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Become A Nail Artist

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Working As A Nail Artist

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Nail Artist 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.

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How To Become A Nail Artist

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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Nail Artist Demographics

Gender

Female

67.0%

Unknown

22.7%

Male

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

59.8%

Hispanic or Latino

17.4%

Asian

10.9%

Black or African American

8.9%

Unknown

3.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.6%

Chinese

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%

Polish

14.3%

Uyghur

7.1%

Filipino

7.1%

French

7.1%

Tagalog

7.1%
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Nail Artist Education

Schools

Henry Ford College

8.3%

South Seattle Community College

8.3%

Gateway Technical College

8.3%

Fashion Institute of Technology

8.3%

Three Rivers Community College

4.2%

Washburn University of Topeka

4.2%

Moraine Park Technical College

4.2%

Tennessee State University

4.2%

Aveda Institute New York

4.2%

Delaware Technical and Community College - Owens

4.2%

The Hair Academy

4.2%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

4.2%

Union County College

4.2%

Stillwater School of Cosmetology

4.2%

Lasell College

4.2%

Oakland Community College

4.2%

Wayne County Community College District

4.2%

Strayer University-Maryland

4.2%

Liberty University

4.2%

Central Piedmont Community College

4.2%
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Majors

Cosmetology

24.2%

Graphic Design

14.5%

Business

12.9%

Fine Arts

4.8%

General Studies

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.8%

Management

3.2%

Psychology

3.2%

Pharmacy

3.2%

Mathematics

3.2%

Elementary Education

3.2%

Information Technology

3.2%

Theatre

3.2%

Communication Disorders Sciences

1.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.6%

Public Health

1.6%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.6%

Food And Nutrition

1.6%

Occupational Safety And Health

1.6%

Biology

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

38.6%

Bachelors

27.7%

Associate

14.5%

Certificate

9.6%

License

6.0%

Masters

3.6%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Nail Artist?

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Top Skills for A Nail Artist

  1. Nail Care
  2. Birthday Parties
  3. Product Knowledge
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Advise clients on nail care and use of products and colors.
  • Date To provide exceptional customer service and spa services as need.
  • Experience with Orly Gel FX Gel polish.
  • Managed and executed duties in owner's absence by maintaining front desk, inventory and client services.
  • Provided staff with creative knowledge and CA State Board licensing guidelines.

How Would You Rate Working As a Nail Artist?

Are you working as a Nail Artist? Help us rate Nail Artist as a Career.

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