Job Description of a Manicure Technician

Sep 09, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a manicure technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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Manicurists are employed in a few different settings, such as spas and salons, to groom and paint fingernails. No advanced degree is required in order to become a manicurist, but employers often prefer employees to have completed formal training at a cosmetology school. Licensure is often required as well, which involves passing a written exam.

Essential Information

Manicure technicians, also known as nail technicians or manicurists, provide nail services to customers at spas, salons and barber shops. Some manicure technicians may be self-employed. Their duties include shaping and polishing fingernails while observing sanitation and safety practices. Most states require licensing for manicure technicians. Requirements vary, but they usually call for completing a nail technician or cosmetology program and passing written and practical examinations to obtain state licensing.

Required Education Nail technician or cosmetology program
Licensing Must pass state licensing examinations
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% for manicurists and pedicurists
Median Salary (2018)* $24,330 for manicurists and pedicurists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Manicure Technician Job Description

Manicure technicians specialize in nail artistry, including painting, airbrushing and polishing of fingernails and toenails. Technicians also perform nail grooming, including nail cleaning and cutting. Manicure technicians must keep up to date with the latest nail products, techniques and trends. They may also promote various products by providing demonstrations.


Daily duties include providing nail and hand services to customers, such as basic manicures, artificial nails, gel nails, hand massages, hot-oil therapy, nail fills, nail repair, nail wraps and nail polishing. Pedicures and the application of acrylic toenails may also be performed.

Manicure technicians examine and evaluate the condition and appearance of nails to provide advice on proper nail care. They must be familiar with diseases and disorders of the nails, as well as all safety procedures and techniques for performing nail services. They use sterilization equipment and must know how to properly sterilize and sanitize their tools. Manicurists ensure safety procedures are followed while performing manicures or pedicures.


Manicure technicians are licensed by state boards of cosmetology. Requirements vary by state, but most include passing a written examination and completing a state-approved cosmetology program. Technicians must have excellent communication skills, be motivated and be able to work independently. They also must possess a professional appearance and a professional attitude.


Some states require candidates to possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Most employers require manicure technicians to have had formal training at a cosmetology school. Courses take between 100 and 750 hours, depending on state requirements. Cosmetology schools usually offer full-time and part-time programs. Typical courses include the following:

  • Anatomy
  • Bacteriology
  • Bookkeeping
  • Nail and skin disorders
  • Salon safety

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that manicurist and pedicurist positions were predicted to increase 10% from 2018-2028, which was faster than the average job growth. An increase in salons and high turnover rates should bring positive job opportunities. Manicurists and pedicurists earned median annual wages of $24,330 in May 2018, reported the BLS.

In summary, you might consider a career as a manicure technician if you have excellent communication skills and would enjoy shaping and painting nails. Manicurists must be creative, but they also need to be aware of safety procedures and hygiene considerations. Cosmetology programs teach the required skills and also prepare graduates for licensure.

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