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Manicurist Careers

What Does a Manicurist Do

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.

Duties

Manicurists and pedicurists typically do the following:

  • Discuss nail treatments and services available
  • Remove nail polish
  • Clean, trim, and file nails
  • Reduce calluses and rough skin
  • Massage and moisturize hands (for a manicure) and feet (for a pedicure)
  • Polish or buff nails
  • Advise clients about nail and skin care for hands and feet
  • Promote and sell nail and skin care products
  • Clean and disinfect their work area and tools

Manicurists and pedicurists work exclusively on the hands and feet, providing treatments to groom fingernails and toenails. A typical treatment involves soaking the clients’ hands or feet to soften the skin in order to remove dead skin cells. Manicurists and pedicurists apply lotion to the hands and feet to moisturize the skin. They also may shape and apply polish to artificial fingernails.

Manicurists and pedicurists use a variety of tools, including nail clippers, nail files, and specialized cuticle tools. They must be focused while they perform their duties, because most of the tools they use are sharp. Keeping their tools clean and sanitary is important.

Some manicurists and pedicurists operate their own nail salon business. They manage the daily decision making tasks, such as keeping inventory records and ordering supplies. They also hire and supervise workers and sell nail care products, such as nail polish and hand or foot cream, to clients. A small, but growing, number of workers make house calls. Their mobile manicure and pedicure services are popular because clients consider them convenient.

How To Become a Manicurist

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require.

Education

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program. Currently, there are hundreds of programs nationwide.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

State licensing requirements vary. However, applicants need to be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. After completing a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program, manicurists and pedicurists must take a written exam and a practical exam to get a license through their state board. Mobile manicure and pedicure services require a separate license.

The National–Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology provides information on state examinations for licensing, with sample questions. The Professional Beauty Association and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools also provide information on state examinations, as well as offering other professional links.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Manicurists and pedicurist who run their own nail salon must understand general business principles. For example, they should be skilled at administrative tasks, such as accounting and personnel management, and be able to manage a salon efficiently and profitably.

Creativity. The ability to neatly finish small, intricate designs is important, as is the ability to suggest nail designs and match them to individual tastes. 

Customer-service skills. Good listening and interpersonal skills are important in working with clients. Also, meeting the needs of clients, including interacting with them while doing a manicure or pedicure, encourages repeat business.

Dexterity. A steady hand is essential in achieving a creative and precise nail design. In addition, because manicurists and pedicurists often use sharp tools, they must have good finger dexterity.

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Average Salary
$23,813
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
10%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
4,529
Job Openings

Manicurist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Manicurist

Cashier
14.4 %

Top Careers After Manicurist

Cashier
10.0 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Manicurist

Manicurists in America make an average salary of $23,813 per year or $11 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $31,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $18,000 per year.
Average Salary
$23,813

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Los Angeles, CA
Salary Range19k - 36k$27k$26,848
Newington, CT
Salary Range19k - 32k$25k$25,141
Washington, DC
Salary Range18k - 29k$24k$23,581
Chicago, IL
Salary Range18k - 27k$23k$22,675
Huntington, NY
Salary Range17k - 29k$23k$22,627
Clifton, NJ
Salary Range16k - 28k$22k$21,547
$16k
$36k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Manicurist
Manicurist
Hireground Personnel Inc.
Hireground Personnel Inc.
07/29/2019
07/29/2019
$27,13107/29/2019
$27,131
Manicurist
Manicurist
Ksyla, Inc.
Ksyla, Inc.
01/17/2019
01/17/2019
$24,96001/17/2019
$24,960
Manicurist
Manicurist
Emilio & Scott Salon, Inc. DBA Salon Duo
Emilio & Scott Salon, Inc. DBA Salon Duo
12/20/2018
12/20/2018
$23,29612/20/2018
$23,296
Manicurist Helper
Manicurist Helper
Posh Nail & Spa of Southport Inc.
Posh Nail & Spa of Southport Inc.
09/21/2018
09/21/2018
$21,27809/21/2018
$21,278
Manicurist & Pedicurist
Manicurist & Pedicurist
Trillium Salon & Spa LLC
Trillium Salon & Spa LLC
08/20/2018
08/20/2018
$19,19808/20/2018
$19,198
See More Recent Salaries

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Manicurist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Manicurist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Manicurist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Manicurist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Manicurist Demographics

Gender

female

80.8 %

male

14.4 %

unknown

4.8 %

Ethnicity

Asian

51.6 %

White

31.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

12.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Vietnamese

42.2 %

Spanish

24.2 %

Polish

9.4 %
See More Demographics

Manicurist Education

Majors

Business
16.6 %
Nursing
9.0 %

Degrees

Bachelors

22.2 %

Associate

20.4 %

High School Diploma

19.5 %
See More Education Info
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Full Time
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Top Skills For a Manicurist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 22.2% of manicurists listed cosmetology on their resume, but soft skills such as business skills and dexterity are important as well.

  • Cosmetology, 22.2%
  • Customer Service, 11.8%
  • Scheduling Appointments, 9.8%
  • State Board, 8.3%
  • Guest Service, 7.1%
  • Other Skills, 40.8%
  • See All Manicurist Skills

Best States For a Manicurist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a manicurist. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Arizona. Manicurists make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $48,102. Whereas in Minnesota and North Carolina, they would average $30,283 and $27,141, respectively. While manicurists would only make an average of $27,066 in Arizona, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Hawaii

Total Manicurist Jobs:
31
Highest 10% Earn:
$67,000
Location Quotient:
1.87
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arizona

Total Manicurist Jobs:
374
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
Location Quotient:
3.22
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Minnesota

Total Manicurist Jobs:
125
Highest 10% Earn:
$42,000
Location Quotient:
0.95
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Manicurist Employers

1. J. C. Penney
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$31,792
Manicurists Hired: 
14+
2. Creative Nail Design
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$24,401
Manicurists Hired: 
5+
3. Gene Juarez Salons LLC
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$22,811
Manicurists Hired: 
4+
4. Loft
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$23,511
Manicurists Hired: 
3+
5. The Woodhouse Day Spa
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$22,776
Manicurists Hired: 
3+
6. Regis
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$24,201
Manicurists Hired: 
3+