Manicurist School Program Overviews

Nail technician certificate programs are available through cosmetology schools and community colleges. These programs provide aspiring manicurists with the skills they need to become professional and licensed nail technicians.

Essential Information

Manicurist, or nail technician, programs typically include courses in basic nail care, nail disease recognition and sanitation. Practical hands-on training is an essential part of the program. Graduates are prepared to pursue state licensure as nail technicians upon completion of their certificate. Program length varies between three months to one year.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. If pursuing a nail technician certificate program through a community college, applicants are required to be high school graduates or GED certificate holders.

Nail Technician Program

In classroom-based theory courses, manicure students learn salon practices, color applications, and physiology including nail and skin disorders. Clinical courses train students to provide pedicure and manicure services to clients, including more advanced techniques such as gel nails, nail art and artificial nails. In some programs, courses may be available at night and on weekends. Additional topics may include:

  • Cosmetology theory
  • Salon management
  • Nail care
  • Bacteriology
  • Safety and sanitation

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Most graduates of a nail technician certificate program go on to become manicurists and pedicurists in professional salons, although some build their own businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manicurists and pedicurists held 83,840 jobs in the United States in 2015.

Approximately 30% of manicurists and pedicurists are self-employed, while the majority work in salons. Employment for manicurists and pedicurists is expected to grow by 10% between 2014-2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS ( As reported in May 2015, the median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $10.01.

Nail technician certificate programs cover topics like nail care, safety and cosmetology theory. These programs prepare students to become licensed nail technicians through both classroom curriculum and hands-on salon training.

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