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How Do I Become a Nail Technician?

Artificial nails applied by a nail technician.
A woman with acrylic fingernails.
A woman with gel nails.
A woman getting a manicure.
Gel nails curing under a UV light.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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A nail technician is a person who gives manicures and performs other treatments aimed at making a person's nails look more attractive. For example, a nail technician may apply acrylic nails or adorn nails with decorative elements. If you want to become a nail technician, you'll typically have to earn a high-school-level education and then go on to seek training from a cosmetology school. After completing a training program, you will likely have to obtain licensing from your jurisdiction, depending on the country in which you are seeking employment. Additionally, you may seek an apprenticeship or a similar type of post-license training, though this is usually not a requirement for becoming a nail technician.

In most places, you will need some education to become a nail technician. In many jurisdictions, you will be required to hold a high school diploma or a general educational development (GED) diploma to pursue this job. There are, however, some places in which you can become a nail technician after completing only a couple of years of high school. To learn the level of education you will need to work as a nail technician, you may contact potential employers or the licensing body in your jurisdiction.

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After you finish high school, earn a GED, or meet your jurisdiction's educational requirement, your next step will likely be enrolling in a nail technology or cosmetology program. These programs are typically available through beauty and vocational schools, and they often end with the granting of a certificate. The nail topics you will learn as you work to become a nail technician may depend on where you go to school, but these programs typically provide training in giving manicures and applying acrylic and gel nails. You'll likely learn how to do silk wraps and pedicures as well. Your instruction will probably include not only how to care for a person's nails, but also how to relate to customers, adhere to health and safety standards, and manage a nail salon. You may be required to renew your license, often every couple of years, as well.

After earning a training certificate, you'll usually need to earn a license to become a nail technician. One of the requirements for licensing is usually graduation from a jurisdiction-approved training program. Additional requirements may vary from place to place, but you may have to pay a fee and pass an examination.

Once you have earned a license, you may decide to seek post-licensing training in the form of an apprenticeship. You may find such an opportunity through a licensed nail or beauty salon. This is usually not mandatory, however, and you may choose to look for a job or open your own salon right after completing your training and licensing.

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