What Do I Need to Become a Nail Tech?

If you’re wondering what you need to do to become a nail tech you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over everything you need to get started in this exciting career. From the basics of what a nail tech does to the specific education and training requirements, we’ll cover it all. So read on to find out everything you need to know to become a nail tech!

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In order to become a nail technician you will need to complete a cosmetology program that is licensed by your state. Many technical and community colleges offer nail technician programs, which typically take about six months to complete. Upon completion of your schooling, you will be required to pass a state-administered exam in order to obtain your license.

Some states require continuing education in order to renew your license, so be sure to check with your state board for specific requirements. Once you have obtained your license, you will be able to find employment in a salon, spa, or other cosmetology environment.

What is a Nail Technician?

A nail technician is a professional who is trained in the care and enhancement of nails. They are also trained in the removal of nail enhancements and nail disorders. A typical day for a nail technician may include performing manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, gel nails, wraps, and paraffin treatments. Some technicians may also apply makeup, give facials, or perform waxing services.

The Education Requirements

In order to become a licensed nail technician, you will need to complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technology program. Programs typically take between six and twelve months to complete, and will cover topics such as nail care, anatomy, and salon business. After you have completed your schooling, you will then need to pass a state licensing exam.

High School

Although some vocational schools or community colleges offer programs in cosmetology that last from 9 to 12 months, most full-time students complete a 1,600-hour program that takes about 10 months to finish. Some states require a certain number of hours of hands-on training in order to be licensed, but most states recognize cosmetology programs accredited by the National Accreditation Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).

All states require nail technicians to be licensed. To be eligible for a license, candidates usually must graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program and pass a state-administered written and practical exam. Some states require completion of an apprenticeship program.

Nail Technician Programs

Most states require that you complete a nail technician program from a cosmetology school before you can obtain your license.

Nail technician programs typically take about six months to complete, although some longer programs are available. During your program, you’ll take classes in nail care, spa treatments, manicures, pedicures, and salon management. You may also be required to complete an externship at a salon, during which you’ll have the opportunity to put your skills to use in a real-world setting.

The License Requirements

In order to become licensed, you will need to complete a nail technician program at a beauty school that has been approved by your state’s cosmetology board. These programs typically take six to eight months to complete, and you will be required to take both written and practical exams in order to become licensed. Once you have completed the necessary training and obtained your license, you will be able to start working as a nail tech

The Certification Requirements

Becoming a certified nail technician requires the completion of a few key steps. First, you must find a cosmetology school that offers a nail tech program. You can typically find these programs at community colleges, vocational schools, and some cosmetology academies. Once you’ve enrolled in a program, you’ll need to complete between 600 and 1,200 hours of study, which will include both classroom instruction and hands-on training.

After you’ve completed your program, you’ll need to take and pass a state-specific exam in order to earn your certification. Once you have your certification, you can start looking for jobs at salons, spas, or even start your own business!

The Job Outlook

Nail technicians are in demand. The job outlook for manicurists and pedicurists is good, with an expected 19% increase in jobs from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 Because nail salons are often small businesses with low start-up costs, they often open quickly in response to trends, which can increase job opportunities.

Nail technicians can find work in a variety of settings, including:
-Nail salons
-Cruise ships

The Salary Outlook

The median annual wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $23,370 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.81, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,710.


To summarize, in order to become a licensed nail technician, you will need to complete a training program, pass a written and practical exam, and obtain a license from your state’s cosmetology board. Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be able to start your own nail salon or work as an independent contractor.

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