In order to become a licensed nail technician, first attend and graduate from a state-licensed school. Each state has a particular requirement for a number of instructional hours needed before a person is eligible to become licensed, so research your state's requirements, or speak to a counsellor at your institution. Once you complete your instructional requirement, register for and pass any state mandated exams to receive your license.
In school, you attended courses on material specific to the state's guidelines in order to pass the licensing exams, such as, hygiene, bacteriology, sterilization, sanitation and professional ethics. These are in addition to courses that teach manicure and pedicure techniques and procedures. Attend courses on acrylic, gel and fiberglass application, reflexology and hand massages. The average time needed to attend courses for many states is about six months.
The licensing process also generally includes a written competency exam and a lab test. Each exam requires a registration fee in addition to the cost of instruction. Nail technicians are also required to renew their license every few years by attending continuing education courses or completing additional exams. Some salons offer programs for continuing education as they hope to keep their staff updated on new techniques and procedures. Otherwise, contact a local institution about course options.