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Nail Technician: Job Description, Salary, & Job Openings 2022

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Beauty shops and spas employ a wide range of beauty specialists, including nail technicians.

A nail technician styles and shapes clients’ nails.

From basic polishing to advanced overlays and stenciling, nail technicians learn to perform a variety of nail treatments.

If you enjoy painting and decorating nails, take a moment to learn more about the career of a nail technician.

Let’s start with the basics of what a nail technician does…

What Is a Nail Technician?

A nail technician specializes in the grooming of fingernails and toenails.

This job combines the duties of a manicurist and a pedicurist.

Other names for nail technicians include manicurists, pedicurists, and beauty specialists.

What Does a Nail Technician Do?

Nail technicians polish nails, paint designs, and apply products, such as gel or acrylic nails.

They also offer advice and recommend products to help clients better care for their nails.

Work Opportunities in the Nail Technician Industry

Learn more about the work opportunities in the nail technician industry, including where to find employment.

Nail Technician Job Description

Nail technicians are responsible for providing nail treatments to clients.

They listen to the needs of clients and provide recommendations before deciding on the best treatment.

The nail technician then styles, shapes, and decorates the nails.

Top Nail Technician Jobs and Careers

  • Salon assistants assist nail technicians and other salon staff by cleaning up and welcoming clients.
  • Nail technicians specialize in styling and shaping nails.
  • Salon managers are often experienced salon staff, such as nail technicians with years of experience.

Where Can a Nail Technician Work?

Close to two-thirds of nail technicians work for businesses that provide personal care services, such as beauty salons, spas, and nail shops.

About 35% of nail technicians are self-employed.

What It’s Like to Be a Nail Technician

Take a moment to learn more about what it’s like to work as a nail technician.

Is Being a Nail Technician Hard?

Nail technicians must deal with hard work occasionally, as not all nail treatments go as planned.

You may occasionally need to redo a nail treatment or application to achieve satisfactory results.

Is a Nail Technician’s Job Stressful?

Working as a nail technician isn’t typically stressful.

However, any job that involves working with the public occasionally involves dealing with disgruntled or disrespectful customers.

Common Nail Technician Workday

The typical nail technician’s workday involves cleaning and preparing their workstation.

They also review scheduled appointments for the day.

Nail Technician Tasks & Duties

As mentioned, nail technicians shape and style nails.

They work on the nails on the hands and feet.

Nail technicians also need to maintain their equipment, which involves sanitizing and cleaning tools after each treatment.

Nail Technician Work Hours & Schedule

Nail technicians may work evenings or normal business hours, depending on their preferences.

Some work weekends to better accommodate the needs of their clients.

Nail Technician Dress Code

Nail technicians typically dress casually.

Some beauty salons may require employees to wear specific styles of clothing or an apron containing the name of the salon.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Nail technicians can often enjoy flexible hours, making it easier to maintain a good work/life balance.

Nail Technician Salary & Income

People often want to know how much nail technicians make before entering this field.

Here’s a closer look at the compensation for nail technicians.

A nail technician can make a stable living, especially if they are good at their job, as they can receive tips from clients.

How Much Do Nail Technicians Make?

According to Indeed.com, the average hourly pay for nail technicians is $22.58.

Experienced nail technicians can make $75 or more per hour plus tips.

Overview of the Nail Technician Industry

Review the state of the nail technician industry before pursuing this career path.

Nail Technician Field: Career Progression

Apprentices learn the ropes from experienced nail technicians and other employees at the salon.

Licensed nail technicians may work at salons and other establishments or out of their homes.

Is Nail Technician a Good Career?

Working as a nail technician is a good career for those who enjoy this line of work.

It offers stability and relatively high pay.

Nail Technician Job Outlook

Nail technicians belong to the same category of professionals as manicurists and pedicurists.

The job outlook for these professions is positive due to an expected increase in demand and older workers leaving the labor force.

Demand for Nail Technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for manicurists and pedicurists is expected to increase by 33% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster compared to other industries.

Nail Technician Facts

According to Statista.com, over 395,000 nail technicians were employed in the United States in 2018.

The US population was 326 million in 2018, which means that there was one nail technician for every 830 citizens.

Jobs Related to Nail Technician

Other jobs in the health and beauty services industries include:

  • Make-up artists specialize in offering makeup services, such as creating specific looks for clients.
  • Beauty therapists offer body treatments to improve the health and beauty of nails, skin, and hair.
  • Hair stylists specialize in styling and treating hair.
  • Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Nail Technicians: Examine the requirements for nail technicians to find out if this job is a good fit for you.
  • Who Should Consider a Nail Technician Career Path? Nail technician is potentially a good career choice for artistic individuals with good attention to detail and an outgoing personality.
  • Who Should Not Consider a Nail Technician Career Path? Nail technician is not a good career option for people who dislike interacting with the public and meeting new people.

Is It Hard to Become a Nail Technician?

The path to becoming a nail technician is not hard but involves extensive training, which requires a commitment to learning.

What Do I Need to Become a Nail Technician?

Becoming a nail technician requires training and certification.

Here’s a closer look at what it takes.

Requirements for Becoming a Nail Technician

The requirements vary, but most states require licensing or certification for nail technicians, manicurists, and pedicurists.

Depending on the state where you live, you may need to be at least 16 or 17 years old to apply to attend a state-approved cosmetology program.

What Skills Does a Nail Technician Need?

Nail technicians need good communication skills to understand the needs of their clients.

Creativity and artistic aptitude are also helpful for this career.

What Education Does a Nail Technician Need?

Each state has separate licensing and certification requirements, but you typically need to complete a cosmetology program to work as a nail technician.

Some programs include 400 hours or more of training.

Can You Become a Nail Technician Without a Degree?

You can become a nail technician without a college degree but may need to meet the state requirements for training or experience.

What Experience Does a Nail Technician Need?

Instead of hundreds of hours of training, some states allow you to obtain a manicurist or nail technician license with on-the-job training.

For example, in the state of Michigan, you can obtain a manicurist license after completing six months of relevant work experience.

Nail Technician Education & Schooling

Nail technicians typically complete professional training courses offered at vocational schools and community colleges around the country.

  • What Is Taught in a Nail Technician Course? A nail technician course covers the steps needed to shape, style, and decorate nails using different techniques and materials.
  • How Long Does a Nail Technician Course Take? Some courses last several months while others last two years.

Nail Technician Education Options and Degree Programs

Nail technicians may earn a certificate or diploma by completing a cosmetology program or an associate’s degree.

Schools for Nail Technicians

Nail technicians typically receive training at licensed schools of cosmetology.

You can find cosmetology programs at vocational schools, community colleges, and universities.

How to Become a Nail Technician

If you’re still interested in becoming a nail technician, you need to complete a few steps to enter this field of work.

In most states, you need a license or a certificate to practice cosmetology.

  1. Complete high school. You need a high school diploma or a GED to attend a cosmetology program.
  2. Complete a cosmetology program. The requirements vary by state, but you typically need training or experience.
  3. Apply for a state license or certificate for manicurists, cosmetologists, or nail technicians.
  4. Apply for an entry-level job as a nail technician.

Current Career Job Openings

If you already have the qualifications for this job, browse the latest career openings for nail technicians:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Nail Technicians Receive Tips?

Nail technicians typically receive tips.

The standard tip rate is about 20% of the cost of the service.

Can a Nail Technician Work Out of Their Home?

Most states allow nail technicians to offer their services at home or in their client’s homes.

If you build a client list, you can work for yourself without needing to rent business space.

Wrapping Up

Nail technicians help people feel beautiful by offering professional manicure and pedicure services.

They often work at beauty salons and nail shops where they can enjoy a comfortable work/life balance.

While a nail technician is a good career, you need to meet specific requirements before applying for a job.

Most states require you to complete a cosmetology program and pass an exam to obtain a state license or certificate.

If you are ready to start your path to becoming a nail technician, look for cosmetology programs in your area.

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