What is a Nail Technician?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A person who enjoys working with the public and styling nails may wish to become nail technician. A nail technician is a type of cosmetologist who works exclusively with nails. He or she may cut, style, polish, and shape both fingernails and toenails.

Artificial fingernails applied by a nail technician.
Artificial fingernails applied by a nail technician.

Pedicurist and manicurist positions differ from nail technician roles. A technician is typically trained in some of these areas, but not all of them. While a pedicurist is specifically trained in hand cosmetology and a pedicurist specializes in feet, a technician is limited to mainly pedicures and manicures. He or she is normally not responsible for tasks such as exfoliation, massage, cleaning, soaking, or other duties that a manicurist or pedicurist may perform.

A nail technician polishing a woman's fingernails.
A nail technician polishing a woman's fingernails.

Other duties that a nail technician may have can vary by place of employment. Accepting money from clients and depositing it is often something that nail technicians must do. Keeping business records of clients and sales is also an important task. Like any other cosmetology worker, he or she is usually responsible for cleaning and maintaining tools used during the work day as well as the work area itself.

A woman with acrylic fingernails.
A woman with acrylic fingernails.

Some nail techs may specialize in specific areas. Acrylic nails are a popular area of expertise. These fake nails are usually glued on top of real nails, allowing for exotic designs and artful renderings.

Nail technicians often offer pedicures as well as manicures.
Nail technicians often offer pedicures as well as manicures.

To become a technician, a high school diploma, general education development certificate, or its equivalent are often required. In some circumstances, however, they may be waived. Full-time training in a cosmetology setting, usually for six months to a year, is usually mandatory. Some of this may be completed in an online program.

Nail technician courses at a cosmetology school or other technical college are generally required for this position. After completing 300 to 500 hours of training on average, a candidate must also acquire a nail technician license. Other requirements may be mandatory as well, depending on the location of the work to be performed.

Technicians can expect to learn about hand and feet hygiene during nail technician training. Business, professionalism, and communications courses may also be required. Other classes may include specialized training, such as massage and reflexology.

Typically in demand, nail technician jobs are usually readily available in most urban cities, as well as some suburban areas. Nail care is a popular activity that both men and women enjoy and are willing to pay for. Life events such as weddings, reunions, parties, and some careers also often help keep the nail industry in high demand.

Some classes for nail technicians may include reflexology training.
Some classes for nail technicians may include reflexology training.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

anon295069

This really helped me in narrowing down what I want to do when I go to college!

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