Nail technicians are an integral part of the beauty industry. Nail techs, also known as manicurists and pedicurists, are responsible for cleaning, trimming, shaping, and painting nails as well as taking care of customers hands and feet. Nail techs help their customers feel beautiful by taking care of the delicate areas on the hands and feet, Nail technicians have a fantastic career outlook for the next few years making the decision to attend school to become one well worth it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that manicurist and pedicurist jobs will increase by ten percent between 2014 and 2024, an increase which is far higher than the average growth of other professions. Over eleven thousand jobs will be created through the decade.
There are a few steps to becoming a nail technician. First, those who are interested in becoming a nail tech need to enroll in and complete a nail technician program through an accredited beauty school or technical school. The program must be state approved. Generally, each program varies by state to state. In school, students learn crucial skills and information such as airbrush nail art, nail art techniques, nail sculpting, basic pedicure, spa manicure, artificial nail removal, nail repair, massage techniques, and nail wrapping. This is only the beginning of the types of things you’ll learn in school. The best nail technicians programs also include vital subjects such as chemistry, nail diseases, basic arm, hand, leg, and foot anatomy, business operations, client care, sanitation and sterilization, and government standards. Finding a great program shouldn’t be difficult. Across the nation there are hundreds of state approved programs.
Once you’ve decided that nail technician school is something you are interested in attending, your next step should be to determine whether or not becoming a nail tech is the right career for you. Nail technicians sit for most of their workday so immobility must be something you are comfortable with. In addition, nail techs often spend much of their time with customers chatting while working on their nails. It is important that nail techs be comfortable chatting with customers so having an outgoing personality and not being very shy are fantastic qualities to embody. Business acumen is also crucial to many nail technician’s success. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around thirty percent of nail techs are self employed. In order to do well as a self employed nail tech, prospective candidates need to have a general understanding of business principles such as accounting, administrative tasks, and personnel management. Or, at least have the willingness to learn these crucial skills. Lastly, customer service skills are a must. As a manicurist and pedicurist, you will be responsible for dealing with the public all day long. While most customers will surely be great, there will still be many who test your patience and will be difficult to work with. You must be able to develop the skills necessary to deal with all type of customers.
Once you have successfully completed your educational program of choice, the next step is to pass your state’s licensing exam. Each state has slightly different standards on their exams with Connecticut being with only state to not require an exam of any sort. The test will cover much of the information you learned while in school so try to take the exam as soon as finishing school as possible. Some educational programs even have test prep built into their curriculum. Potential topics the exam may cover include the anatomy and physiology of arms, legs, feet, hands, and nails, nail diseases and conditions, sanitation techniques, massage techniques, acrylic and gel nail technique, and proper manicure and/or application.
Once you’ve completed your certification program and passed your state’s licensing exam, it's time to find a job! As mentioned earlier, the job market for nail technicians is growing every single year making it a great time to find a job in the industry. Jobs can be found throughout hair salons, spas, nail salons, hotels, cruise ships, and resorts.
Throughout the country, the current median for manicurists and pedicurists is $10.01 per hour. This works out to be around $20,000 a year. The lowest ten percent make around or less than $8.78 an hour or about $17,500 a year. The top ten percent make $16.32 an hour or more and gross about $32,500 a year. (These average salaries are based on a forty hour work week.) It is important to note that depending on where you seek employment, you may or may not be able to secure full time hours. Some places, such as hair salons, only need a nail technician for half of the week or a few hours each day. Other venues may want you to commit to a forty hour work week or greater. There is also the option to go out on your own and create your own nail business. There are many different business models you can follow to make the business of your dreams. Some manicurist and pedicurists do house calls and go to where their clients are. Others open up their own nail salon. If you decide to go either of those routes, it is incredibly important that you learn the marketing skills needed to build up a clientele. Wherever you chose to look for employment, be sure to stay patient. Finding the right avenue for you can take a bit of time.