Manicurists and pedicurists, also referred to as nail technicians, are personal appearance workers who specialize in procedures that enhance the fingernails and toenails of their clients. They trim, file, and polish nails and apply fingernail extensions. Because nail extensions and creative polish designs have become extremely popular for women of all ages, the demand for skilled nail technicians with specialized training is rising rapidly.
All 50 states require nail technicians to be licensed by graduating from a state-licensed nail technician school. Manicurists and pedicurists usually require fewer hours of training classes than some other personal appearance workers, such as barbers and hairstylists. At any of the many licensed nail technician schools, you can take classes or courses to earn a certificate, diploma, or even an associate degree in cosmetology.
Nail technician jobs are projected to grow at almost three times the rate of all U.S. jobs between 2006 and 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The average job-growth rate during those years is projected to be 10 percent, and the BLS expects nail technician jobs during the same period to increase by as much as 28 percent, from 78,000 jobs in 2006 to 100,000 jobs in 2016. Mean hourly earnings in 2008, including tips and commissions, were $10.60. Most nail technicians work in beauty salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, and nursing and residential care homes, and many are self-employed.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of nail extensions and decorative nail painting, there's a high demand for trained nail technicians, but also lots of competition. Graduation from a nail technician school is required and can also help you learn the skills necessary to become a successful manicurist, pedicurist, or general nail technician--not to mention earn a reputation for creativity and customer service. Courses that are part of an associate degree, certificate, or diploma will help you polish off your competition.