CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 06, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Become a Nail Technician

If your friends are always asking you to do their nails, and you have a passion for making people look and feel beautiful, you may have the beginnings of a successful career as a nail technician.

 

What does a nail technician do?

A nail technician’s job is to keep her clients’ nails healthy and looking great. Those tasks include:

 

  • Giving manicures and pedicures
  • Removing and/or applying polish
  • Shaping and filing nails
  • Adding/removing nail extensions
  • Painting intricate designs on polished nails
  • Advising clients on how to take care of their nails
  • Recommending products
  • Staying on top of the latest trends in nail artistry
  • Maintaining and cleaning equipment and tools
  • Scheduling appointments and processing payments

 

Where does a nail technician work?

Most nail technicians work in salons or spas. Some of them work for the salon or spa, while others rent booths – basically running their own nail business inside a salon owned by someone else. Mobile nail care is becoming popular, too, as customers love the convenience of having their nails done at home.

 

What does a nail technician make?

 

Entry level

Median

Experienced

U.S.

$16,650

$19,200

$29,560

UK

£12,000

£16,246

£25,000

 

What are the job prospects?

If your friends are always asking you to do their nails, and you have a passion for making people look and feel beautiful, you may find a successful career as a nail technician.

What does a nail technician do?

A nail technician’s job is to keep her clients’ nails healthy and looking great. Those tasks include:

  • Giving manicures and pedicures
  • Removing and/or applying polish
  • Shaping and filing nails
  • Adding/removing nail extensions
  • Painting intricate designs on polished nails
  • Advising clients on how to take care of their nails
  • Recommending products
  • Staying on top of the latest trends in nail artistry
  • Maintaining and cleaning equipment and tools
  • Scheduling appointments and processing payments

Where does a nail technician work?

Most nail technicians work in salons or spas. Some of them work for the salon or spa, while others rent booths – basically running their own nail business inside a salon owned by someone else. Mobile nail care is becoming popular, too, as customers love the convenience of having their nails done at home.

What does a nail technician make?

Income potential depends on many factors, including experience, popularity with clients, hours worked, etc. In the U.S., a nail technician working fulltime will make an average of $19,200/year, with the salary range extending from $16,650 on the low end to $29,560 on the high end. Most nail technicians in the UK make an annual income between £12,000 and £16,000. Experienced technicians sometimes earn as much as £25,000.

What are the job prospects?

Even in a tough economy, the beauty industry is growing. Nails Magazine reported in their 2013-14 report on industry statistics that money spent on salon services has grown by 12 percent and that people spent $8.2 billion on nail services in just one year.

What are the educational/training requirements?

That depends on where you live. In the UK, there are no special educational requirements for nail technicians. Certifications are available, however, and may give you an edge when you’re looking for a job. They include:

 

  • Level 1 Award in Nail Treatments
  • Level 2 Certificate in Nail Treatments
  • Level 2 Certificate in Nail Technology/Nail Art
  • Level 2 Diploma in Nail Technology Services
  • Level 3 Certificate in Nail Technologies
  • Level 3 Certificate in Airbrush Designs for Nails
  • Level 3 (NQV) Diploma in Nail Services
  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Development for Beauty, Nails and Spa Therapy 

In the U.S., on the other hand, nail technicians must be licensed. While the licensing requirements vary by state, most states require at least 200 hours of training before you can take the board exams to get your license. On average, U.S. nail technicians complete 375 hours of training over a period of three to 12 months. Common courses include:

  • History of Nail Care
  • Personal Hygiene and Public Health
  • Massage Techniques for Hands, Arms and Feet
  • Bacteriology and Disorders of the Nails

Licensing requirements also include on-the-job training in addition to coursework, and licenses have to be renewed regularly (schedules vary by state).

Does this sound like a career you would love? If so, start by checking local requirements to find out what, if any, education and licensing you need. That will be your first step in pursuing a career as a nail technician.

 

photo credit: freeimages

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