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Manicure Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Manicure technicians, or manicurists, perform manicures, pedicures, acrylic nail applications and other nail maintenance services. Nail salons, resorts and day spas are typical work environments for manicure technicians, though some choose self-employment. Completion of a cosmetology training program and state licensure are required to become a manicurist.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

Manicure technicians should have high school diplomas or GED certificates. Most manicure technicians begin training by enrolling in state-approved cosmetology certificate programs. With cosmetology certificates, manicure technicians can seek cosmetology licensure.

Manicure technicians must have exceptional customer service and communication skills. They must be able to understand client manicure and pedicure needs and provide safe nail services. Manicure technicians may also be required to perform scheduling or administrative tasks in order to acquire new clients and deal with beauty industry vendors. Greater employment opportunities typically await manicure technicians who have additional skills in hairstyling or skin care.

Formal Education

Like other beauty industry professionals, manicure technicians are required to complete cosmetology training programs. Most programs culminate in certificates; however, associate's degree programs are available.

Cosmetology Certificate

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. Certificates typically require 1-2 semesters of study and include courses in the following:

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

Job Experience

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.

Licenses and Certifications

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.

Workshops and Seminars

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.

Additional Professional Development

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.

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