Manicurist Job Description and Employment Outlook
A manicurist, also called a nail technician, is a personal appearance specialist or cosmetologist who works on the care and beautification of fingernails and cuticles. They work in spas and beauty salons.
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 client,. Those who plan to operate a salon of their own also need a measure of business acumen for sales, marketing and office management.
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 Payscale.com, manicurists with 1-4 years of experience earned a median wage of $10.65 per hour and those with 5-9 years of experience earned $13.93 per hour as of February 2010. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19% job growth for manicurists over the years 2008-2018, a much faster rate than for other job categories. Growth will be driven by an expansion in the number of full-service salons as consumers shift to smaller-scale, affordable luxuries in response to the ongoing recession.
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