Nail Technician Certification Program Overviews
Students who complete the nail technician certificate program often work for beauty salons or go into business for themselves. Certification is voluntary, but licensure is required to work in the field. Read about the curriculum and common prerequisites of these programs, and look at the average job growth for nail technicians.
A nail technician certificate program is usually offered by a cosmetology school or a community college and can be completed in about one semester. Aside from a high school education, prospective students may need to meet age requirements. Applicants often gain practical, hands-on experience in a salon-style setting.
In addition to teaching manicure and pedicure techniques, this program helps students develop the communication and interpersonal skills needed in this profession. Students also learn about the laws and regulations that govern nail technicians in the state in which they plan to work. Other topics covered include sanitation, workplace safety and skin care as well as nail care, disorders and diseases. There is no certification required for these programs, but nail technicians need to secure state licensure.
Applicants are typically required to have completed high school or earned a GED. In addition, most schools require that applicants be at least 16 years old before enrolling.
The curriculum includes lectures, lab studies and working with models in preparation for hands-on work in a real-time salon setting. Topics of study may include:
- Artificial nails
- Salon management
- Advanced nail care
- Cosmetology practices
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the increase in the number of nail salons and full-services spas would contribute to nail technicians having a faster than average employment growth (www.bls.gov). Employment of nail technicians was expected to grow by 19% between 2008 and 2018, stated the bureau. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary of a nail technician was $19,650 as of May 2010.
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
Although certification is not required for nail technicians, state licensure is a requirement before nail technicians can begin work. Licensing regulations differ by state, but most states require that applicants complete a state-approved cosmetology program and pass an examination. The examination usually consists of a practical component and written test.
According to reports by the BLS, the best employment opportunities would be for workers with training in more than one specialty. Graduates of nail technician programs may choose to pursue further training in other areas of personal appearance or may pursue associate's degree programs in cosmetology.
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