Nail technicians, also known as manicurists, are licensed professionals who provide treatments that groom customers' fingernails and toenails. Typical duties include cleaning, trimming, polishing and buffing the nails, removing old polish, massaging the hands and providing consulting services about available treatments.
Students in Illinois interested in becoming nail techs may choose to complete a nail technology training program, some of which lead to the award of a certificate. Programs include a large amount of hands-on training and often incorporate work-study or fieldwork experience opportunities into the curriculum.
Nail technicians in Illinois must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent and complete at least 350 hours of training in nail technology from an accredited school. Nail technicians must then pass the state examination for their license.
Nail technician training schools in Illinois are accredited through the Higher Learning Commission and the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS). The list below includes some public colleges, but many of the largest accredited nail technician programs in Illinois are run by for-profit professional training institutions.
All programs profiled below can prepare students to take the nail technician licensing exam.
Creative Touch Cosmetology School
Located in Waterloo, Creative Touch Cosmetology School is a private, for-profit institution that offers both full- and part-time enrollment options. The nail technology program at this school spans nine weeks and consists of 350 hours of instruction, in which students learn about manicure and pedicure techniques, product applications, nail disorders and state laws. Students practice their skills by working in the school salon.
Debutantes School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology
Debutantes School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology in DeKalb is a family-run, for-profit school that divides its 350-hour nail technology program into four sections. Students must complete 50 hours of basic training before offering their skills to the public at the school salon. They also must complete 15 hours of classroom instruction in nail technology, 255 hours of instruction in clinical practices and 30 hours of instruction in business methods. Students may include a 35-hour internship as part of the required 350-hour total. Near the end of the training program, students take part in a runway event to show off their skills.
Highland Community College
Highland Community College is a 2-year, public institution in Freeport that offers over 60 degree programs accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. The 17-credit certificate program in nail technology offers training in nail structure, manicuring and pedicuring, sanitation, advanced nail art and wraps. Students in this program have the opportunity to practice their skills in the student salon.
Located in Centralia, Kaskaskia College offers 29 career-oriented associate's degree programs and 74 certificate programs. Students may earn a 16-credit certificate in nail technology, which requires 350 clock hours of instruction. Classroom topics include manicuring and pedicuring, massage, product knowledge, nail fabric and nail sculpting techniques, gel products and machines used in the profession.
La' James International College
La' James International College in East Moline provides an 11-credit program in nail technology that includes the opportunity to study abroad. The educational opportunities at this school include trips to New York, San Francisco, Chicago and one international destination each year. The curriculum includes classes in manicures and pedicures, massage, artificial nails, sterilization, state laws, product development and clientele development.
Lake Land College
Lake Land College is a 2-year, public institution in Mattoon with a student enrollment of 8,867. Prospective manicurists can receive training through an 8-credit technical program in nail technology. Students must complete 350 hours of instruction. Interested students may only begin the program during the fall semester.
Mr. John's School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Nails
Mr. John's School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Nails is a private institution with locations in three Illinois towns: Decatur, Urbana and Jacksonville. Students who wish to study manicuring can enroll in the school's 400-hour nail technology program, which offers two $1,000 scholarships each year. The curriculum includes 50 hours of basic training, 15 hours of related concepts, 305 hours of training in common practices/procedures and 30 hours of instruction in business practices. A 35-hour internship is also available. Alternatively, students may enroll in the nail technology teacher's training program, a 1,000-hour curriculum that teaches advanced nail technology, educational psychology, teaching methods, business methods and the application of teaching methods. Students can also take part in 260 hours of student teaching.
Rosel School of Cosmetology
Rosel School of Cosmetology is a private, for-profit school in Chicago that offers a 350-hour program in nail technology. Enrollees must be at least 16 years old and have completed the eighth grade. Students enrolled in this course are instructed in manicure and pedicure techniques, nail art, tips, nail wrapping, gels and sculptured nails, as well as sanitation and safety measures. Methods of instruction include lectures, demonstrations, guest speaker visits, audiovisual materials, illustrations and exams.
Universal Spa Training Academy
Universal Spa Training Academy in Downers Grove is a for-profit institution that offers a 350-hour nail technology program featuring classes in nail care, polishing, nail art, artificial nails, wraps, nail tips and fill-ins. Students must accumulate 50 hours in basic skills, 15 hours in related concepts, 255 hours in practices/procedures and 30 hours in business practices. Every month, this school grants one student a $500 scholarship in the field of nail technology.
University of Spa and Cosmetology Arts
Located in Springfield, this NACCAS-accredited, for-profit cosmetology school has taught over 1,700 students since its founding in 1978. The nail technology program requires 350 hours to complete and involves three different kind of instruction: theoretical concepts, practice opportunities and clinical experiences in a salon setting. Students learn about nail care, nail art techniques and business techniques that can help nail technicians develop a client base. Students in this program may earn up to 35 hours of credit through an internship program with a licensed sponsor at an approved salon.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nail Technician Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Creative Touch Cosmetology School||< 2-year, private for-profit; small town||Nail Technology Program||$10,300*|
|Debutantes School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology||< 2-year, private for-profit; small suburb||Nail Technology Program||$4,200*|
|Highland Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Nail Technology Certificate||$4,167 in-district; $6,519 in-state; $6,519 out-of-state*|
|Kaskaskia College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Nail Technology Certificate||$4,470 in-district, $7,530 in-state, $12,330 out-of-state*|
|La' James International College||< 2-year, private for-profit; large suburb||Nail Technology Certificate||$4,750*|
|Lake Land College||2-year, public; distant town||Nail Technology Technical Program||$4,110 in-district; $7,934 in-state; $13,736 out-of-state*|
|Mr. John's School of Cosmetology, Esthetics and Nails||< 2-year, private for-profit; city|| Nail Technology Program,
Nail Technology Teacher Training Program
|Rosel School of Cosmetology||< 2-year, private for-profit; large city||Nail Technology Program||$2,450|
|Universal Spa Training Academy||< 2-year, private for-profit; large suburb||Nail Technology Program||$8,000|
|University of Spa and Cosmetology Arts||< 2-year, private for-profit; midsized city||Nail Technology Program||$3,775*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.