Manicurist Job Description and Employment Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a manicurist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and state licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Manicurists, also called nail technicians, are personal appearance specialists or cosmetologists who work on the care and beautification of fingernails and cuticles. They work in spas and beauty salons. Manicurists must complete a cosmetology or nail technology program that is sanctioned by the state, and these programs usually take less than a year to complete. After graduation, prospective manicurists must pay a licensing fee and pass a certification examination in every state except Connecticut.

Required Education Nail technology or cosmetology program
Other RequirementsMost states require a license
Projected Job Growth (manicurists and pedicurists)16% from 2012-22*
Median Salary (manicurists and pedicurists) $19,340 (2013)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Manicurist Job Description and Skills

A manicurist's job includes examining the color and condition of a client's fingernails; trimming, filing and shaping nails with scissors and emery boards; applying nail polish to produce a hard, glossy finish; and providing hand care by soaking fingers in softening solution or applying softening gel. In addition to direct service, manicurists advise clients on proper nail care techniques and recommend hand and nail care products.

Manicurists need high manual dexterity to manipulate tools with a precise yet gentle touch, effective sales skills and current knowledge of nail fashion. They must also maintain a neat personal appearance and tidy work area and be able to establish rapport with clients. Those who plan to operate a salon of their own also need a measure of business acumen for sales, marketing and office management.

Education

Hundreds of public community colleges and private beauty schools offer certificate programs for manicurists, which generally can be completed in less than one year. A high school diploma or GED is typically a prerequisite for enrollment. Programs are likely to cover the fundamentals of nail care, nail products and nail care technology. Advanced topics may include infection control and safety and an introduction to business concepts. In many cases the classroom environment is a simulated salon with all necessary tools and equipment. Students who hold a certificate from an accredited school are prepared to take a state licensing exam, which is required to perform work in most states.

Career Information and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, manicurists and pedicurists earned a median wage of $19,340 as of May 2013. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 16% job growth for manicurists over the years 2012-2022, faster than for other job categories. Growth was expected to be driven by an expansion in the number of full-service salons as consumers shift to smaller-scale, affordable luxuries.

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Career Information for a Degree or Certification in Nail Manicure

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
      • Psychology and Human Behavior
  • 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
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • 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
      • Psychology and Human Behavior
  • 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
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics