Manicure and Pedicure Technician Career Overview
Manicure and pedicure technicians provide various nail care to clients. They need to complete a state-approved training program and acquire licensure before practicing.
Manicure and pedicure technicians often work in salons and spas, performing a series of nail technology steps. They start by removing any existing polish from the nails and then prepare baths to soak the client's hands and feet. Scrub brushes, pumice stones and other tools are used to clean the hands and feet. Nail technicians treat the cuticles by softening and moisturizing them with oil and then pushing back or trimming them. Nail filing and clipping is also done. Some manicure and pedicure technicians massage clients' hands and feet.
Clients often choose from a selection of nail polishes, which the nail technician uses to paint the nails. Nail technicians also perform specialty services, such as applying artificial nails or treatments, to help improve nail strength or deter nail biting. Nail decorations or airbrushing are also offered by some manicure and pedicure technicians.
Clients may seek advice from nail technicians regarding proper nail care or beneficial products to use. Some salons offer nail technicians incentives for selling nail care products. They may also set appointments, collect payment and keep inventory of nail care supplies. Maintaining their work areas and ensuring all equipment is clean and sanitized are a manicure and pedicure technician's responsibility.
Manicure and pedicure technicians are required to obtain licensure from their state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require nail technicians to complete a state-approved training program (www.bls.gov). Additionally, many states and training programs mandate that applicants have a high school education.
Nail technician programs are available at vocational schools and community colleges. Students can complete a training program that teaches nail technology only or obtain an associate's degree in cosmetology that teaches a broad range of beauty services in addition to nail technology.
Nail Technician Programs
Nail technician programs are generally shorter than other beauty training programs. Students participate in classroom instruction and hands-on training. Some schools have student salons where they may work with actual clients to help them gain real world experience. Coursework typically includes bacteriology, nail and skin disorders, nail art, nail treatments, artificial nail application and repair, safety and sanitation, massage, nail design and business.
Cosmetology programs also teach nail technology skills, in addition to hair cutting, hair styling, skin care, makeup application, business and more. Students can earn an associate's degree or a certificate in cosmetology, and receive supervised hands-on experience.
After completing a state-approved training program, nail technicians can apply to become licensed. They must pass an examination and may need to perform a practical test to prove their nail technology skills.
Salary and Outlook
In May 2010, manicure and pedicure technicians earned a mean annual salary of $22,060, according to the BLS. Throughout the 2008-2018 decade, manicure and pedicure job opportunities are expected to grow by 19% thanks to nail salon and spa growth, reports the BLS. Entry-level positions should be fairly easy to attain, although substantial competition exists for the highest paying positions. The BLS states that the beauty professionals who can provide a variety of services and have previous experience stand the best chance of gaining these highly sought after positions.
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