Pedicure Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Pedicure technicians gain their professional expertise by completing a certificate program in nail care or an associate's degree program in cosmetology. Both of these training programs combine classroom-style theoretical courses with practical nail care experience gleaned in salon-style laboratories.

Essential Information

All pedicure technicians and other personal appearance professionals must be state-licensed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Minimum requirements for licensure include completing an accredited certificate program in nail care. Certificate programs 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 there is focus on all aspects of the personal appearance industry.

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 too, and they often supply their own equipment.

  • Program Levels in Nail Care: Certificate or associate's level
  • Program Length: Less than one year for a certificate, up to two years for an associate's degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Extensive hands-on training

Certificate Programs in Nail Care

Certificate programs in nail care may be completed in less than one year - as little as two semesters. This type of program is 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:

  • Shape, trim, file, and polish
  • 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. This degree program usually takes almost two years to complete. Licensed cosmetologists may act as pedicure technicians or perform other beauty services. Additional coursework may include:

  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Marketing

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

There are nearly 90,000 pedicurists and manicurists currently employed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that this field will grow by 16% between 2012-2022, which is faster than average. The median hourly wage for pedicurists and manicurists is $9.43 as of May 2014, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

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.

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.

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