A cosmetology certificate program teaches students how to safely provide beauty services. Programs allow students to practice hairstyling, haircutting, make-up application and nail services in beauty labs. Many programs allow students to provide services for clients who visit the school. Prerequisites for 1-2 semester cosmetology certificate training programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent.
These certificate programs are commonly available at community colleges, technical schools and beauty academies. Programs typically include courses in the following:
- Cosmetology theory
- Haircutting and hairstyling
- Customer service practices
- Safety and sanitation
- Manicures and pedicures
- Business of beauty services
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment rate for manicurists and pedicurists is 10% between 2014 and 2024, faster than the national average for all occupations. The median salary for manicurists and pedicurists was $20,820 in May 2015.
Salons, resorts and day spas generally require manicure technicians to have at least two years of experience. Entry-level opportunities may be available for manicurists with less than two years of experience, though employees are expected to be proficient in nail services prior to employment. To gain experience, manicurists often offer services to clients through self-employment.
America's Beauty Network provides online workshops for manicurists, as well as home-study courses that provide manicurists with distinct lesson plans and quizzes. These workshops focus on manicure practices, pedicure practices and marketing skills for manicurists. Although workshops are available to all manicure technicians, members of America's Beauty Network receive generous discounts.
To learn more about the industry and strengthen career opportunities, manicure technicians can seek membership with the International Nail Technicians Association (INTA). The INTA is a network sponsored by America's Beauty Network. Membership to the organization provides manicurists with monthly newsletters, discounts on manicure and pedicure supplies, career and networking information, subscription to Nailpro magazine and admission to beauty trade shows. The INTA also provides continuing education credits and scholarship opportunities to qualified manicure technicians.
Manicurists can also develop professionally by adding additional skills to their repertoires. Manicurists who can perform hairstyling, haircutting, shampooing and skin care services often experience greater career opportunities.
Manicure and Pedicure License
Manicure technicians are considered to be cosmetologists and are therefore required to be licensed. In most states, manicure licensure is different than general cosmetology licensure. To obtain manicure and pedicure licensure, manicure technicians must complete state-accredited programs and pass exams that address nail services and safe practices. Exams test manicurists' technical knowledge and practical cosmetology skills.
A cosmetology certificate earned from a beauty school, vocational school or community college provides the training needed to become a professional manicure technician. Manicurists are also encouraged to seek out online continuing education courses, workshops and memberships available to them in order to further their career opportunities and enrich professional development.