version 5, draft 5

How to Become a Manicurist in the USA

nail technicial manicurist

There is much more to stunning toenails and fingernails than meets the eye. Maintaining healthy nails takes a substantial amount of effort particularly as you grow older. Manicurists, are specialists who work in spas, resorts, and salons to ensure that your hands and nails stay healthy and attractive. Some of them work as freelance manicurists. If you have a passion for cosmetics and nails this could be the career for you.

What Do Manicurists Do?

Duties performed by manicurists include but are not limited to:

  • Removing rough skin and nail polish
  • Discussing nail treatments and the available services
  • Trimming, cleaning and filing nails
  • Massaging and moisturizing hands for a manicure
  • Cleaning and disinfecting work areas and tools
  • Promoting and selling nail care products
  • Advising clients about nail and skin care
  • Polishing or buffing nails


Earnings for manicurists depend on their location, employer and dedication. Generally, they take home a median annual median salary of about $19,792. Below are their earnings in various locations:


Median Annual Salary



District of Columbia




North Carolina










Source: Salary


To be effective in their job, manicurists need to have the following imperative qualities:

  • High concentration levels
  • A diligent attention to detail
  • Dexterity and steady arm coordination
  • Excellent people skills and service orientation
  • Ability to keep abreast of the fashion trends
  • A resilient grasp of health and safety procedures
  • Patience and creativity
  • Good communication skills
  • Social perceptiveness to understand the concerns and reactions of other people
  • Ability to follow instructions from clients


Aspiring manicure technicians are required to obtain at least a GED or a high school diploma. A large number of candidates start by taking cosmetology certificate curricula that are state-approved. Once they attain the cosmetology certificate, manicurists are eligible for licensure. Just like other beauty experts, manicurists are required to complete cosmetology training courses. These courses award certificates; nevertheless, there are some institutions that offer associate’s degree programs.

The cosmetology certificate teaches students about the safe provision of beauty services. Students learn about nail services, haircutting, hairstyling and make-up application. These programs include class teaching and hands-on training in beauty labs. They sometimes offer services for clients who visit training institutions. Cosmetology certificates usually take 1-2 semesters to complete. They typically comprise of the following courses:

  • Business of beauty services
  • Cosmetology theory
  • Customer service practices
  • Haircutting and hairstyling
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Safety and sanitation

A large number of employers prefer manicurists who have attained at least two years of experience. As such, it is advisable to undertake work experience before seeking formal employment. Even though manicurists are also cosmetologists, the manicure license varies from the cosmetology license in the majority of states. This licensure is achieved after completing a state-approved program and passing exams that test your competency. There are also many online manicurist workshops for those professionals who want to expand their knowledge and replenish their skills.

Career prospects

According to the BLS, job opportunities in the cosmetology industry are estimated to increase by 16% between 2012 and 2022. This is attributed to the increase in demand for emergent nail services such as mobile pedicures and manicures, and mini sessions. The desire among the young generation to look good has also contributed tremendously to the demand for manicurist services.

If you enjoy boosting other people’s confidence by enhancing their image and would like to turn your hobby into a lucrative job, this might be the career for you!

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'





Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'

G up arrow
</script> </script>