Nail Technician Certification Program Overviews

Nail technician certificate programs usually are offered by cosmetology schools and community colleges. Applicants often gain practical, hands-on experience in a salon-style setting.

Essential Information

Nail technician certificate programs can typically be completed in one semester. 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.

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.

Program Length: One semester


Nail Technician Certificate Programs

The curriculum of nail technician programs 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 (www.bls.gov). Employment of nail technicians was expected to grow by 16% between 2012 and 2022, stated the bureau. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary of a nail technician was $19,920 in 2012.

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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