Copyright

Manicurist: How Does One Become a Nail Technician?

Find out how to become a nail technician. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in cosmetology.

View Popular Schools »

Do I Want to Be a Nail Technician?

A manicurist, also known as a nail technician, is a cosmetology professional who specializes in providing nail and hand treatments to clients. They cleanse, file, clip and paint fingernails or toenails and may also give hand massages. These professionals may also specialize in artificial nails, such as acrylics or gels. Protective clothing items are often used when working with chemicals. Nail technicians sometimes work evenings and weekends.

Job Requirements

Nail technicians must complete a cosmetology or nail technology program approved in their state. Most states require licensing. The following table outlines the requirements to become a nail technician or manicurist as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Common Requirements
Degree Level State-approved cosmetology program
Degree Field Cosmetology, nail technician
Licensure A state license is required
Key Skills Creativity, manual dexterity, customer-service skills
Technical Skills Ability to operate drills, files and other small tools
Additional Skills Marketing skills to gain clientele, business skills if manicurists plan to operate their own salons

Step 1: Graduate from a Technical High School

Aspiring manicurists typically must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent before becoming eligible for cosmetology programs and state licensure. Some technical high schools have cosmetology programs where students can begin their training process before graduating high school. In such career-training programs, students learn nail and hand care techniques through in-class and laboratory instruction. These programs may qualify students to take their states' licensing exams, in which case attending a cosmetology program after high school is not necessary.

Step 2: Complete a Cosmetology Program

Most licensing boards require passage of a state-licensed training program. Manicurist training programs are available at community colleges, technical schools and cosmetology schools and usually lead to a certificate. Curricula may include classes in cosmetology chemistry, disinfection and sanitation, artificial nails and nail disorders. Attending one of these programs can teach an aspiring nail technician how to properly use manicure tools and equipment.

Success Tip:

  • Build a portfolio. Aspiring nail technicians should begin building their portfolios while in school. A portfolio typically contains examples of the student's best work and favorite nail designs. Having a portfolio will expand career opportunities after earning a certificate, because the student will have visual examples of his or her work to show potential employers.

Step 3: Become Licensed

Manicurists must be licensed by their state before working in the profession. Generally, individuals who are 16 or older, who hold a high school diploma or GED and who have completed state-licensed cosmetology programs are eligible for licensure. The process varies by state but often includes both a written and a practical exam. These exams may require a potential licensee to demonstrate his or her knowledge of sanitation and safety techniques, as well as his or her ability to operate manicure tools. Licensed manicurists must comply with state-specific renewal requirements to maintain licensure.

Step 4: Advance with Experience

After becoming licensed, manicurists may begin working at nail salons, beauty parlors, spas and other places that provide nail care services. As they gain experience and sharpen their skills, manicurists could advance to management positions. Other manicurists eventually open their own businesses or teach at cosmetology programs. Additional career tracks include becoming a sales representative for a beauty company or an examiner for a licensing agency.

Success Tip:

  • Continue education. Nail technicians have the ability to continue their education through additional classes and seminars after obtaining licensure. Continuing education can help a manicurist keep up with current trends and safety regulations in the industry.
Show me popular schools

Related to Manicurist: How Does One Become a Nail Technician?

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Nail Technician: Educational Requirements

Working as a nail technician requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and licensure to see if...

Online Nail Technician Certification & Certificate Program Info

Nail technician programs train students in the practical skills of performing manicures and pedicures, as well as the business...

Nail Technician: Overview of Nail Technician Career Education

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nail technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as...

Become a Certified Nail Technician: Certification and Career Info

Learn how to become a nail technician. Research the education and career requirements, licensure information and experience...

Online Nail Technician Courses and Classes Overview

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Puerto Rico (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at D'Mart Institute include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
        • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
        • Hair Design
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
        • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (3 campuses)
    • Maryland (1 campus)
    • Pennsylvania (16)
    • Virginia (2)
    Areas of study you may find at Empire Beauty School include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • School locations:
    • Missouri (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vatterott College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at American Career College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • School locations:
    • New Jersey (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Concorde School of Hair Design include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Petroleum Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Geological Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Systems Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics