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Nail Technician Schools / Manicurist Training

Nail Technician SchoolsThese nail technician schools can give you new reasons to look forward to a career that will allow you to feel pride and satisfaction in what you do.

In only a short time from now, you could be working as a qualified nail tech or manicurist, meeting fun new people and enjoying the gratitude you receive for lifting their confidence.

Countless people seek out pedicures and manicures because they love feeling more beautiful and put together. Schooling will provide you with the manicurist training you can use to become a professional who performs these services and helps people feel great.

If you are interested in entering this specific niche of the cosmetology industry, then keep reading below to find out about training, qualifications, average salary rates, job outlook, certification requirements, and much more.

So where will you take your enthusiastic ambitions next? Take a minute to ask some of the schools on this page to provide you with more information, so you can learn even more!


Featured Schools

Everest College


Mississauga, Ontario
Toronto College Park, Ontario
  • Esthetics (includes manicurist training in the program)

Miller-Motte Technical College


Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Nail Technology

Florida Career College

6 Locations in Florida
  • Boynton Beach
  • Jacksonville
  • Kendall
  • Lauderdale Lakes
  • Pembroke Pines
  • West Palm Beach
  • Cosmetology (includes nail technician training as part of the curriculum)
  • Skin & Nail Care Specialist

Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts and Sciences


West Palm Beach, Florida
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • Cosmetology (includes nail technology as part of the program)
  • Nail Technology

Star Career Academy


Audubon, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Cosmetology (includes nail specialist training as part of the program)

Blake Austin College


Vacaville, California
  • Cosmetology (includes manicure and pedicure training in the program)

Milan Institute


San Antonio (Ingram Park), Texas
  • Manicurist

Virginia College


Alabama
Florida
Georgia

And More!

Alabama
  • Birmingham
  • Huntsville
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery
Florida
  • Fort Pierce
  • Jacksonville
Georgia
  • Augusta
  • Columbus
  • Macon
  • Savannah
Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge
  • Shreveport
Mississippi
  • Biloxi
  • Jackson
North Carolina
  • Greensboro
South Carolina
  • Charleston
  • Columbia
  • Florence
  • Greenville
  • Spartanburg
Tennessee
  • Chattanooga
  • Knoxville
Texas
  • Lubbock
Virginia
  • Richmond
  • Cosmetology (contains nail technology as part of the program)

Remington College


Alabama: Mobile
Florida: Tampa
Hawaii: Honolulu
Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Lafayette
Ohio: Cleveland
South Carolina: Columbia
Tennessee: Nashville
Texas: Dallas (Garland), Houston (Westchase), Houston Southeast (Webster), North Houston (Greenspoint)
  • Cosmetology (includes nail care as part of the program)

Marinello Schools of Beauty


Over 55 Locations in 6 States

California

  • Anaheim
  • Bakersfield
  • Bell
  • Burbank
  • Castro Valley
  • Chico
  • City of Industry
  • Concord
  • El Cajon
  • Fresno
  • Hayward
  • Hemet
  • Huntington Beach
  • Inglewood
  • Lake Forest
  • Lomita
  • Los Angeles
  • Moreno Valley
  • Murrieta
  • Napa
  • Ontario
  • Palmdale
  • Paramount
  • Redding
  • Reseda
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Mateo
  • San Rafael
  • Santa Clara
  • Seaside
  • Simi Valley
  • Stockton
  • Victorville
  • Visalia
  • West Covina
  • Whittier

Connecticut

  • East Hartford
  • Enfield
  • Fairfield
  • Hamden
  • Meriden
  • Niantic
  • Torrington
  • Willimantic

Kansas

  • Lawrence
  • Manhattan
  • Overland Park
  • Topeka
  • Wichita

Massachusetts

  • Northampton

Nevada

  • Henderson
  • Las Vegas
  • Reno

Utah

  • Layton
  • Ogden
  • Provo
  • Cosmetology (contains nail care as part of the curriculum)
  • Manicuring / Nail Technology

Empire Beauty Schools


Over 90 Locations in 21 States
Arizona
Colorado
Florida
Georgia
Illinois

And More!

Arizona
  • Avondale/Goodyear
  • Chandler
  • Flagstaff
  • Paradise Valley
  • Phoenix
  • Prescott
Colorado
  • Lakewood
  • Littleton
  • Thornton
Florida
  • Lauderhill
  • West Palm Beach
Georgia
  • Augusta
  • Dunwoody
  • Gwinnett
  • Kennesaw
  • Morrow
  • Savannah
Illinois
  • Arlington Heights
  • Hanover Park
  • Lisle
  • Stone Park
  • Vernon Hills
Indiana
  • Indianapolis
  • Speedway
Kentucky
  • Elizabethtown
  • Florence
  • Louisville
Maine
  • Bangor
  • Caribou
  • Portland
  • Waterville
Maryland
  • Glen Burnie
  • Owings Mills
Massachusetts
  • Boston
  • Framingham
  • Hyannis
  • Lowell
  • Malden
Michigan
  • Grand Rapids
  • Portage
  • Standale
Minnesota
  • Bloomington
  • Eden Prairie
  • Spring Lake Park
  • St Paul
New Jersey
  • Bordentown
  • Cherry Hill
  • Laurel Springs
  • Paramus
New York
  • Brooklyn
  • Manhattan
  • Peekskill
  • Queens
  • Rochester
North Carolina
  • Concord
  • Greensboro
  • Matthews
  • Pineville
Ohio
  • Cincinnati
Pennsylvania
  • Cheltenham
  • Exton
  • Hanover
  • Harrisburg
  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Lehigh Valley
  • Monroeville
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Pottsville
  • Reading
  • Shamokin Dam
  • Springfield
  • State College
  • Warminster
  • West Mifflin
  • Williamsport
  • Wyoming Valley
  • York
Rhode Island
  • Providence
  • Warwick
Tennessee
  • Memphis
  • Nashville
Virginia
  • Midlothian
  • Richmond
  • Virginia Beach
Wisconsin
  • Green Bay
  • Manitowoc
  • Milwaukee
  • Cosmetology (includes nail technician training in the program)

Milan Institute of Cosmetology


Reno, Nevada
El Paso, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
  • Manicurist
  • Nail Technologist



Nail Technician Career and Training Information

Nail Technician Career InformationA nail technician is a specialized professional within the cosmetology industry who is responsible for keeping clients' nails, hands, and feet looking and feeling their best.

They are generally creative people who enjoy treating nails as an artist's canvas but also have a strong knowledge of related health issues.



Job Description

A nail technician, or manicurist, is a specialist who focuses on providing care for nails. Often, they perform services on the skin of feet and hands as well.

What's included in a typical job description can vary depending on specific employers and working environments, but common responsibilities tend to include:

Manicures and Pedicures

  • Inspecting client for nail or skin disorders
  • Removing existing nail polishes, treatments, or artificial nails
  • Soaking hands and/or feet in warm water (which can have a mixture of moisturizing, soothing, or rejuvenating ingredients added)
  • Performing hand and/or foot massage
  • Performing hot stone treatments
  • Applying treatments and moisturizers to hands and/or feet
  • Cleaning nails
  • Trimming, shaping, and filing nails
  • Polishing and buffing nails
  • Applying any requested treatments (such as a silk wrap)
  • Applying polishes or designs as per the client's request (can include a single solid color, classic applications like a French manicure, or new trends such as airbrush designs, geometric patterns, textured designs, etc.)
  • Applying acrylic or other types of artificial nails
  • Creating and applying nail art
  • Advising clients on proper care of nails, hands, and feet
  • Cleaning and properly disinfecting all work areas and tools between each client

Business/Retail

  • Greeting clients and discussing available treatments and services
  • Promoting and selling products and tools to clients
  • Processing payments for services and products
  • Booking appointments

In addition, those who are also entrepreneurs running their own salons often need to take on additional responsibilities such as:

  • Hiring, training, and managing staff
  • Creating staff schedules
  • Managing accounting and finance-related tasks (or working with a professional accountant)
  • Handling promotion, marketing, and advertising
  • Ordering supplies and managing inventory

How to Get Into the Field

In the past, requirements tended to be more informal, and it was common to simply obtain training on the job. Today, however, most employers prefer to hire nail techs who have a formal education.

In addition, it's important to keep in mind that all states except Connecticut require certification through a state-approved (i.e., accredited)program and successfully passing a state licensing exam. Licensing exams and requirements vary by state, but nationwide requirements tend to include being at least 18 years of age and having received a high school diploma (or GED equivalent).

After successfully passing the exam, you will be awarded certification and will be eligible to work in your state.


What You Can Learn in a Training Program

When it comes to training, there are many different options to choose from. Specialized cosmetology schools exist, but many vocational schools, trade schools, and colleges offer specialized programs as well.

Alternatively, if you are interested in learning how to become a nail technician online, there are many schools that provide distance learning options, allowing you to train from the comfort of home. The most important thing is to make sure that the program you choose has been accredited by the state board of cosmetology so that you will graduate eligible to pursue state licensing.

Depending on the type of school and program you choose, the curricula for programs can vary quite widely. However, some of the common topics you can expect to learn about include:

Theory

  • Nail structure and growth
  • Hand and feet anatomy
  • Nail and skin diseases and disorders
  • Industry laws and regulations
  • Client education

Practical Applications

  • Manicure and pedicure procedures
  • Nail repair (i.e., fixing broken or split nails)
  • Maintenance and enhancements
  • Wraps and specialized treatments
  • Hand, arm, and foot massage techniques
  • Nail art design and application
  • Artificial nail applications (i.e., acrylic, fiberglass, gel, and silk nails)
  • Safety and sanitation practices

Tools, Equipment, and Supplies

  • Portable hand and food baths
  • Hand-held and electronic manicure and pedicure tools
  • LED and UV manicure lights and nail dryers
  • Airbrush machines
  • Polishes, base coats, and top coats
  • Strengthening and repairing serums
  • Lotions and oils
  • Polish removers and chemicals

Business and General Education

  • Business ethics
  • Customer service
  • Product promotion and sales
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Business computer applications
  • Salon management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing and promotion

Many schools will include practical experience through externship or practicum components that take place within local salons. Some schools may even have an on-site, student-run salon that allows students to provide supervised services to actual clients. Most accredited programs will also include preparation for licensing examinations.


Program Length

Program length can vary by school and location. It can also depend on whether you choose to study part-time or full-time.

The most common education credentials are diplomas and certificates, which generally take a year or less to complete. However, the length of the program tends to vary depending on the state in which you attend school. The reason for this is that education hours are part of the prerequisites for state licensing. Some states only require 200 hours of classroom training, while others may ask for up to 600 hours.

If you choose an online program, you may be able to complete a program more quickly, since you could have the opportunity to set your own pace. By putting in more hours per week than a traditional on-campus program, you could complete courses sooner than if you were following a structured timetable.


Cost of Schooling

The cost of school will depend on various factors, including the type of school and program you choose, the length of the program, and even the location of the school.

That being said, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 or less for a short-term online program up to $10,000 for an on-campus program. However, many on-campus nail technician programs average around $5,000.

When looking into the cost of tuition for specific programs, it can be helpful to determine exactly what is included within the tuition fee. Some schools combine the cost of tuition with books and supplies for one single fee, while others will charge separately. Knowing exactly what is included in tuition and what is extra can help you determine the total cost of your nail technician education.

Most schools are able to offer some sort of financial support to students. It's helpful to find out if a school has a financial aid department because it could help you determine what sources of funding you may be eligible for, such as federal loans and grants, private loans, scholarships, or veterans benefits. Plus, some schools may offer alternative options such as payment plans or work-study programs.


Obtaining Licensure

The first step is to check with your state board of cosmetology. It will be able to direct you to the specific criteria for your area.

Although licensing requirements do vary by state (with Connecticut being the only state that doesn't require nail technicians to obtain licensure or certification), common prerequisites and processes include:

  • Graduating from a program that is accredited by the state board of cosmetology and includes a minimum number of training hours (usually between 250 and 450).
  • Submitting a nail specialty registration application to the state board of cosmetology for approval, along with payment for applicable fees. Once you have been approved, official nail specialist registration or licensure will be issued. However, some states will also require that you successfully take an examination before licensing is issued.
  • In some states, while your license is pending, you are still eligible to work under the supervision of a registered nail technician within a licensed salon or spa as long as you provide the salon owner with a copy of your completed licensing application as well as your school transcripts.
  • Once you have received official registration, you will be responsible for keeping it valid by paying renewal fees and completing continuing education credits as necessary. Renewal periods, fees, and minimum continuing education hours vary by state.

Work Environment

The majority of manicurists work within a salon or spa; however, national estimates from 2012 showed that 27 percent were self employed, running their own salon or providing a mobile service in which they travel to their clients' homes. *

Alternative work environments can include spas or salons within cruise ships, resorts, and hotels. Plus, some work within the fashion or entertainment industries, but these positions tend to be rare and extremely competitive.

When it comes to hours, nail techs who work in salons tend to work full-time, but those employed within spas that provide many different services are often only needed for part-time hours. Since a large number of clients prefer evening and weekend appointments, these tend to be the busiest times for nail technicians.


Employment Outlook

The job prospects appear to be very good according to national projections for the time period between 2012 and 2022. The estimates show that job opportunities for nail professionals are projected to grow by 16 percent, which is faster than the estimated average for all occupations (11 percent). *

Some of the factors that are expected to stimulate growth in the industry include:

  • A rise in popularity and demand for "mini sessions," which are manicures that are performed quickly and at a lower cost than regular full-scale treatments
  • A rise in the popularity and demand for mobile services (i.e., house calls)
  • A growing number of women (and even men) who are dedicated to healthy lifestyles that include better grooming practices

In addition, because manicures and pedicures tend to be lower cost than many other cosmetology services, they remain popular as "low-cost luxury services" and are, therefore, less likely to be cut out during tight financial times.


Income

It can be difficult to come up with exact numbers because, like restaurant and hospitality workers, cosmetology professionals are often provided with tips (aka a gratuity) from clients for their services. Tip amounts are completely at the discretion of a client, but most people tend to follow the tipping etiquette for the cosmetology industry, which is to leave an extra 15-20 percent on top of the set cost of their service(s).

That being said, national government salary estimates (not including tips) from 2012 showed that wages break down this way: *

  • The median hourly wage was $9.24 per hour (approximately $19,220 annually)
  • The highest-earning 10 percent made more than $14.21 per hour (approximately $29,560 annually)

According to a 2013-14 industry report in Nails Magazine, the average weekly nail tech earnings including tips is $551.06. **

Some salons also offer the opportunity to earn commission or receive perks for selling products. Common forms of retail incentives include:

  • Sales commission either added to salary or paid out separately as a bonus
  • A discount on receiving salon services or buying products
  • A points or awards system
  • A rental rebate for those who rent a nail booth from a salon

Another factor to keep in mind is that those who are self-employed will have the opportunity to earn a higher salary than the average. Nails Magazine reported that many professionals rent their own booth in a salon. In these situations, they are basically entrepreneurs who keep 100 percent of their earnings, and simply pay rent in order to have their booth located within an existing salon. The average rent was reported to be $199 weekly, or $379 monthly. In some cases, salons may issue a rental rebate in lieu of a commission for selling the salon's products.

Manicurist salary rates also tend to be higher for those employed in the fashion or entertainment industries.


Helpful Qualities for the Job

Successful nail technicians tend to be:

  • Artistic—In the cosmetology world, nails can literally be an artist's canvas. The top manicurists in the world are artists who turn nails into beautiful, eye-catching masterpieces.
  • Friendly and Professional—For many people, manicures and pedicures aren't just about the actual appearance of nails; they are a cherished small luxury providing the chance to take time out of a busy schedule to wind down and relax. This means that many clients aren't just paying for the actual work being done to their nails; they are paying for the atmosphere and experience as well.
  • Trendy—The cosmetology industry is driven by change. Trends for hair, makeup, and nails are always evolving, which means that you need to stay on top of what's new and popular and what's old and out of fashion. Clients want to go to nail technicians who understand the current trends and are capable of pulling them off.
  • Dexterous—From using a sharp tool to remedy an ingrown nail to using an airbrush to create an intricate nail design, nail technicians need to perform precise techniques on a very tiny area of the body. Therefore, excellent hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and steady hands are a must.

Upsides of the Work

  • You can enjoy exploring your creativity and artistic talent on a daily basis.
  • You get to meet and interact with new people regularly. Plus, you often have the chance to form friendly professional relationships with repeat clients.
  • Compared to other industries, a relatively high percentage of nail technicians get to enjoy being self-employed, either running their own nail salons or creating mobile businesses and traveling to clients' homes.
  • It's possible to run a nail salon business within your own home, which comes with many perks and freedoms, including the chance to avoid long commutes and be more flexible in setting work hours.
  • Cosmetology is a diverse industry, so it's possible to find training and certification that covers multiple areas, allowing you to pursue a dynamic career that involves providing a range of services in addition to nail technology, such as hairstyling, makeup application, and skincare.

How To Get Started

To help decide whether or not a career in this field is right for you, it's a good idea to talk to experienced pros and get a feel for the realities of the job. Offer to take one out to lunch or book a manicure and pick his or her brain during your appointment.

And if you're ready to start right now, find a school using this easy-to-use search tool.



Main Sources

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, website last accessed on March 4, 2014.

** Nails Magazine "2012-2013 Industry Statistics," website last visited March 4, 2014.

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC), website last visited March 4, 2014.

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA), website last visited March 4, 2014.