Certificate programs in nail care focus on specialty areas, such as pedicures, skin care, and waxing. Pedicurists interested in owning their own salon or managing an existing one may benefit from a cosmetology associate's degree program, where a focus on all aspects of the personal appearance industry is provided. No matter which training program is completed, pedicure technicians must appear neat, act friendly and maintain sanitary conditions and equipment at their workstation. Pedicure technicians double as manicurists, and they often supply their own equipment.
Certificate programs take less than one year to complete, while associate's degree programs take up to two years. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission into either program.
Certificate Programs in Nail Care
Certificate programs are taken in a salon-style classroom with minimal lecture time. Emphasis is placed on actual hands-on nail care techniques that are instructed and supervised by the teacher. Students can learn about such topics as:
- Nail shaping, trimming, filing, and polishing
- Acrylic nails
- Nail art and design
- Nail tip applications
Associate of Applied Science in Cosmetology
A cosmetology associate's degree program emphasizes all aspects of personal beauty care. Students hone their skills in haircutting, styling and coloring, as well as nail and skin care techniques. Most courses are held in salon-style settings. Actual customers pay discounted rates for services performed by students. Additional coursework may include:
- Business management
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
There were 83,840 pedicurists and manicurists employed in the U.S. as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that this field will grow by 10% between 2014-2024, which is faster than the average. The median hourly wage for pedicurists and manicurists is $10.01 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
State-mandated licensure is necessary for all nail care technicians. Licensure varies with each state. Most states require professionals to complete an accredited cosmetology school program, and pass a written examination as well as a practical, hands-on exam, reports the BLS. Applicants are responsible for initial licensing fees and all renewal fees required by their state. Licensed cosmetologists may act as pedicure technicians or perform other beauty services.
Pedicurists must also be very familiar with diverse product offerings and recommend the most appropriate selection for each client. Annual beauty seminars and trade shows demonstrate the latest trends, styles, techniques, and equipment for pedicure technicians and other personal beauty professionals. These one-day seminars serve as professional forums for nail technicians, skin care professionals and cosmetologists.
Aspiring pedicure technicians can choose between a certificate program in nail care or an associate's degree in cosmetology to gain the skills needed to become a professional nail technician. Cosmetology degrees offer additional training in hair cutting, styling and business and take longer to complete than certificate programs.