What Qualifications Are Needed for Becoming a Manicurist?

Manicurists typically need to complete a state-approved training program and a licensure exam. For more information about cosmetology programs that focus on nail technology including manicures and/or pedicures, keep reading. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Manicurist Defined

A manicurist is a nail technician who specializes in taking care of hands and fingernails. You can cut, file or polish the fingernails of your customers. You might also paint nails or apply nail extensions. Other duties can include applying lotion to the client's hand or massaging the skin. You can provide a soaking treatment for a client, allowing the hands to rest in a comfortable solution.

Important Facts About Manicurists and Pedicurists

Online Availability Not Available
Key Skills Creativity and dexterity; customer-service and business skills
Continuing Education Ongoing education is required to maintain a state license in many states
Prerequisites Must be at least 16 years of age with a high school diploma or equivalent

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Qualifications

A manicurist educational program can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete. You can choose to graduate from a cosmetology program and acquire additional skills, or you can just focus your skills through a manicurist program. You'll normally graduate with a certificate of proficiency, but in some cases you can acquire an associate's degree. When you're picking out a school, you'll want to make sure the program is approved by your state's board of cosmetology and accredited by a legitimate accrediting organization, like the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences.

When enrolled in school, courses will include a blend of lectures and hands-on assignments. You'll work with inanimate models and live volunteers to hone your skills. In addition to the technical skills learned, you'll also need to cover business management techniques and sanitation procedures. This is to ensure that you're able to succeed in your career while keeping you and your clients safe.

State Licensure

If you've completed the educational and personal qualifications, you can take your state's licensure exam. Typical requirements for licensure include completing a training program in nail technology or cosmetology and meeting the minimum number of practical experience hours set by your state.

The examination for licensure can vary from state to state, but you'll normally need to complete a practical test of your skills along with a written examination. Once you've passed these tests and paid your fees, you may receive your license and begin working. Every few years, you'll need to renew your license.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that manicurists and pedicurists are expected to see a 13% growth in employment from 2016-2026. This growth is faster than average when compared to other occupations. You'll want to look for employment with nail salons and full-service spas, since the demand for qualified workers will commonly be in these settings. This is especially true at larger establishments that value attributes like previous work experience, licensure and certification.

The BLS noted that the mean annual income for manicurists and pedicurists was $24,330 in May 2018, and professionals in the top ten percent of wage earners were paid $33,490 or more that year. However, the lowest ten percent of earners in the field made $19,700 or less.

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