Nail care training provided by nail technician certificates and cosmetology diplomas consists of courses in skin care, nail art and special procedures such as applying artificial nails. Students also learn about nail diseases, sanitation regulations and safety procedures.
Earning a certificate or diploma in this field takes 1-2 years and can prepare graduates for nail technician licensure, which is required in all states except Connecticut. Prerequisites for certificate or diploma programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Certificate Programs for Nail Technicians
Certificate programs prepare students for entry-level work in salons and spas performing manicures, pedicures and other forms of nail care. These career-focused programs include training in nail diseases, skin care and nail art. Students learn relevant professional issues including sanitation, safety, local laws and applicable regulations. Coursework includes both classroom learning and extensive hands-on training. Common courses include:
- Basic nail care
- Manicures and pedicures
- Overlays, tips and fill-ins
- Salon and spa management
- Customer service
Diploma Programs in Cosmetology
These programs train students to perform manicures and pedicures, hair coloring, barbering, chemical relaxing and skin care. Additionally, they provide basic business skills that prepare students for customer-focused employment and management opportunities. Students are taught diverse skills through classroom-based and hands-on learning. The curriculum offers training in:
- Hair and scalp treatments
- Nail technology
- Fundamentals of haircutting
- Hair waving and relaxing
- Salon management
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Nail technicians held approximately 113,600 jobs in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The majority were employed in salons and spas. Between 2014 and 2024, manicurists and pedicurists can expect to see a job growth of 10%. Two primary factors in this expected rise are the demand for innovative nail services and an increased awareness of grooming practices. The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $10.01, or $20,820 annually, as reported in May 2015.
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
Nail technicians are required by all states to hold licenses. Though licensing regulations vary by state, most require an individual to complete an accredited training program, possess a high school diploma or GED, be at least 16 years of age and pass a licensing examination. The exam always includes a written portion and a practical test or oral exam. Those interested in pedicurist careers are not generally required to pursue advanced education. However, individuals seeking advancement into roles such as salon management can take business courses.
Training to become a professional pedicurist is available through nail technician certificate programs and cosmetology diploma programs. While both options include training in nail care topics, cosmetology programs also cover hair care subjects and may take longer to complete.