Nail School Program Options and Information

The most common nail school program leads to a certificate of achievement after covering a variety of nail care related topics. Keep reading to learn about these programs' coursework and the job market for nail technicians who complete one of them.

Essential Information

Nail school students practice nail care on mannequins, fellow students and local clients while being supervised by instructors. The curriculum may also cover basic business skills, ranging from finding a job to running a nail salon. Prerequisites for enrollment include a high school diploma or equivalent as well as documentation proving a recent tuberculosis test. Graduates of these 2-year programs can pursue state licensure.

Certificate Programs for Nail Technicians

Nail programs train students in many facets of nail care, including sanitation, nail diseases, manicures, pedicures and safety. Common courses include the following:

  • Introduction to nail technology
  • Basic cosmetology science
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Basic nail care
  • Artificial nails
  • Salon management

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, employment of manicurists and pedicurists was expected to grow 10% from 2014-2024, which is faster than the average increase. Growth was expected to come about due to an increase in the overall number of spas and nail salons, as well as a high turnover rate in the profession. Nail technicians earned a mean yearly wage of $23,630 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Nail technicians are required to earn state licensure. While specific licensing requirements vary by state, common requirements include a high school diploma and graduation from a state-approved certificate or degree program. Licensing exams consist of written tests and, in some states, a hands-on test of practical skills. Some students, upon completing a nail technician certificate program, may go on to pursue an associate degree in cosmetology. Cosmetology programs train students in nail, hair and skin care.

Aspiring nail technicians can pursue certificate programs that provide a gateway to the licensure required to practice. This career field is expected to grow a fairly healthy amount over the 2014-2024 decade.

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