How to become a nail technician

  • Nail technicians clean, shape, trim, and beautify their clients’ fingernails and toenails. They are often employed in a nail salon, hair salon, or spa. However, some nail technicians also choose to run or work in a mobile nail salon, which allows them to bring their services to the clients’ homes.

  • Nail Technician Education

    Aspiring nail technicians must have at least a high school diploma or GED and have to be at least 16 years old. They also need to complete a nail technician training or cosmetology program and pass the licensure exam. There are nail technician programs that only last for three months, as well as a two-year associate’s degree in nail technology or cosmetology.

    Community colleges, private schools, and vocational schools offer programs on nail technology and cosmetology. These programs will teach students and improve technical skills, such as manicuring, pedicuring, hands and foot anatomy, applying artificial nails, and treating skin and nail disorders. The students will also learn more about following the safety and sanitation guidelines, aside from the basic nail products.

    Licenses, Registrations and Certifications for nail technicians

    Most nail technician programs prepare students to take and pass the state-licensing exams. Those who want to take the exam are usually required to complete an accredited training program. Aside from the written exam, candidates will also be required to take the practical exam so they can show off their knowledge. Some nail technician candidates accept licensed techs from other states.

    Those who want to learn more about the state licensing examination can get the necessary information and even some sample questions from the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology. The American Association of Cosmetology Schools and the Professional Beauty Association also offer more information about the state exams.

    Other Requirements

    Aside from completing the necessary program and passing the licensure exam, nail technicians should also have the necessary skills to perform their job well. They need business skills if they want to operate their own nail salon or mobile nail salon. They should know how to perform administrative tasks like personnel management and accounting. Nail technicians should also be creative to create intricate and small designs on the nails, as well as the ability to recommend nail designs based on the clients’ preferences. They need great customer-service skills since their line of work involves a lot of interaction with their clients. These skills would help them make loyal customers for more repeat business. Nail technicians must have dexterity. Steady hands are necessary to help them create precise nail designs, while keeping their clients and themselves safe from their sharp tools.

    Finding Work

    Most nail technicians work at nail salons, spas and resorts, and beauty salons. As there are more nail salons opened in the US, the demand for nail technicians is expected to increase by 19%, within the period from 2008 to 2018.

    Advancement Opportunities for nail technicians

    Licensed nail technicians can find entry-level work at nail salons or spas, under the supervision of the more experienced ones. Depending on experience and performance, they could move into a supervisory or management position. Some may choose to specialize in more cosmetology services, while others may start teaching at nail technician schools. Read more about nail technician salary.

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