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Learn How to Get Your Nail Technician Certification.

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Nail Technicians (also called Manicurists and Pedicurists) held 78,000 jobs in 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 28 percent job growth is expected for these personal care professionals through 2016.

Success as a nail technician depends in large part on a person’s ability to communicate with customers. As a result, a component of a nail technician certificate program focuses on communication and interpersonal skills. Students enrolled in this program also learn about the laws and regulations that govern nail technicians in the state in which they plan to work. Some of the topics covered that are pertinent to the profession include nail and skin care, nail disorders and diseases, pedicures and manicures, workplace safety and sanitation. Classes also give students an opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience in a salon-style setting.

Many community colleges and beauty schools require that applicants hold a high school diploma or have a GED certificate. Some schools further require that prospective students complete some college-level mathematics and English courses. Additionally, a tuberculosis test may be required for admission.

Program Coursework
No general education courses are required for completion of a nail technician certificate program. Classes solely focus on the responsibilities and skills required of a nail technician. Some courses may include:

  • Advanced nail care topics
  • The theory of cosmetology
  • Pedicures
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Manicures
  • Salon management

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the employment of nail technicians is expected to increase by 19% for the decade of 2008-2018. The median annual salary of a nail tech, also reported by the BLS in 2008, is $19,670.

Certification is not required for nail technicians; however, state licensure must be earned before a graduate of a nail technician certificate program can begin work. State licensure requirements differ but generally include graduation from a program that has been approved by a state board of cosmetology. Additionally, candidates have to pass an exam, which may include a practical component and written test.

Performing nail treatments on clients’ hands and feet is the primary responsibility of a Nail Tech. A Nail Tech trims, shapes, files and polishes nails, as well as applies tips or wraps to nails, massages hands and feet, applies lotions and specialty treatments and airbrushes nail art. Some Nail Techs sell products used during nail services directly to clients, earning commission on each sale. Evening and weekend hours are common for Nail Techs, who usually work in salons or spas. Nail Techs generally work as an employee or an independent contractor renting space from the spa or salon owner.

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