Nail technicians, also known as manicurists or pedicurists, provide care for fingernails and toenails. Through a nail technology training program, students learn about proper nail care, learn how to develop business skills and prepare to take state licensing exams. Licensure requirements vary by state and can be found through the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology. Programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels.
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Certificate in Nail Technology
These programs may be available to high school students who are 16 or older. While these students do not need a high school diploma or GED to enroll, approval from a guidance counselor is required. Other schools may restrict enrollment to adults aged 18 or older. These applicants need to pass reading and math assessment exams.
The curriculum for a nail technology program includes hands-on training in a salon environment. Students may also take interdisciplinary courses in professional ethics and communications. Topics may include:
- Infection control
- Nail art
- Salon business practices
- Sanitation and sterilization
- Nail tips and wraps
Career Outlook and Salary Info
Employment opportunities for manicurists and pedicurists were expected to increase 10% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). This projected job growth was due to the growing number of nail salons and spas. As of May 2015, the median annual wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $20,820. Most of these professionals worked in the personal care or recreation industries.
Licensure and Continuing Education Info
In many states, nail technicians must be licensed. Most require them to complete a state-approved training program that meets minimum hour requirements. Applicants must also pass written and practical examinations.
Students interested in continuing their education may be able to apply their nail technology course credits toward cosmetology associate degree programs. In addition to nail technology, students can study esthetics, hair care and salon operations.
Nail technician certificate and associate's degree training programs involve hands-on experience in salon environments and communications and ethics courses. After completing the program and obtaining a license, a student may find work as a manicurist or pedicurist.