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. Nail extensions and creative polish designs have become popular for women of all ages, and, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states, the demand for skilled nail technicians is rising.
Manicurists and pedicurists: education and licensing requirements
To pursue a career as a manicurist and pedicurist, individuals typically need to complete a state-approved nail technician or cosmetology program, according to the BLS.
Prospective nail technicians must fulfill licensing in addition to educational requirements. Licensing requirements vary by state, but applicants must usually be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. To earn a license, candidates must pass a written and practical exam after completing the appropriate educational program.
Individuals can find out more information about licensing and examinations through the following cosmetology associations:
- National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC)
- Professional Beauty Association (PBA)
- American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)
Career and salary outlook
The BLS projects a 16 percent employment growth for manicurists and pedicurists between 2012 to 2022. Cosmetologists are introducing new nail services, such as mini sessions and mobile manicures and pedicures, which can help drive growth. A growing desire for better grooming among both the male and female populations may also contribute.
The BLS offers national 2013 wage data pertaining to manicure and pedicure professionals:
- Mean annual wage: $21,790
- Median annual wage: $19,340
- Mean hourly wage: $10.48
- Median hourly wage: $9.30
The highest paying states for manicurists and pedicurists are Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas and South Dakota, while the highest concentration of jobs is in New York, California and New Jersey. Most nail technicians work in nail salons, hair salons and spas, and some may run their own business. In 2012, 27 percent were self-employed.
Manicurists and Pedicurists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/manicurists-and-pedicurists.htm
Manicurists and Pedicurists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395092.htm