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Job description of a nail technician

As personal appearance workers, nail technicians specialise exclusively on nails. Workers clean and shape their clients' fingernails and toenails. According to the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), nail technicians are also known as manicurists and pedicurists.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a nail technician offers manicures, pedicures and nail extensions. According to O*Net, she must keep her tools and equipment clean in order to prevent infection and the spread of diseases. She prepares her clients' nails by removing previously applied nail polish with nail polish remover. She cleanses nails in soap and water. She observes the condition of her customers' nails and removes dead skin from the hands or feet by applying lotion and massaging them. A nail technician shapes and smooths the end of the nails using nail cutters, scissors, nail files and emery boards. She softens cuticles, uses a cuticle knife to push back the cuticle, and uses scissors or nippers to trim the cuticles. She applies clear nail polish as an undercoat. Aside from working with nails, she schedules appointments and accepts payments.

Education & Training

All states require licensure, although education and licensure requirements vary by state. If you are interested in becoming a nail technician, check state laws before enrolling in a training program. Most states require entrants to be at least 16 years old. For some states, a high school diploma or GED is required. Most states also require education and training in a state-licensed program. According to, a non-profit that connects students to educational opportunities, a nail technician program often leads to a certificate.


According to the BLS May 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), a nail technician earned a national average hourly rate of £6.80 per hour and a national average salary of £14,326. The median salary ranged from below £10,081 to above £21,170. Personal care services employed the highest number of nail technicians of all industries and paid an average salary of £14,215 to these employees. Other industries that employed the most nail technicians were as follows: travel accommodation--$21,870, department stores--$19,030, and health and personal care stores--$23,050.

Environment & Hours

According to O*Net, a nail technician keeps the work environment sanitised and clean. According to the BLS, most nail technicians can be found in salons; however some may also work in a spa, hotel or resort. Many full-time nail technicians work 40 hours per week; however, longer hours are common. Work schedules can include nights and weekends when salons are busiest.


According to the BLS National Employment Matrix, employment for nail technicians will increase faster than average at a rate of 19 per cent through 2018. Job opportunities are good for licensed technicians seeking entry-level jobs.