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Individuals interested in a career as a nail technician must first obtain the skills and education necessary to perform one's duties through an accredited nail technician program. Such programs are typically offered through community colleges, career colleges and schools, or specialty schools for cosmetology. Nail technician programs will vary in length, but most will take less than a year to complete and result in a certificate or diploma demonstrating one's competency. Students enrolled in a nail technician program will learn to shape and manicure nails, attend to blotchy or dry skin, maintain equipment and how to sterilize it, and provide other treatments. Programs will have student practice on one another or through a salon, some schools may provide internship opportunities, while others will have a location on campus. This practical experience is beneficial and may be used to assist in finding work after graduation. IN addition, students will learn about business operation and customer service in order to establish and maintain a business.
A curriculum for nail technicians may include:
- Nail Structure
- Manicure and Pedicure Techniques
- Nail Art
- Cosmetology Law
- Salon Development
Individuals who have graduated a nail technician program must first seek licensure by their state prior to being able to work as a technician. Licensure requirements will vary by state, but often have a minimum age limit and an exam. Some state may require a certain amount of supervised hours as well. Many states will require regular renewal of a license, either through reexamination, an annual fee, continuing education courses or some combination of the three.
Once licensed, an individual will most likely pursue work at an existing salon or spa, developing a client base and broadening his or her skills. Nail technicians typically work 40 hours a week, though the many will work evening hours which tend to be the busiest for this type of work. Individuals will shape nails, paint them, attend to cuticle, work on splotchy skin, provide, and educate clients to proper nail and skin care. Individuals may pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly those who have a large client base or have years of experience in the field.
Job growth is expected to increase rapidly over the next decade due to an increased interest in maintaining healthy and youthful appearances, including skin and nails. The average salary for a nail technician is approximately $22,000 per year, but may increase based on experience, skill, demand and ownership.