Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Manicurist (Nail Technician) exams: Free practice test, and everything you need to know
Congratulations! You’re SO close to finishing school. You’ve learned how to perfectly shape nails, and you know all there is to know about acrylics, gels, and tips.
And pretty soon, you’ll be demonstrating your new skills on your very own clients. Exciting, right?
But before you start working your magic on the people of Texas, you’ll need your Manicurist (Nail Technician) license. And that means passing the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) Manicurist exams.
Sound scary? Well, don’t worry. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your Manicurist (Nail Technician) exams, answers to all the most common questions, and a free practice test to check you’re prepared!
The process of registering for (and passing!) your Texas Manicurist exams
In Texas, the skilled professionals licensed to complete manicures and pedicures are known as ‘Manicurists’.
And if you’re studying to become a Manicurist, you’ll know just how important this profession can be.
Part artist and part scientist (with a dash of therapist thrown in for good measure!), Manicurists help their clients look good and feel amazing. All whilst keeping a keen eye on safety.
And with all there is to learn at Nail School, we wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t had time to prepare for your exams just yet.
In fact, as graduation approaches, you may be hit with a few questions like: “how do I even book my exams?” And “what do I need to prepare for?”
Well, don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through every step of the process. Starting with…
Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the Texas Manicurist (Nail Technician) exams
Before you think about scheduling your exams, it’s important to check that you meet the TDLR’s eligibility requirements.
So, in order to take your Manicurist (Nail Technician) exams, you must:
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification OR
- Have taken an ‘ability-to-benefit’ test administered by a certified testing agency AND
- Be at least 17 years old AND
- Have Completed 600 hours of instruction in a beauty school
Once you have completed 600 hours, your school will contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on your behalf.
You will then receive an email advising you that your exams may be scheduled, along with an ID number (keep this safe, you’ll need it later!).
Step 2: Apply for your temporary license
In the state of Texas, you don’t need to wait for your license to arrive in the post to start working as a Manicurist.
But, you do need to have a temporary license.
Now, this license won’t be issued before you’ve passed exams… But you need to apply for it in advance.
You see, if you apply for a temporary license before you sit your exams, it will be available to pick up from your exam center. Handy, right?
So, to get your temporary license on the day you pass your second exam, head over to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations to start your application now.
Step 3: Schedule your written and practical exams
Once you have completed your minimum of 600 hours of study, you will receive an email for the Department of Licensing and Regulations. This email will include instructions on how to schedule your exams, along with your personal candidate number.
Now, in the state of Texas, you’ll need to pass two separate exams to qualify for your Manicurist license. And that means booking:
- A written examination, costing $50 AND
- A practical examination, costing $72
All exams take place at PSI centers, and the easiest way to schedule your exams is via the PSI website.
To do this you will need to:
- Log onto the PSI website and create an account (making sure your name and email address match those on file with the Department of Licensing and Regulations)
- Select one exam
- Enter the ID number (this can be found in the email the TDLR sent, instructing you on how to schedule your exam)
- Enter your zip code and select your examination center
- Choose from the available dates
- And finally, pay for your exam using a credit or debit card
You will then need to repeat the process to book your second exam.
A walkthrough of this process, including pictures, can be found here.
Alternatively, you can schedule your exams:
- By phone: (833) 333-4741
- By faxing this registration form (found at the end of the document) to: (702) 932-2666
- Or by mailing the registration form (found at the end of the document) to: PSI Services LLC, 3210 E Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV 89121
Once you have booked your exams, be sure to make a note of the times and dates so that you don’t miss your slots!
Step 4: Arrive at the exam center to take your written exam
Although you can choose to sit your exams in either order, for the purpose of this guide we’re going to assume that you’re sitting your written test first.
So, on the day of your written exam, aim to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes early. This will give you enough time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.
Aiming to arrive early also gives you some leeway if you are held up in traffic, or if you face any delays with public transport.
This is especially important because, if you arrive late, you will not be allowed to sit your exam, and your fees will be forfeited. This means that you will then need to reschedule your exam, and will have to pay again.
When signing in at your test center, you must produce:
1 form of identification (ID). The identification must be a VALID form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport book. The identification must contain the following biographical information:
(1) printed name
(4) date of birth
(5) expiration date
Temporary licenses or IDs will be accepted only if they are accompanied by either the expired/invalid license or another form of photo ID.
Current public high school IDs are also valid when accompanied by a photocopy of the TDLR student permit. However, if you have graduated from high school, your ID is only valid until August 31 of that year.
Current community college and junior college IDs are also valid government-issued IDs and require only your printed name, photograph, and date of birth.
Passport cards are not accepted. Although Passport books are accepted, cards do not hold enough information on their own.
In the interest of security, and to prevent cheating, you will not be allowed to bring any of the following items into your test with you:
- Electronic devices
- Bulky or loose clothing
- Hats or headgear (except those worn for religious reasons)
- Bags or purses
- Notebooks or reference books
- Food and drink
- Writing implements
- Good luck charms
When you arrive at the examination center, you will be told where to leave your bags and other personal items. Then, before you enter the examination room, you will be asked if you have any prohibited items and may be asked to empty your pockets.
It is important to note that PSI does not allow candidates to speak to one another in the test center. So, don’t be tempted to chat with your classmates if they are sitting their exams on the same day as you.
Then, it’s time to take your exam!
Step 5: Take the written exam
In Texas, the written Manicurist exam is completed on a computer. So, before your exam begins you will be directed to take a seat at a computer terminal.
Then, once you have taken your seat, your computer will prompt you to confirm:
- Your name
- Identification number
- And the examination that you are sitting
Next, you will be given 15 minutes to complete an introductory tutorial. This tutorial includes sample questions, but the time you take on this task doesn’t impact the amount of time you’ll have to complete your test.
When your test begins, you will have 90 minutes to answer 60 questions.
You will also be given an additional 10 minutes to answer 6 questions that will not be scored.
These extra questions are designed to help improve the examination for future students, and they do not affect your grade.
Your written Manicurist exam will include questions on the following topics:
- Licensing and Regulation – 9 questions
- Infection Control – 15 questions
- Nail Structure and Analysis – 12 questions
- Nail Care – 24 questions
And an in-depth breakdown of the topics included can be found here.
Step 6: Get your results
As soon as you complete your first exam, your results will appear on your computer screen.
Then, you will be given an official score sheet to take away with you.
In order to pass your written exam, you must score at least 70%. And if you fail, you will need to book your test again.
But, try not to be disheartened if you fail as you will be given a diagnostic report along with your score. This report shows which topics you struggled with, and can be used to target your revision so that you are as prepared as possible for your resit.
Or better yet, use our Nail Technician Exam Preparation Package to revise everything you need to know for your exam.
Step 7: Arrive at the test center to take your practical exam
Arriving at the test center to take your practical examination is almost identical to taking your written exam. You should aim to arrive 30 minutes early, will be asked to sign in, and will not be allowed to bring any prohibited items into the test area with you.
However, there are a couple of differences you should be aware of:
- You will be expected to wear closed-toe shoes. (If you don’t meet this requirement, you will not be allowed to sit your exam and your fee will be forfeited.)
- And, you will be expected to bring some supplies with you:
- Abrasive/nail files and buffers
- Application brush
- Cotton/ cotton pads
- Cuticle nippers
- Cuticle pusher
- Dappen dish
- Finger bowl
- Mannequin hand (prepped with tips to represent the natural nail)
- Nail forms
- Nail tips
- Orangewood stick
- Paper towels
- Tip cutter/large nail clipper
- 30×30 kit labeled as “Pre-sanitized, Clean or Disinfected”
- Blood exposure kit / first aid kit
- Cuticle oil
- Cuticle remover
- EPA-approved disinfectant or simulated product
- Hand sanitizer
- Nail adhesive
- Nail dehydrator/cleanser
- Odorless monomer and low odor primer for one nail. To maintain a safe environment, only odorless nail liquids may be used and ONLY bottles clearly marked “odorless” by the manufacturer’s label will be allowed.
- Polymer powder
- Trash bag(s)
Be sure to label your products properly, as failure to do so may result in the loss of points.
And finally, the following equipment will be provided for you:
- Brooms and dustpans
- Covered trash cans
- Mounted wall clock
- Work stations/ manicure table with chair
Step 8: Take your practical exam
After you have signed in and put away any prohibited items (including your purse, coat, etc.), it’s time to take your practical exam!
Inside your examination room, there will be:
- an examiner and
- one or more Rater(s).
The Rater(s) job is to assess and score your work. Because of this, they are not allowed to speak to candidates.
Your examiner, on the other hand, is there to facilitate your exam. They will welcome you to your exam and will give you verbal instructions before your test begins.
The examiner will also be able to answer questions you have about the exam in general (e.g. how much time you have left in any one section). But, they cannot give you any practical help with scored items.
After your examiner has welcomed you to your exam room, you will be given 1 hour and 21 minutes to complete your examination.
As your exam begins, you will be given 10 minutes to set-up and disinfect your workspace.
Then, you will be asked to demonstrate the following:
- Manicure – Time Allowed: 15 minutes
- Tip Application on One Nail – Time Allowed: 12 minutes
- Nail Enhancement with Form – Time Allowed: 22 minutes
- Blood Exposure Incident– Time Allowed: 12 minutes
- End of Examination Disinfection – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
Before each stage of the exam begins, your examiner will read detailed instructions telling you what you must demonstrate. They will also let you know when your time for each task is running out.
If you would like to read about each task in more detail, a full breakdown can be found here.
Once your exam is finished, you’ll be directed to take a seat to wait for your results. This should only take 5-10 minutes.
Step 9: Get your results
After 5-10 minutes, you will be given a printed score report. The passing grade for your practical exam is 70% (37 points out of 52).
If you have passed both your exams, you are now a qualified Manicurist- congratulations!
However, if you didn’t score 70% or higher, you’ll need to book your test again.
Step 10: Get your Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Manicurist (Nail Technician) license!
Now that you’ve passed both your written and practical exams, the only thing left to do is to get your license!
In the state of Texas, you don’t need to wait for your license to arrive in the post. You can start working straight away with your temporary license.
But, remember, you must apply for your temporary license before you sit your exams.
Your temporary license is valid for 21 days. And your permanent license should arrive within this timeframe.
The most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exams: the pass rate in Texas is only 49.43%% for the written exam! However, students who use our Nail Technician Exam Preparation Package has a pass rate of 98.5%!
Frequently asked questions about the Texas Manicurist exams
How do I apply for the Texas Manicurist examinations?
When you have reached the required number of study hours, your school will contact the TDLR. The TDLR will then send you instructions for booking your exams via PSI.
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 2 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 2 days notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.
How much does it cost to take the Texas Manicurist exams?
- Written Test- $50
Practical Test – $72
Where do the examinations take place?
The Texas Manicurist exams take place in PSI test centers.
How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the Texas Manicurist examinations?
To qualify for the TDLR examinations, candidates must have completed 600 hours of training.
Can I complete my hours through an apprenticeship instead of attending school in Texas?
No, the state of Texas does not currently recognize apprenticeships for Manicurists.
Can I take the State Board examinations before I’ve completed the required hours?
No, you must complete your hours before sitting your examinations.
How long is the Manicurist written examination?
When you arrive at your exam center, you will have 15 minutes to complete a tutorial explaining how to sit your exam. This does not affect how much time you have to take your examination.
Once you have completed your tutorial, you will then have 90 minutes to answer 60 graded questions, and 10 minutes to answer 6 non-graded questions.
What’s the format of the written Manicurist examination?
Your written exam will take place on a computer. And a breakdown of what each test includes can be found here.
If you want to familiarize yourself with the testing format, try out our practice tests [here].
How long is the Manicurist practical examination in Texas?
The Manicurist practical examination lasts for 1 hour and 21 minutes.
What’s the format of the practical examination?
You will be asked to demonstrate various Manicurist techniques that will be assessed by a Rater.
What scores do I need to pass each of the Manicurist exams?
- Written Exam – 70%
- Practical Exam – 70%
What’s the pass rate for Texas Manicurist exams?
The pass rates for the Texas Manicurist exams are:
Check if you’re on track to pass your exam by taking our free Nail Technician practice test.
Can I take my Manicurist examinations again if I fail?
How long does it take to train as a Manicurist in Texas?
To complete a Manicurist program in Texas, you must complete 600 hours of study.
The length of time needed to complete the designated hours varies between schools.
How do I transfer my Manicurist license to Texas?
If you meet certain requirements, you will be able to transfer your Manicurist license to Texas through an application for endorsement (this means that you won’t need to retake any exams).
To find out if you’re eligible for a Manicurist license in Texas, based on your existing qualifications, you first need to head over to the TDLR website.
You will then be asked to answer questions about your existing license and will be advised on your next steps.
How do I get my Manicurist license in Texas?
To get your Manicurist license in Texas, you need to graduate from a Manicurist program at a Beauty School school, having completed 600 hours of practical experience. You must also 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 Manicurist license in Texas?
In Texas, you must renew your Manicurist license every other year.
But, in order to renew your license, you must complete 4 hours of training. These short courses are known as ‘continuing education’ and are provided by many schools and organizations.
Once you have completed your mandatory training, you can apply to renew your license here.
The cost of renewing your license is currently $50.
How should I study for the Texas Manicurist written exam?
As we’ve seen, the pass rates for the TDLR Manicurist written exam are far lower than for the practical. So, it’s a good idea to use our Nail Technician Exam Preparation Package to learn everything you need to pass the written exam.
Then use our simulated exams to practice for the written exam under test conditions. This part is really important: it’s the key to helping you succeed!