Nail Technician Certification Program Overviews

Read about curricula of nail technician certificate programs. Learn about required licensure, and find out about projected job growth for nail technicians.

Essential Information

Nail technician certificate programs usually are offered by cosmetology schools and community colleges and can be completed in about one semester. Aside from having a high school education, prospective students might need to meet age requirements. Applicants often gain practical, hands-on experience in a salon-style setting.

In addition to teaching manicure and pedicure techniques, these programs help students develop the communication and interpersonal skills needed in this profession. Students also learn about laws and regulations that govern nail technicians in the state in which they plan to work. Other topics covered include sanitation, workplace safety and skin care, as well as nail care, disorders and diseases.

Students who complete nail technician certificate programs often work for beauty salons or go into business for themselves. Before beginning work, they'll need to secure state licensure.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants are typically required to have completed high school or earned a GED. In addition, most schools require that applicants be at least 16 years old before enrolling.

Course Topics

The curriculum includes lectures, lab studies and working with models in preparation for hands-on work in a real-time salon setting. Topics of study may include:

  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Artificial nails
  • Salon management
  • Advanced nail care
  • Cosmetology practices

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the increase in the number of nail salons and full-services spas would contribute to nail technicians having a faster than average employment growth ( Employment of nail technicians was expected to grow by 19% between 2008 and 2018, stated the bureau. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary of a nail technician was $19,650 as of May 2010.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Although certification is not required for nail technicians, state licensure is a requirement before nail technicians can begin work. Licensing regulations differ by state, but most states require that applicants complete a state-approved cosmetology program and pass an examination. The examination usually consists of a practical component and written test.

According to reports by the BLS, the best employment opportunities would be for workers with training in more than one specialty. Graduates of nail technician programs may choose to pursue further training in other areas of personal appearance or may pursue associate's degree programs in cosmetology.

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