Manicure Certificate and Degree Program Information

Manicurists, also known as nail technicians, provide professional beauty care and treatment for the hands and feet. Students pursuing a career in this cosmetology specialty may consider enrolling in a manicuring and nail technology certificate program.

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Essential Information

Manicuring and nail technology certificate programs are primarily offered through cosmetology schools and community colleges. Students are trained in the fundamentals, artistic principles and scientific aspects of nail technology. The certificate program typically includes a lab, which helps students gain hands-on experience with pedicure, manicure, gel and acrylic nail application techniques. Graduates are prepared for the examinations required to become a licensed manicurist or nail technician.

Most schools that offer a manicuring and nail technology certificate program require applicants to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs also have specific immunization requirements.

Manicuring and Nail Technology Certificate Program

In addition to the lab component, students will complete their certificate program by attending lectures and classroom demonstrations. Students gain the knowledge and skills used in the manicure and nail technology field through courses such as the following:

  • Study of nail disorders
  • Nail enhancement
  • Preparation for state licensing exams
  • Manicuring and related theory

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a manicuring certificate program can receive licensure and qualify for careers in professional nail or beauty salons, as well as positions such as pedicure technician, manicurist, and independent nail technician.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manicurists and pedicurists jobs were projected to grow at a faster than average rate of 10%, from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, these jobs saw an average annual salary of $23,630.

Continuing Education

To obtain licensure as a manicurist or nail technician, candidates must pass a state exam after completing the certificate program. This exam has a written portion that quizzes candidates on their understanding of topics such as sanitation, professional ethics and the properties of various salon chemicals. The exam may also include a skills test in some states.

For further education, students who have completed a certificate program may be able to apply their coursework to an Associate in Technical Arts (ATA), Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in cosmetology. The associate's degree program in cosmetology incorporates all aspects of beauty treatments and can offer both general and specialized training in areas such as skin care, esthetics, business and makeup application. Cosmetology associate's degree programs can prepare licensed manicurists or nail technicians for career advancement, allowing them to provide more beauty services than simply nail care.

A certificate in manicure and nail technology provides aspiring manicurists with the training and knowledge required to start an entry-level position. The certificate also prepares students for the licensing exam, which may be a requirement in some states.

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