake the examination after one or more failed attempts.

Barbering, Esthetics, Hair Design and Nail Technology Retake Requirements

Printable Examination Retake Policy

Examination Attempts All cosmetology examinations waiting periods and additional training:
After First & Second Failed Attempts Eligible to retake on or after the eighth (8th) calendar day*. Applicants are required to wait seven whole calendar days before retaking examination.
After Third Failed Attempt

1) Eligible to retake on or after the 30th calendar day*. Applicants are required to wait 29 whole calendar days before retaking examination.

2) Prior to the fourth attempt you have the following two options:

  • Complete additional training and submit a Certificate of Additional Training from an Oregon licensed career school to the HLO; or
  • Complete an Office administered examination study review. You will be contacted by the HLO to offer you this option.

3) Reapply and pay application fee.

After Fourth & Fifth Failed Attempts

Eligible to retake on or after the eighth (8th) calendar day*. Applicants are required to wait seven whole calendar days before retaking examination.

After Sixth Failed Attempt

1) The ability to retake or the requirements for retake (or both) will be determined by the HLO and the Board of Cosmetology on a case-by-case basis.

2) Reapply and pay application fee.

*Calendar day =

Must fall on a non-holiday, regular HLO office business day and during regular office hours open to the public.

Forms

Renewal Process

Application for certification renewal should be made in advance of the certification inactive date, which is the last day of the month two years from the date of issuance. Renewal applications are mailed to practitioners approximately six weeks prior to certification expiration courtesy of HLO / Board of Cosmetology.

Renew Online

Name Changes

If you have had a legal name change, please see the list of acceptable documents to prove your current full legal name. You will need to provide this documentation to renew your certification.

Legal Name Change Update Form

Note: If a practitioner's two-year certificate goes inactive, there is a three-year window to renew by paying the current renewal fee(s) and late fee(s).

Business Authorization

All practitioners who provide services in Oregon must do so in a licensed facility, which is defined as "...an establishment operated on a regular or irregular basis for the purpose of providing services in one or more fields of practice."

The only exception is a practitioner who obtains a freelance authorization, which is a written authorization allowing a practitioner to practice outside of or away from a licensed facility.

The third type of cosmetology business license is an independent contractor registration. An independent contractor is defined as a practitioner "...who is not under the control and direction of a facility license holder."

Temporary facility permits allow holders to operate a facility on a temporary basis for a period not to exceed 30 consecutive calendar days.

More information.

Reactivation and Reinstatement

Certification reinstatement after three years in inactive status

Practitioners whose certificate is inactive for three years or more must take and pass both the practical and written examinations (within two years of reapplication), reapply for certification and pay all application, examination and certification renewal fees.

Practitioner certification turns to inactive status if the practitioner does not renew prior to the date of certification renewal. Practitioners in inactive status who provide services to the public are in violation.

Note: Independent contractor registrations and freelance authorizations that are not renewed become dormant. These authorizations do not become inactive and do not expire. To reactivate a dormant independent contractor registration or freelance authorization, the holder must contact HLO.

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