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Nail Technician Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Nail technology programs are offered through beauty schools as well as the cosmetology departments of community colleges and technical schools. Those interested in performing additional responsibilities in the beauty field may also consider cosmetology programs.

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Nail technician training involves learning manicuring and nail polishing techniques. While many schools offer programs in the area, it is important to consider multiple factors when making a selection.

10 Nail Technician Schools

Several schools have certificate programs focused solely on nail technology, and some schools also offer broader associate's programs in cosmetology. Here are a few of these schools.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Types Tuition (2015-2016)
Johnston Community College Smithfield, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,401 in-state; $8,545 out-of-state
Edgecombe Community College Tarboro, NC 2-year, Public Certificate $2,736 in-state; $8,520 out-of-state
Brunswick Community College Bolivia, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,404 in-state; $8,548 out-of-state
Nash Community College Rocky Mount, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,504 in-state; $8,648 out-of-state
Ashville-Buncombe Technical Community College Ashville, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,419 in-state; $8,563 out-of-state
Everett Community College Everett, WA 2-year, Public Associate's $3,643 in-state; $8,981 out-of-state
Riverside City College Riverside, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,426 in-state; $7,366 out-of-state
El Paso Community College El Paso, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,386 in-state; $4,042 out-of-state
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,768 in-state; $8,912 out-of-state
Spokane Community College Spokane, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,388 in-state; $8,726 out-of-state

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

School Selection Criteria

Aspiring nail technicians may want to keep the following considerations in mind when selecting a school:

  • Graduation from an accredited school is usually required for licensure.
  • Students seeking short-term training in nail technology may want to consider certificate programs. 2-year associate degree programs in cosmetology would be better suited to students interested in not only nail care, but also hair, make-up and skin care.
  • Individuals interested in running their own salons may consider enrolling in programs that include marketing or sales coursework.
  • Visiting prospective schools to observe the classroom and working conditions could help ensure that sanitation and hygiene are part of the program.

Nail Technician Program Overviews

Certificate in Nail Technology

A certificate in nail technology ensures that a student is trained in the process of applying, maintaining and designing nails, as well as proper manicure and pedicure procedures. Training consists of both classroom and laboratory experiences. Completing such a program is typically mandatory for licensure in all states. Coursework commonly includes:

  • Manicure and pedicure techniques
  • Acrylics and gel applications
  • Nail painting
  • Cuticle care
  • Sanitation and hygiene

Associate Degree in Cosmetology

These programs introduce aspiring cosmetologists to a much broader range of skills than a certificate program in nail technology does. These programs could lead to work in a salon, salon manager positions, or work in a performance-based setting, like hair and make-up roles for movies and theaters. Associate degree students can study:

  • Hair coloring
  • Hair cutting and styling
  • Make-up application
  • Skin care
  • Manicuring and pedicuring

When choosing a training program for nail technicians, potential students must take into account factors such as location and intended work environment. Unlike certificate programs, associate degree programs usually involve additional training beyond that of just nails through both classroom and hands-on experience.

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