If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Nail Technician, there’s a lot of information that you should consider. With all the information available on the internet, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to decipher what course of action you should take to get started in your chosen career path.
That’s where we come in. We’ve done extensive research and compiled the facts for you – all in one place – to help you get started doing what you love. It’s all here — from salary expectations to career outlook, and even a list of the best nail technician schools – to guide you through this sometimes difficult process and provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
Read more about pursuing a career as a nail technician below(with our top three schools), or click here to find a nail tech school near you!
What Does a Nail Technician Do?
Nail Technicians, often referred to as Nail Techs or manicurists/pedicurists, often work in salons as well as spas. These individuals clean, trim, shape, and paint nails, in addition to performing advanced techniques like French and American style manicures. They also spend a lot of time conversing with clients, so an outgoing personality would be a great asset for this career choice.
Working in the beauty industry can be very rewarding, which is one of the main reasons many people go on to pursue this career. Making someone feel beautiful can change their entire outlook, and yours as well. Many people open their own salons and work for themselves as well, making this career choice filled with endless possibilities.
What is the Average Nail Technician Salary?
As with all careers, the salaries vary, depending upon location and one’s experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is around $9.24 per hour, which equates to an annual salary of more than $19,000.
You may expect to start out at a lower hourly wage, which can be increased with experience. Nail professionals and other beauty professionals often receive tips from happy clients as well.
Are Nail Technicians in High Demand?
Those working in the beauty industry have a solid career outlook. Concern over one’s appearance is especially important here in the United States, and therefore techs can expect to gain employment fairly easily, especially if you’re good at what you do.
The demand for this career is expected to increase over the next several years by a total of 16 percent, which is faster than the average for all career occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Nail Technician
To work in this career, you must first get licensed by your state. To do so, you are required to complete training from a cosmetology or nail technician school, and to successfully pass your state’s board exams. It may seem overwhelming now, but it is attainable, and it’s not as hard as you think!
Your first step will be to find a great school to attend. You may be able to get trained as part of a cosmetology program, however, there are specific schools that have programs just for aspiring technicians. Are you wondering how to find the best school for you? Don’t worry, we’ll cover that later on.
Once you’ve found the school you want to attend, the next step is to apply for admission, as well as financial aid. You can visit fafsa.gov anytime to apply for the current year or the following year’s financial aid. At fafsa.gov, you will enter your school’s code so that the appropriate information is sent there. From there, you will be able to contact your specific school to determine if you will be receiving financial aid, and if so, how much you will be awarded.
Now on to the fun part – registering for your classes. While some find this process challenging, it can be fun and exciting for others. Some beauty schools allow you to register for classes online, while others will require you to do so in person. Either way, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goal of becoming a licensed technician.
Once you’re enrolled in school and have purchased your required materials, you’ll be beginning your training. The average program consists of around 375 hours of training, where you will learn the skills necessary to have a successful career. Training will most likely take one year or less, but the length of courses does vary from school to school, and from state to state.
After you’ve completed your training, you will go on to sit for your state’s nail technician licensing exams. There is typically a fee involved to take these exams, but it’s relatively small and affordable. Once you’ve passed your exam, you will be able to begin looking for jobs in your field. Some schools will help you with this process even after graduation.
The Best Nail Technician Schools
There are many factors to consider when making the decision of what school to attend. You must think about how your school’s schedule will fit into your life, as well as the school’s location, tuition costs and benefits. We’ve taken the time to weed out the schools that aren’t worth your time or money, and come up with a list of the Top 3 Best Nail Tech Schools for you to choose from.
3. Milan Institute of Cosmetology
The Milan Institute is a family owned school that has been helping students get their educations since 1985. With over 25,000 graduates, this school provides hands-on training for qualified educators to give you the experience you need to become successful in your field. The Milan Institute is an accredited school with a reputation in the beauty industry, opening doors for potential jobs for graduates.
With locations all over the United States, the Milan Institute of Cosmetology offers a great Manicurist/Technologist Program to help you achieve your goal of becoming a successful tech. This cosmetology school offers the Manicurist Program at the following locations: Reno, Nevada; El Paso, Texas; and two locations in San Antonio, Texas.
At the Milan Institute, students will gain the education and hands-on experience needed to perform manicures, pedicures, to apply artificial nails, to repair those that are split and broken, and much more. We recommend the Milan Institute of Cosmetology because it’s a smaller, family owned school that provides plenty of care and attention for each student to be successful at what they do.
2. The Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails
Since 1973, the Ogle School of Hair, Skin and Nails has been offering students a high quality education that plants them firmly in their chosen career paths. This school does not offer a separate nail technician program, but the material is covered in their amazing cosmetology program, which can be completed in under one year. Ogle offers a variety of locations throughout the state of Texas.
The cosmetology program at Ogle consist of 1500 hours of hands-on learning that teaches students the basic of the beauty industry, in addition to professional skills that are vital to their success. At Ogle, you’ll learn makeup artist skills and professional barbering skills in addition to nail tech skills. Not only is this nail school accredited, it prepared students to take their state’s licensing exams, and strives to place them in their desires workplace.
Ogle offers financial aid to those who qualify, and provides both full and part-time schedules for a flexible education that works around your schedule. We recommend the Ogle School of Hair, Skin and Nails because it offers students a versatile education, in which students can choose from many employment opportunities and career paths to take.
1. The Elaine Sterling Institute
The Elaine Sterling Institute, located in Atlanta, Georgia, offers students a 600 clock hour program in which one can become a nail technician in as little as 6 to 9 months. This affordable program delivers a wide array of course curriculum in which students will receive the training necessary to prepare for state board exams and licensure.
Level 1: Theory 140 Hours
- Personal Hygiene, Ethics and Customer Care
- Sanitation and Sterilization
- AIDS, HIV and Universal Precautions
- EPA, OSHA, Government Standards and Blood Spill Procedure
- Pysiology and anatomy of the hands,arms and legs
- Massage techniques and introduction to reflexology
- Nail Structure,diseases and disorders
- Implements usage, procedures and safety
- Salon business and operations
- Client care and consultation
- Business development, Marketing, Advertising and Retailing
- Career Planning, Resume Writing
- Georgia State Board Laws and Rules
- State Board Examination Preparation
Level 2: 460 Hours
- Basic Manicure
- Spa Manicure
- Massage Techniques (Hands and Feet- Includes legs and forearm)
- Basic Pedicure
- Deluxe pedicure
- Nail Sculpting
- Artificial Tip application and overlay
- Nail Wrap (Silk, Linen)
- Fill in application
- Artificial nail removal and nail repair
- Nail Art Techniques
- Airbrush Nail Art
- Paraffin Treatments on hands and feet
- Student Competition
- Advanced Techniques
Source: Elaine Sterling
The Elaine Sterling Institute offers both day and evening classes, as well as financial aid for those who qualify. We recommend this school’s nail technician program because it provides attention to students’ needs by qualified instructors, and is accredited, offering a vigorous knowledge-packed curriculum for eager students.
Choosing a career path can be a difficult decision, but for those with a creative flare who want to help others, a career as a nail technician can be rewarding – both financially and emotionally. There’s no better time than now to get started pursuing your career, and with the information provided here as your arsenal, you are equipped to make it happen. We wish you all the best luck in making your dreams come true!