New York – Nail Technician

New York Nail Speciality (Nail Technician) exams: Free practice test, and everything you need to know

New York is a vibrant state. It’s home to everyone from corporate highflyers to artists. And everything in between.

And in this melting pot of people, one thing is certain; New Yorkers know fashion.

In fact, they create it.

And you know what that means? If you plan to be a Nail Technician in New York, not only will you have the opportunity to work on the latest trends, but you might also set them!

Imagine seeing your nail designs go global… it’s exciting, right?

But before you can really make a start on your new career, you’ll need a Nail Technician license. And that means you need to pass the New York Division of Licencing Services Nail Specialist exams.

Now, don’t worry if the thought of scheduling exams fills you with dread. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your exam, answers to all the most common questions, and a free practice test to check you’re prepared!

Go straight to the practice test

Table of Contents:

The process of registering for (and passing!) your New York Division of Licencing Services Nail Speciality (Technician) exams

Congratulations, you did it! You’ve completed 250 hours of study at an approved Nail Tech school. And this means that you’re SO close to building your dream career!

OK, that’s exciting, but before you can concentrate on making your clients’ nails look Instagram ready, you’ll need to take your Nail Speciality (Technician) exams…

And, according to the many students we speak to, this can feel a little overwhelming.

But, don’t worry: we’ll walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…

Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the New York Division of Licencing Services Nail Speciality (Technician) exams

In New York, all Nail Technicians must pass both a written and practical Nail Speciality exam in order to get their license.

And, in order to be eligible to sit these exams, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old AND
  • Have completed a 250-hour approved course of study in Nail Technology AND
  • Have the Affirmation of New York State Approved Schooling section of the application completed by your school director

Or, if you have studied outside of New York State, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old AND
  • Provide the following documentation
    • A school certificate
    • A school transcript listing subjects and hours completed
    • A current, original Certification of Licensure from your state board or, if not licensed, a current certification from your state’s board verifying the hours claimed.

OK, so you’ve checked that you’re eligible. So, what’s next?

Step 2: Submit a Nail Speciality License application with the New York Division of Licensing Services.

Before you can schedule and sit your exams, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll need to create an NY.gov account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

The application fee for a Nail Specialist license is $40. However, you don’t need to wait until you’ve passed your exams to begin working on clients; if you apply for a temporary license, you can start working on clients’ nails as soon as you finish school!

Your temporary license is valid for 6 months, which gives you plenty of time to pass both your written and practical examinations.

But don’t worry if it takes you longer than anticipated to pass your tests. As long as you have successfully completed one of your exams, you can apply for a second temporary license, giving you another 6 months in which you can continue working in a salon. (an additional fee of $10 is required for a second temporary license).

Step 3: Schedule your written exam

Once your application has been processed by the New York Division of Licensing Services, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on scheduling your exams.

You can choose to sit either your written or practical exam first, but for the sake of this guide, we’re going to assume you’re kicking things off with your written exam.

So, to book your written exam, you’ll need to:

  1. Log into your NY.gov account
  2. Click on ‘Records’ (your status should read ‘Eligible for exam’ once you have received your confirmation email)
  3. Click the ‘Record Number’ link to open the record details
  4. Scroll down until you see ‘Examinations’ and click the triangle to select
  5. Select the ‘Nail Specialist Written Exam’ in your language of choice ’
  6. Choose your exam slot and center then click ‘continue’
  7. Pay your exam fee of $15

After booking your exam, you will receive a confirmation email. Keep this safe as you will need it later.

Once you have booked your exam, be sure to make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 4: Arrive at the exam center on exam day

You should arrive at the test center early as this will allow time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam center.

Once there, you’ll need to sign in using a current ID from the following list:

  • driver’s license
  • state-issued identification (ex. non-driver ID)
  • IDNYC Card (NYC Identification Card)
  • military ID
  • United States Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • United States INS issued ID
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Foreign Passport
  • Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID

You will also need to show a copy of your examination confirmation, which should include all of your examination information, including your candidate number.

During your exam, you must ensure that all electronic devices are switched off (including your cell phone). And you must not bring any of the following items into the test with you:

  • Large bags
  • Books (including dictionaries)
  • Other reference material
  • Food or drink

Bear in mind that there are no lockers or storage facilities at the test centers, and if you are found to have any of these banned items with you during the exam, you will be asked to leave. So, it’s best to leave these supplies at home.

Step 5: Take the written exam

The written exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions covering all the topics you learned at Beauty School– so make sure you revise!

When it is time to begin your written test, a representative from the exam center will issue instructions and will show you to your seat.

You will have 2 ½  hours to complete your test, and your allotted time starts as soon as you’ve received your instructions.

Step 6: Get your results

Once your time is up, you will be informed of whether you have passed or failed your exam.

then, you will receive an email as your numerical score is available to view via your NY.gov account.

If you have failed your written examination, you’ll need to log into your NY.gov account to schedule a new test.

But try not to be discouraged. With the help of our Nail Technician Exam Preparation Package, you can ensure that you are prepared to try again.

Step 7: Schedule your practical exam

To schedule your practical exam, you will need to follow the instructions set out in Step 3 and pay another fee of $15.

Step 8: Arrive at the test center

On the day of your practical exam, you should arrive at the test center early. This will ensure you have enough time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

Once there, you’ll need to sign in using a current ID from the following list:

  • driver’s license
  • state-issued identification (ex. non-driver ID)
  • IDNYC Card (NYC Identification Card)
  • military ID
  • United States Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • United States INS issued ID
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Foreign Passport
  • Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID

And you will also need to show a copy of your examination confirmation, which should include all of your examination information, including your candidate number.

With regards to what to wear for your exam, you are expected to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • A smock or apron must be worn
  • Hair must be pulled back and secured if long enough to interfere with procedures
  • Closed-toe shoes that cover the top of the foot must be worn
  • NO hand or arm jewelry is permitted (Exception: Wedding rings and wristwatches; no smartwatches allowed)
  • Hands must be washed with soap and water prior to your arrival

Additionally, you are not permitted to:

  • Chew gum
  • Use a cell phone or any other technological device

In order to complete your exam, you’ll also be expected to bring:

  • Your own supplies (a full list of the supplies you’ll need can be found here)
  • And a live model.

According to the ny.gov website, your model can be either male or female, but they must be at least 16 years old. They must also agree to submit to all required operations, and be able to receive all procedures included in the examination. Your model must also have ten clean and healthy natural nails, free of any artificial product. And a free edge of 1/8″ to 1/4″ is recommended to ensure the best results.

Step 9: Take your practical exam

The Nail Specialist practical examination consists of a series of different tasks, all designed to test your skills and abilities.

The full exam will last for a total of 2 hours, and the procedures you will be scored on are:

  • Preparation of Work Area (10 minutes)
  • Blood Exposure Procedure (10 minutes)
  • Basic Manicure and Preparation for Further Procedures (20 minutes)
  • Tip Application and Shaping (15 minutes)
  • Wrap Application (20 minutes)
  • Acrylic Application (30 minutes)
  • Polish Application and Clean-Up (15 minutes)

A full break down of what each task entails can be found here.

Step 10: Get your results

After you have completed your exam, you will receive an email informing you that your results are available to view via your NY.gov account.

The passing mark is 70%. And if you have failed your practical exam, you will need to schedule a re-sit.

However, if you passed, you are ready to get your license!

Step 11: Get your New York Nail Specialist (Technician) license!

Congratulations! Now you’ve passed both of your Nail Specialist exams, it’s time to get your license.

And that means waiting for the mailman.

Now, we know that waiting for the post can be annoying. But don’t worry, as long as you opted to get a temporary license, you won’t need to wait for the post to arrive before getting to work. Instead, continue using your temporary license for the time being…

So, go right ahead and celebrate, you’ve definitely earned it!

Don’t forget, the most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exams: However, students who use our Nail Technician Exam Preparation Package has a pass rate of 98.5%!

Frequently asked questions about the New York Nail Specialist (Technician) exams

How do I apply for the New York Nail Specialist examinations?

Before you can take your exams, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll create an NY.gov account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email instructing you on how to schedule your exams.

I can’t make the date/time of my examination. What should I do?

If you need to reschedule your examination, you must give at least 6 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 6 days’ notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.

How much does it cost to take the New York Nail Specialist (Technician) exams?

  • Written Test – $15
  • Practical Test – $15

Where do the examinations take place?

The written exam may be taken at test centers that can be found in the following locations:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Buffalo
  • Franklin Square
  • Hauppauge
  • New York City
  • Newburgh
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Utica
  • Plattsburgh

The practical exam can be taken in:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Brooklyn
  • Cheektowaga
  • Fairport
  • Goshen
  • Manhattan
  • Oakdale
  • Olean
  • Plattsburgh
  • Sanborn
  • Syracuse
  • Watertown
  • Westbury
  • Yonkers

How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the New York Nail Technician examinations?

You must complete 250 hours of training before taking your Nail Specialist examinations.

Can I study via an apprenticeship instead of attending Nail Tech school in New York?

Yes, but you must still pass both the written and practical exams in order to gain your license.

More information about the requirements for trainee Nail Technicians in New York can be found here.

Do I need a physical to get my New York Nail Specialist (Technician)  License?

Yes. You need to be examined by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner to apply for your New York Nail Specialist License.

Can I take the New York Nail Specialist (Technician) examinations before I’ve completed the required hours?

No, you must complete all 250 hours before taking your exams.

How long is the Nail Specialist (Technician) written examination?

You will have 2 ½ hours to complete your written examination.

What’s the format of the written examination?

Your written exam will be comprised of multiple-choice questions.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the testing format, try out our practice test here.

How long is the Nail Specialist (Technician) practical examination?

The Nail Specialist practical examination lasts for approximately 2 hours.

What’s the format of the practical examination?

You will be given a set amount of time to demonstrate a range of different Nail Technician techniques.

A full breakdown of what the exam includes can be found here.

What scores do I need to pass both of the Nail Specialist exams?

  • Written Exam – 70%
  • Practical Exam -70%

Check if you’re on track to pass your exam by taking our free Nail Technician practice test.

Can I take my Nail Specialist (Technician) examinations again if I fail?

Yes, but you will need to pay for each resit separately ($15).

How long does Nail Technician school take in New York?

You must complete 250 hours of study to qualify to take the Nail Specialist exams. How long your course takes to complete will depend on your school, and whether you study full or part-time.

Can I transfer my Nail Technician license to New York?

New York does not have any reciprocity agreements with other states for Nail Technician licenses.

However, if you meet certain requirements, you will be able to transfer your Nail Technician license to New York through an application for endorsement  (this means that you won’t need to retake any exams).

A list of the states eligible for endorsement can be found here.

How do I get my Nail Specialist (Technician) license in New York?

To get your Nail Specialist license in New York, you need to graduate from an approved school having completed 250 hours of practical experience and pass two examinations (written and practical),

Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be issued with a license.

How do I renew my Nail Specialist (Technician) license in New York?

You must renew your Nail Specialist license every 4 years.

3 months before your license renewal is due, you will receive an email that will lead you step-by-step through the application process for renewal.

New York Nail Technician state board exam practice test

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