Pedicure Diplomas and Certification Program Overviews

Students interested in obtaining pedicure skills can pursue nail technician certificates or cosmetology diplomas. Nail technician certificate programs consist of a few courses in manicures, pedicures and general nail care. Cosmetology diploma programs provide nail care courses as well, but they also offer courses in hair styling and coloring.

Essential Information

Training in nail care at both levels 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 can prepare graduates for nail technician licensure, which is required in all states except Connecticut. A diploma in cosmetology may take 1-2 years to complete.

  • Program Levels in Nail Care: Certificate and diploma programs
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
  • Program Length: 1-2 years
  • Other Requirements: State licensure (except in Connecticut)
  • Experiential Learning: Hands-on training

Certificate Programs for Nail Technicians

These 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
  • Shampooing
  • Salon management

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Nail technicians held approximately 79,090 jobs in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The majority were employed in salons and spas. Between 2012 and 2022, manicurists and pedicurists can expect to see job growth of 16%. Two primary factors in this expected rise are the demand for innovative nail services and an increased awareness of grooming practices. The median hourly wages for manicurists and pedicurists was $9.43 in May 2014, $19,620 annually.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Nail technicians are required by all states to hold certification. Though certification 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.

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