What Is Nail Technology?

Nail technology is the art of decorating and improving nails. You can learn more about nail technology careers and educational opportunities by reading below. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Defined

Nail technology refers to the techniques, tools, and other products used to treat and take care of nails, while also making them look aesthetically pleasing. This field involves cosmetic beauty treatments for fingernails, hands, toenails, and feet. Typically, nail technology is divided into two areas: manicures for hands and pedicures for feet. Lotions, decals, gels, and acrylics are all products used in this field.

Important Facts About Manicurists and Pedicurists

Median Salary (2019) $25,443 (for nail technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% growth (for all manicurists and pedicurists)**
Entry-level Education Postsecondary non-degree award
On-the-Job Training None
Work Environment Spas, nail salons, hair salons

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

If you work in nail technology, you'll usually hold the job title of nail technician, manicurist, or pedicurist. You'll focus on taking care of customers' nail concerns by cleaning, polishing, and painting nails, as well as applying nail extensions. Workers in this industry must also ensure a safe and clean environment by following sanitation regulations to avoid the risk of spreading any infections.

Basic customer service duties are an important component to a nail technology job. Conversing with clients and ensuring customer satisfaction can lead to an increase in profits or repeat business. Other duties at a nail salon include cleaning up your work station and handling cash register duties. You also might need to perform some managerial duties like keeping inventory, purchasing supplies, and overseeing a team of workers.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), manicurists and pedicurists made a median hourly wage of $11.70 as of May 2018. This amounted to a median annual salary of $24,330. The top ten percent of manicurists and pedicurists made $33,490 or more yearly. The industry that employed the most manicurists and pedicurists was personal care services.

The BLS reported that manicurist and pedicurist positions were expected to experience a 13% growth from 2016-2026, which was higher than normal. However, the BLS noted that tough competition might exist for coveted positions at high-end boutiques and establishments. As workers left the field, more job opportunities were expected to open up.

Educational Opportunities

Most nail technology jobs require you to hold a high school diploma or GED, but you also might need to earn a nail technologist certificate. Before enrolling in one of these programs, you'll want to make sure that the school you're attending is properly certified by state licensing boards. Coursework in a nail technology program covers topics like manicures, business ethics, sanitation, nail diseases, nail repair, and nail art. Nail clinical experiences can allow you to practice what you've learned in the classroom on real clients in a salon setting.

Before you begin working, you'll typically have to pay a licensing fee and complete a licensing examination. Examination requirements vary in each state, but periodical renewal is common. The state licensing examination can involve a written test, an oral examination or a live demonstration.

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