Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I wait to take the examinations for licensure?
Upon graduation the theory and practical examinations must be taken and successfully passed within twenty-four months or the school hours become invalid. You will be required to go back to school and gain new training hours.
How do I apply for the examination?
Currently you must submit an examination application and fee to the Board's office. Staff will send you an approval email for the respective examination. Then you must contact the testing service provider to register for the exam.
Do I have to take the exam in South Carolina?
The theory/written exam for South Carolina may be completed in another state. It is only allowable if the testing service provider has testing facilities elsewhere in the United States. The practical examination must be completed in South Carolina.
How can I become licensed in South Carolina if I am licensed in another state?
South Carolina does not have a reciprocal agreement with any state. However, we do have endorsement. You may submit the electronic endorsement application and pay the required fee online. Upload all of your supporting documents and have the states where you are licensed send verifications of your licensure to South Carolina. Verifications may be sent by mail or email to BoardInfo@llr.sc.gov.
Once the verifications are received, staff will review them for active licensure, current or prior discipline and for successful passage of the National Interstate Council Of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) examination (theory and practical). If you have not passed either component of the NIC exam, you will be required to do so before we can consider you for licensure no matter how many years you have been licensed in another state.
Does South Carolina have a grandfathering option?
South Carolina does not have a grandfathering option. You must meet the licensure requirement of this state regardless of how many years you have been licensed in other states. Once the verifications are received staff will review them for active licensure, current or prior discipline and for successful passage of the National Interstate Council Of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) examination (theory and practical). If you have not passed either component of the NIC exam, you will be required to do so before we can consider you for licensure.
What's the status of my application?
We cannot provide you an exact time period for how long it will take to process your application. However, you may track the status of your application 24-hours per day on the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website using Licensing + Services at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
. For most applications, if you are missing documents to complete the application process, you will be sent an e-mail from board staff to supply the missing information. Once all documents are received, and you meet the qualifications for a license, a license can be released to you. Therefore, check your inbox and junk mail periodically.
I received a letter from the SC Board of Cosmetology to get a license verification, what does that mean?
You must contact the Boards of Cosmetology where you hold licenses and pay them a fee to send an official license verification by e-mail to BoardInfo@llr.sc.gov
for review. The verification must show that you have a current license in that state, that you have passed a nationally recognized examination- the National Interstate Council (NIC) written and practical examinations.
I have a current cosmetology license in South Carolina and I'm applying for a license in another state. How do I verify my South Carolina license?
You can request a license verification using the Licensing + Services online option. Visit the SC Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo.
Once on the website, select ONLINE VERIFICATION. A login window will open. If you do not know your user ID/PASSWORD select the "I FORGOT/DO NOT KNOW MY USER ID or I FORGOT MY PASSWORD. Complete the online order form and pay the $5.00 fee online. Be prepared to enter the mailing address of the board where you want the license verification mailed or provide the email address of the other state board. License verifications are not sent to licensees.
I'm trying to obtain my South Carolina cosmetology license, but I went to high school in another country and/or I am authorized to practice in another country. What do I have to do to get my education (high school and cosmetology-related training) evaluated?
The South Carolina Board of Cosmetology only accepts evaluations from Aequo International. All foreign educated applicants not currently licensed in the United States or territorial possession of the United States must remit proof of meeting educational standards PRIOR to being authorized for the NIC theory and NIC practical examinations. You may contact the evaluation service by calling or by going to their web page:
Aequo International - (844) 882-3786 OR http://aequointernational.com
South Carolina will not accept education documents evaluated by any other sources. You may opt to register for the Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE) in lieu of having your high school education evaluated. The results must be sent to South Carolina and we will need the grade level upon which you have tested.
I received a letter from the SC Board of Cosmetology to provide a SLED report/criminal background report, but who should I contact and how do I obtain the information?
If violations happened in South Carolina, you must contact the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). If violations happened outside of South Carolina, you must contact the state or local agency for a criminal background report AND you must submit a SLED report. In addition, you must supply court documents with final dispositions for all charges.
SLED Headquarters is located at:
4400 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29210
The public may reach SLED by calling (803) 737-9000 or send correspondence to their mailing address at: Post Office Box 21398, Columbia, SC 29221
I recently changed my name, what should I do to change my name on my license.
To change your name on your license, go to APPLY FOR A LICENSE
on the Cosmetology Board's website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
and complete the Personal Name/Address Change/Duplicate License Request Form. You must provide evidence of the name change in the form of a marriage certificate, divorce decree or name change affidavit. The fee for a new license is $10.00, payable by money order or personal check.
How do I apply for a salon license?
Visit the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
once on the website select APPLY FOR A LICENSE
then locate ESTABLISHMENT APPLICATIONS
. Submit the completed application and self-inspection report at least 30 days before you plan to open. An inspector will contact you to conduct an inspection. You may open for business once you pass inspection and your license will be mailed to you.
I am a salon owner or manager- Is it okay for my salon to use pedicure rasps and credo blades?
The South Carolina Board of Cosmetology does not allow the usage of rasps or credo blades in licensed salons.
How do I transfer my booth renter license to another salon?
The booth renter license is not transferrable. If you are working at a new salon, you must apply for a new booth renter license and return the old one.
How do I apply for a school license or add a new program to a licensed school?
Visit the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
once on the website select APPLY FOR A LICENSE
and select the School Application. Instructions for completing the application appear on the first page. Submit the complete application to the board for review. You will receive board appearance email to appear at the next available board meeting to answer questions about your new school. During the board meeting, if the school is approved, the school's application will be sent to the inspections department and they will make arrangements for the preliminary and final inspections. A board member and inspector will conduct a final inspection before the school is approved for licensing.
Why didn't I receive a two-year license? I just received my license and I noticed that I have to renew soon.
When a license is initially obtained, you will receive the expiration date for that licensing period as everyone receives the same universal expiration date. The license will need to be renewed by its expiration date. Cosmetologist, nail technicians and estheticians renew every odd year. Schools, salons and booth renters renew every even year.
I haven't received my renewal notice, what do I do?
As a courtesy, renewal notices are emailed in January (odd years) for RC, NT and ES licenses. They are emailed in April (even years) to salons, booth renters and schools to the email that we have on file in the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology database. You may renew your license online using your User ID and Password. If you do not remember your User ID and Password, you may still renew your license on the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website using the online services at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
. If you do not know your user ID or password select the "I FORGOT/I DO NOT KNOW MY USER ID
/ I FORGOT MY PASSWORD
. Complete the online renewal questions and pay the renewal fee online. Be sure to obtain your online receipt as proof of payment.
I have to complete continuing education class hours to renew my license, what do I have to do and how many hours do I have to complete?
After your first renewal, all cosmetologists, estheticians, and nail technicians are required to complete a total of four (4) continuing education hours of training. In a classroom setting or online. Visit the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo and select the EDUCATION link to review the current listing of board approved continuing education classes as well as board approved ONLINE continuing education classes. Contact the provider(s) of your choice and the provider will walk you through the next steps on how to sign up for a class. A NOTE to instructors, you are required to complete a total of four (4) continuing education hours in in teaching in order to renew an instructor's license.
After you have completed your CE class, the CE provider will send your information to USC and then USC will mail you a certificate of completion. If you have not received a USC certificate within two weeks of completing a CE course, you should reach out to the CE provider and/or USC for a status update.
My license is expired and I need continuing education. How do I proceed?
You have up to three years to reinstate the license by submitting a reinstatement application, applicable fee and gaining continuing education for EACH missed renewal cycle by the deadline (March 10 of year three). Licenses that were expired prior to March 10, 2023, are required to gain 6-hour CE classes.
After three years of expired licensure your license cannot be reinstated and you will be required to pass the exam (theory and practical) again. You will not be required to go back to school.
Can you check my license record to see how many continuing education classes I've completed so far?
You may track your continuing education class dates 24-hours per day on the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo
. Once on the website, select EDUCATION GUIDELINES
then CONTINUING EDUCATION
and then CHECK YOUR CEU HOURS ONLINE
. A login window will open. If you do not know your user ID or password select the "I FORGOT/ DO NOT KNOW MY USER ID / I FORGOT MY PASSWORD
How do I become a Continuing Education Provider?
In order to deliver continuing education classes to licensees, you are required to set up an Association. Visit the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology website at: www.llr.sc.gov/cosmo once on the website select EDUCATION GUIDELINES and then RESOURCES for the Continuing Education Provider Information. You will find a link for the CE Provider application which you must print and complete. You will also need the CE Provider Packet, the CE Course List and the On-Site CEU Documentation Checklist. Review all documents to properly prepare your submission. Complete the continuing education provider application along with a registration. You will be required to obtain a registration certificate of existence from the Secretary of State and provide the board with a statewide membership roster. The roster must include the names and license numbers of 100 licensees and the counties must be listed by each representative. Therefore 25 licensees from each region of the state must be represented.
All application submissions must be complete and sent to the board for review by or before August 5th, in order to be placed on the September agenda for review. You will receive a letter in the mail to appear before the next board meeting to answer questions about your new association. All continuing education providers must complete and return their submission form, appropriate checklist, and the proposed continuing education materials for the board's review on or before September 30th. Any submissions postmarked after September 30th will NOT be considered for review. Submissions timely submitted but lacking the required information, proper format, or technical accessibility will be returned to the provider and may be considered at a subsequent board meeting as the agenda allows. Please read all requirements very carefully.