Does your idea of a relaxing afternoon involve pulling out bottles of polish and experimenting with the latest nail art designs? Then it may be time to consider enrolling in a manicure school. Not only can a manicurist school help you perfect your skills, but it can lead to an engaging career as a nail technician, also known as a manicurist and pedicurist.
What does a manicurist and pedicurist do?
These professionals promote beauty and wellness in all the following ways:
- Consulting with clients about appropriate nail treatments and services.
- Cleaning, trimming and filing nails.
- Massaging hands and feet.
- Applying French or gel manicures, silk wraps, nail art and/or color.
- Recommending appropriate nail care products.
How to Become a Manicurist
You'll have to meet state requirements to work as a manicurist. Every state is different so you'll want to check with the licensing board for how to become a manicurist in your area. However, most jurisdiction require the following:
- Completion of a state-approved education program
- Minimum number of instructional hours
- Passage of a licensing exam
Degree programs for manicurists
A degree isn't required to become a manicurist, but you will need to take some manicure and pedicure courses before you can begin working. Most nail technician programs result in one of the following two awards.
- Certificate: You can earn a certificate in as little as three months at some institutions. These programs include basic instruction on nail techniques, proper hygiene and tool sterilization. Certificates may be a quick way to meet state education requirements.
- Technical diploma: These programs can be completed in one semester at some manicurist schools. A technical diploma will include manicure and pedicure courses along with instruction in topics such as salon services, marketing and retail products.
Manicurist apprenticeship programs
In some states, you don't have to go to a manicurist school to pursue a career as a nail technician. Instead, you can complete an apprenticeship to meet education requirements.
The details can vary by state, but apprenticeship programs generally must meet specific requirements. For example, apprentices in Michigan must receive 120 hours of training before being allowed to work on the public. They are also required to train for not more than 7 hours a day, send monthly timesheets to the state licensing department and complete two exams over the course of receiving 480 hours of instruction.
Manicure programs can be found at cosmetology schools, beauty schools or community colleges. You may be wondering if there are manicure schools online. While you can find manicure and pedicure online courses, they don't meet the requirements for professional licensure in most states. Since manicurists have a hands-on job, states typically only license those whose education includes supervised, real-world practice.
Licensing is a key component to understanding how to become a manicurist. Since each state has its own requirements for licensure, you'll need to check with the licensing board to understand what is needed to work as a manicurist in your area.
However, generally, most states require manicurists to be at least 16, complete an approved education or apprenticeship program and pass an exam. Most often, states will use an exam from the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). There may be both written and practical - or hands-on - sections to the exam.
Career advancement for manicurists
Becoming a nail technician can be a quick way to enter the beauty industry. After gaining work experience, some manicurists go back to school to become a cosmetologist. Doing so allows them to provide skin and hair care and can open up new career opportunities.
Skills and Qualities for Manicurists
Manicurists and pedicurists have a customer-oriented job that requires hands-on skill. The following are a few of the abilities required to be successful in this career.
- Active listening: A good manicurist will provide their full attention when listening to a client's requests. If anything is unclear, they will ask appropriate follow-up questions to clarify a client's needs.
- Social perceptiveness: Clients aren't always forthcoming about their preferences or opinions. Nail technicians must be able to pick up on social cues to see how a person is reacting to the look and feel of their nails and make adjustments as needed.
- Near vision: Good eyesight is essential, especially for technicians who are applying intricate nail art designs.
- Finger dexterity: Nail tools are small, and a manicurist needs to be able to grasp and manipulate them easily in order to do their work well.
- Arm-hand steadiness: Technicians may be required to hold a person's hand or foot while working on their nails. Being able to do so with a steady arm is important.
Career Outlook and Salary Information for Manicurists
The following chart shows manicurist salary data, but be aware that actual incomes can vary depending on many factors. Your manicurist salary can reflect where you live, your level of experience and your particular skills. Job growth within the field can also vary significantly, but nationwide estimates can provide a good benchmark to determine whether a profession is in demand:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Manicurists and Pedicurists||110,170||$25,860||12%|
Professional Resources for Manicurists
There are a number of organizations that provide benefits and information to manicurists and those enrolled in manicurist schools.
- Associated Nail Professionals - This organization provides inexpensive liability insurance and website building tools for both students and those working in the field.
- Professional Beauty Association - The PBA provides education and advocacy for salon professionals, including nail technicians.
- National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology - Known as NIC, this group oversees state examinations for licensure. You can also find links to state licensing boards on the organization's website.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Manicurists and Pedicurists, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/manicurists-and-pedicurists.htm
- Nail Technology, Miller-Motte College, Accessed November 2018, https://www.miller-motte.edu/campuses/wilmington-career-training/nail-technician-school-wilmington
- Nail Technician, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Accessed November 2018, https://www.cvtc.edu/academics/programs/nail-technician
- Cosmetology Apprenticeships, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Accessed November 2018, https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_72600_72602_72731_72864_73174-141908 -- ,00.html
- Manicurists and Pedicurists, O*Net Online, Accessed November 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/39-5092.00