Are you looking for an exciting career that allows you to interact with people, increase their happiness, and help them feel good about themselves and improve the way they look? If so, a career as a nail technician is right for you.
The purpose of this website is to provide you with all the information that you will need in order to understand what a nail tech does, what you will learn at a nail tech school, and also give an overall idea of what the costs of nail technician school include.
Our goal is for our readers to walk away with a clear picture in mind of not only the training and work involved in becoming a nail technician but also the rewards that come from choosing this career.
Jump to Your Question:
- Nail Technician Job Description
- How to Become a Nail Technician or Manicurist/Pedicurist
- How Long Is the Training to Become a Nail Technician?
- How Much Does Nail Technician School Cost?
- Nail Technician License and Certification
- Finding the Nail Tech School That Is Right for You
- Best Nail Technician Schools by State
- Best Nail Technician Schools by Cities
- Nail Technician Schools Online
- Field of Cosmetology and Related Occupancies
- Nail Technician Salary – How Much Does a Nail Tech Make?
- Job Outlook for Nail Technicians
- Career Paths Nail Techs Can Take
- Typical Day in the Life of a Nail Technician
Nail Technician Job Description
A manicurist or a nail tech is an individual who specializes in everything that has to do with grooming the nails on the hands and feet. This includes cleaning the nails, trimming them, and polishing them. They are also qualified to give nail extensions, apply artificial nails, acrylic nails, and basically do anything else connected with the beautifying of the nails.
One of the services that nail technicians provide, that are favored by clients, is that of giving pedicures. However, the work that a nail tech does goes above and beyond just making their customer’s toenails and fingernails look attractive.
They also specialize in maintaining the health of their customer’s nails. They do this by providing cuticle care and doing hand, foot, and calf massages. They will also apply scrubs, moisturizers, and wax dips to their customer’s feet and calves with the goal of increasing their customer’s comfort.
Nail technicians must be extremely observant. They must be able to look at their client’s nails and assess the health of the nails. They must also be trained enough to provide good suggestions on how clients can strengthen and improve the appearance of their nails.
How to Become a Nail Technician or Manicurist/Pedicurist
In order to work as a nail technician, an individual must meet the licensing requirements set out by the state. In order to do this, they will have to attend a cosmetology school or a nail school that meets state curriculum.
If an individual chooses to go the route of cosmetology school, they will be engaging in a longer training period simply because cosmetology school is designed to not only teach about the nails, but it is also designed to teach about the hair, application of makeup, and skin care.
Conversely, if an individual chooses to enroll in a nail specific program, the education time is shorter because the program is designed to specifically focus on nail technician training.
In order to take nail technician courses, most states require an individual to be at least 16 years old and to have completed high school or to have a GED.
Through the course of their training, an individual studying to be a nail technician is going to learn about different infirmities that affect the nails. They will also become familiarized with the chemicals and other products that are used to maintain proper nail hygiene.
Sterilization, disinfection, and maintaining public health and safety are of paramount concern to a nail technicians, and therefore, weigh heavily in the course curriculum.
During training, perspective nail techs will also learn about state laws pertaining to safety. They will learn what procedures to follow if their client sustains an injury while they are doing a manicure or pedicure. They will also learn about certain massage techniques, ways to scope and curl nails, and some of the technology that is used in giving a manicure and pedicure.
Also they will learn hygiene, sterilization, and sanitation. Students will study nail disorders and must come to understand the theory behind the practice of manicuring and pedicures. Time will be spent on advanced nail techniques. The anatomy and physiology of the nails of the hands and feet will be discussed.
Nail technicians will learn about salon management and how to start a mobile nail salon. They will become well-versed in the state laws and regulations that govern their work.
Additional subjects that may be discussed are hot stone pedicures, electric drill usage, nail repair procedures, hand and arm massage, foot massage, nail art, and a whole host of other subjects related to the care of the nails on the hand and feet.
Typical nail tech classes you will take in nail school:
Schools that train nail technicians will usually use a mixture of book theory and practical learning. This means that students will have hands-on training with clients while they are undergoing their training courses.
This hands-on time allows the student to become familiar with working with actual customers and will allow them to take the book knowledge that they have learned and use it in a real-world setting. This will better equip them to pass any licensing exams.
After receiving this training, an individual will have to take an exam that is required by the state. Before an individual can work as a nail technician, they must pass this exam and receive a nail technician license.
How Long Is the Training to Become a Nail Technician?
The average number of training hours around the country is approximately 375 hours. Some states will allow students to work as an apprentice in order to get some of the training hours required.
However, the vast majority of states require that students receive the majority of the training while in a classroom setting.
In addition to varying requirements from state to state, there are also different programs that an individual can enroll in. Some programs are part-time, while others allow students to attend full-time.
Obviously, if a student is attending a part-time program, they can expect the amount of months that they are in training to be longer than that of an individual who is attending full-time.
On average, students will spend between 3 to 12 months in training. However, it is a good idea for student to speak with the school that they are looking at enrolling with in order to get a better idea of the amount of time that is going to be required.
Some students have chosen to pursue additional education to receive the title of master nail technician. Obviously, this will extend the amount of time and the amount of schooling that a student would receive. In some states, becoming a master nail technician requires a student to also pass a master nail technician exam.
How Much Does Nail Technician School Cost?
There is a lot of variation in the tuition costs for nail schools. This variation exists because of differences in the amount of hours required per state for nail technician courses. Additionally, different schools require their students to purchase different types of equipment in order to work with the program.
Location is also a factor that must be considered when examining the cost of nail schools. For example, individuals attending nail technician schools in large metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, California and New York, can expect to pay more money than an individual who is attending the same type of school in a rural area in Minnesota.
The type of training that a person chooses will also play a factor in the amount they will have to pay. If an individual chooses to attend a comprehensive cosmetology program, they should expect the tuition to be somewhat higher than an individual who chooses to just attend a nail technician program.
When speaking to administrators prior to enrolling in a nail technician school, it is a good idea to ask about the tuition cost. Also, ask about costs that are not included in the tuition, such as the price of textbooks, chemicals, polishes, and nail care products that might be used or any other supplies that require an out-of-pocket contribution by the students.
On average, an individual looking to take a nail technician course of between 300 hours to 600 hours will be looking at paying between $3,000 and $5,000. This price includes textbooks and additional supplies. Some higher end schools will charge between $5000-$9000. Once again, when discussing tuition it is a good idea to factor in the amount that must be paid for supplies, books, aprons, and any additional tools that will be used during the training.
Nail Technician License and Certification
Once a student has completed the required hours of training, they are then able to take their licensing exam. Once the board exams have been passed for the state, nail technicians are required to renew their license on a regular basis.
Some states will require nail technicians to take additional education prior to renewing their license.
Additionally, some states will require nail technicians to take safety and sanitation quizzes in order to guarantee that the nail technician understands and is still following the guidelines laid out by the state. To find out more information about licence requirements in various states find your state on this page.
Finding the Nail Tech School That Is Right for You
Since everyone learns at a different rate and with different styles, in order to be successful, it is going to be imperative that an individual looking to become a nail technician finds a school that will teach them according to their style.
It will require a little bit of work on the part of the individual looking for the training, but in the long run, it will be beneficial.
The first step that an individual looking for a nail tech school should do is search for beauty or nail tech schools that are in their area. They should request information from the schools they find.
Best Nail Technician Schools by Cities
New York City
Once an admissions representative contacts them, they should be ready with a series of questions to ask the admissions representative. Examples of questions that students looking for nail tech schools can ask are the following:
After asking these questions, students should consider other things. For example, they should think of the proximity of the school to their home or job. It is also a good idea to look into financial aid. Prospective nail school students should not be afraid to ask questions, and then ask more questions.
It is important for students to feel comfortable with the manicurist school that they are going to attend prior to choosing to attend it. This is the only way that they are going to be able to guarantee that they will get the most out of their tuition dollars and walk away understanding the subjects that they are learning.
Nail Technician Schools Online
Individuals who are looking to become nail technicians, but who have busy schedules, are interested in learning about nail tech schools online. Some wonder, can I attend a nail tech school online and still qualify to take the board exams?
How much should I expect to pay for online nail technician training? Will the training I received require me to do an internship? How will I engage in hands-on training? All of these questions are extremely important, and the answer to each question is going to vary depending on the circumstances in which a student is looking to get their nail technician certification.
The state where an individual is looking to get board certified is going to play a part in answering some of the above mentioned questions. Every single state in the United States requires that the vast majority or all of the training hours happen in the classroom.
The reason for this is because a lot of the skills connected to being a nail tech require hands-on training. Students will be shown how to carry out a procedure, they will carry out the procedure, receive instructions and then repeat the process again. However, there are many schools that are offering parts of their nail courses online.
Nail technician schools online focus on teaching students theory. They cover aspects of becoming a nail technician that do not require hands-on work.
There are several organizations that offer nail technician certification online or online nail art school. Individuals who are interested in nail technician schools online may want to look at specialty schools, such as the MediNail Learning Center, which offers a specialized online certification program designed for individuals who wish to work in the medical field as a medical nail technician.
These individuals may work with a podiatrist in a medical spa. To find out more information about online nail technician courses check out this page.
Field of Cosmetology and Related Occupancies
Cosmetology is a growing field across the country and an excellent choice if you are hoping to better your career path and change your life. Cosmetology has a wide range of skills and practices, including hair, nails, face and skin care.
You can get as technical or as basic as you want with some estheticians having degrees bound in science and medicine and other nail technician certifications that allow them to practice what they love in a short time. Check out some of the basics of the many career paths within cosmetology, and discover what might be right for your interests and talents.
Brief Overview of Jobs in Cosmetology Field
As you know, a nail technician holds a basic cosmetology job and works directly with a client’s fingernails and toenails. He or she would groom and shape them, provide polishing and artificial nails and keeping the skin of the hands and feet soft and supple. Many clients love having nail treatments because it helps them feel special and lets them show their personalities off in delightful ways.
A professional makeup artist provides a variety of facial looks for women who are celebrating special occasions, searching for new looks or modeling for photographs. These artists can help with everything from everyday makeup looks to facial prosthetics for movies. This could be a good fit for you if you love to paint, blend colors and be creative.
A professional esthetician works with the skin to clean, soften and smooth it and to provide anti-aging or anti-acne treatments. These professionals may have more advanced degrees and may be able to educate clients on the science behind skincare. For example, a paramedical esthetician consults with patients who have had plastic surgery.
A professional hairstylist washes, cuts, styles, dyes and highlights a client’s hair along with many other add-on services to improve the appearance of the hair. Hairstyling can be a very creative process, especially in the high fashion world. Continuing education is a must for the stylist to stay up-to-date on new styles and methods.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetology as a whole is expected to grow significantly at a 10% increase in the decade ending in 2024. Prospective jobs are plentiful across the country, allowing these individuals to choose full-time versus part-time work and employment with a salon or other agency versus self-employment or freelance work.
With so many creative options, these types of jobs are great fits for men and women who love to challenge themselves, work one-on-one with individuals and constantly learn and grow.
Nail Technician Salary – How Much Does a Nail Tech Make?
The average nail technician salary is going to vary depending on the state where the nail technician is practicing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2013 data, on the low end, a nail technician may expect to receive $16,650. On the high-end they can earn upwards of $29,560. Both of these figures are pre-tip salaries.
There are different factors that will influence the amount of money that a nail technician will make. These factors include the state where they work, if they are self-employed, or if they work for a company.
The following is a list of average nail technician salaries based on place of employment:
Nail Technicians Wages by Location
As previously mentioned, wages for nail technicians will vary by state. The states of Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas and South Dakota are the states that pay technicians the highest.
|State||Hourly Wage||Weekly Wage||Monthly Salary||Annual Salary|
Nail technicians looking to work abroad should expect to earn approximately £15,500 ($26,106 USD)in the United Kingdom. Those working in Australia will earn between AU$20,500 ($20,500 USD) and AU$50,465 ($47,210 USD) annually. Those looking to work in Canada can expect to receive between C$18,242 ($16,742 USD) and C$37,260($34,180 USD) annually.
Relation between Years of Experience and Salary for Nail Technicians
According to the bureau of labor statistics, on average a nail technician in the United States is going to start working from between $7.25 an hour and $15.43 an hour. Throughout the course of employment, a nail technician can expect to receive wage increases from between $.90 to $7.55. On average, they will receive bonuses throughout the year in total of $986.
The BLS reports that nail technicians with 1 to 4 years of experience should expect to earn between $9,800 and $47,678. Nail technicians with 5 to 9 years of experience should expect their salary to increase to between $11,548 and $88,188 annually.
Workers with 10 to 19 years of experience can expect between $12,000 and $48,980. Those with more than 20 years of experience will earn between $9,731 and $49,585 annually. A nail techn salary will also very depending on what they do.
If an individual is a full cosmetologist and they have a license that allows them to do hair, makeup, and skin services, their earning potential skyrockets dramatically. Cosmetologists, before making money through tips, will average between $16,850-$42,360 annually.
Check out this video for the Nail Tech Salary Advice
Job Outlook for Nail Technicians
The outlook for nail technician jobs is phenomenal. According to the industry statistics that were published in Nails Magazine, the money that people spent on their nails at the salon over the last year has increased by 12 percent.
It is estimated that more than $8.2 billion was spent on nail care services. It is also estimated that nail care technicians have had nail tech jobs for more than 12 years.
Career Paths Nail Techs Can Take
The options that are available for nail technicians are endless. When you look at nail technician resumes, you see that they include not only working in salons, but they also include working in the medical field. Many nail technicians work as employees in salons and spas.
Others have in-home services where they visit their clients at their home. Some work as managers, and others have gone back to school to be instructors. It is estimated, according to Nails Magazine, that 33 percent of licensed nail techs own their own salon.
Check out this video for Career Advice on becoming a Nail Technician Franchise Owner.
Typical Day in the Life of a Nail Technician
The typical day of a nail technician is going to be busy. They will start the morning looking over the appointments that they have and reviewing the clients are coming into the salon.
They will check the services that they will need to provide and make sure that they have all of the tools necessary. During their free time, they will schedule new appointments and confirm future appointments.
Nail technicians will spend time preparing their station and making sure that their files, emery boards, cuticle knifes, and other tools are clean. In this field, attention to detail is everything. In order to be a good nail technician, a person must be organized and detail orientated.
When a nail technician meets with the client, they will spend time discussing the challenges they are facing with their nails. Prior to doing a manicure or pedicure, a nail technician will ask their customer about the reason behind the procedure.
Is it a special occasion? Or is it a weekly or bimonthly touch-up that they regularly schedule? Having this information will allow the technician to adjust the way that they do the procedure. A manicurist will take the time to get to know their clients.
They understand that their clients have options when it comes to getting manicures and pedicures done, and so they will strive to build customer loyalty by developing strong customer relationships. Their business is built on customer retention and customer referrals.
Finally, the technician will do the manicure or pedicure. They may give the client a brief massage on their hands, their feet, or their calves.
Some oils and lotions may be used in order to help the client feel relaxed. Finally, at the end of the appointment, the technician will schedule the next appointment.
They will emphasize to their client the importance of doing regular maintenance in order to keep their nails looking awesome.
Nail technicians have an exciting job. In order to get new customers and to retain customers, they must transmit the happiness they feel about doing their job to their customers. Customers who are treated well love to refer their friends to their nail technician. A good technician will continually be taking steps to get their business and their clientele to grow.
Check out this video to get a sense of the typical day as a nail tech.