Nail Certification and Certificate Programs

If you want to become a nail technician, you can prepare for your licensure exam by earning a certificate. Find out more about the program and what you can do after completion.

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Essential Information

Certificate of achievement programs in nail care are intended to prepare individuals for state licensing exams and are the most common form of training for nail technicians. The curriculum covers basic procedures, salon and spa operations, safety and sanitation, skin disorders and diseases, professionalism, communication, and ethics. Students will also learn about nail art and how to perform manicures and pedicures.

These programs may be offered on-campus or online through for-profit cosmetology schools or community and technical colleges. Program lengths vary, but none are longer than two years. In order to apply, students need a high school diploma or the equivalent, and they may need a clear tuberculosis test result.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aesthetician and Skin Care
  • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • Beauty Salon Management
  • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • Electrolysis
  • Facial Treatment Specialist
  • Hair Design
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing

Nail Technician Certificate

Depending on the program, students earning nail certificates may take a single overview course or multiple classes that cover some of the following topics:

  • Introduction to nail technology
  • Fundamentals of cosmetology science
  • Basic nail care
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Artificial nails

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that between 2014 and 2024, employment opportunities for manicurists and pedicurists are likely to increase at a rate of 10%. The median annual wage for these professionals was $20,820 as of May 2015 (

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Nail technicians are not required to obtain certification. However, licensure is required in all states. In order to get licensed, students may need to complete a state-approved program and pass a written examination and a practical test. For students who want to further their education, many schools offer associate's degrees in cosmetology, which provide training in nail, hair, and skin care.

In conclusion, a nail certificate program can provide you with the theoretical and technical training you need to prepare for nail technician licensure or pursue further study in cosmetology.

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