Nail Certification and Certificate Programs

A nail technician certificate program primes students for licensing exams, as they learn about relevant techniques, business procedures and safety protocols. These programs are typically offered at for-profit cosmetology schools and 2-year community and technical colleges.

Essential Information

Certificate of achievement programs in nail care are intended to prepare individuals for state licensing exams and are the most common form of training for nail technicians. Curriculum covers basic procedures, salon and spa operations, safety and sanitation, skin disorders and diseases, professionalism, communication and ethics. Students will also learn about nail art and how to perform manicures and pedicures.

  • Program Levels: Certification and associate's
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or equivalent; in some instances, clear tuberculosis results
  • Program Length: Sometimes, up to 2 years
  • Online Availability: Online programs are available

Nail Technician Certificate

Students in nail technician certificate programs may take a single overview class or multiple classes that cover some of the following topics:

  • Introduction to nail technology
  • Fundamentals of cosmetology science
  • Basic nail care
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Artificial nails

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that between 2014 and 2024, employment opportunities for manicurists and pedicurists would increase at a rate of 10%. The mean annual wage for these professionals was $22,500 as of May 2014 (

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Nail technicians are not required to obtain certification. However, licensure is required in all states. Common prerequisites include completion of a state-approved program and earning a high school diploma. Also, applicants must complete a written examination and a practical test. Technicians interested in further nail care training may pursue an associate degree in cosmetology, which includes education in nail, hair and skin care.

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