What Does a Nail Technician Do?

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Nail technicians provide manicure and pedicure services to clients at salons, spas and barber shops. These services include filing, cleaning, trimming, polishing and repairing fingernails and toenails. Nail technicians also apply artificial nail tips; provide nail care tips and advice; and discuss recommended services and treatments with the client.

Nail technicians in every state are required to complete a specific number of course hours at a state-approved, accredited cosmetology or nail technician school. These programs typically include courses on manicure and pedicure tools and products; skin and nail disorders and conditions; sanitation; and disinfection techniques. After completion of a program, nail technicians must complete both written and practical exams to earn a license from the state board. Applicants for a nail technician license must be at least 16 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. As of 2014, Connecticut is the only state that does not require a state license to become a nail technician.

In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nail technicians earned a median salary of $19,220, with the highest earners at $29,560 and the lowest earners bringing in less than $16,650. The cities with the highest-paid nail technicians include Nashville, Tenn.; Columbia, S.C.; and Barnstable, Mass.