Being a Professional Nail Technician

Career Overview :

Manicure technicians working in salons and spas often perform a series of nail technology steps that initiate by removing any existing polish from the nails and then preparing baths to soak the client’s hands and feet. There are a number of tools such as scrub brushes, pumice stones and various others that are used to clean the hands and feet. Nail technicians treat the cuticles by softening and moisturizing them with oil and then pushing back or trimming them. In addition to this, these technicians massage clients’ hands and feet along with performing nail filing and clipping.

Customers often choose from a selection of nail polishes, that the nail technician use and recommend. Nail technicians also perform some special services which include applying artificial nails or treatments to help improve nail strength or deter nail biting. Some manicure and pedicure technicians also offer nail decorations or airbrushing.

Many clients seek advice from nail technicians regarding proper nail care or beneficial products to use. There are many salons that offer nail technicians incentives for selling nail care products to their clients. They may also set appointments, collect payment and keep the inventory of nail care supplies. However, maintaining the work area safe, clean, and hygienic and ensuring all equipment is clean and sanitized are a manicure and pedicure technician’s responsibility.

Nail Technician Programs :

Nail technician programs are easily available at many vocational schools and community colleges. However, a student must complete 400 hours in a Board approved school prior to applying for Board’s exams.

Nail technician programs are generally shorter than other beauty training programs. They can be completed within 2.5 months. Students participate in classroom instructions and activities and hands-on training. Cosmotek College also has student salons where they work with actual clients to gain real world experience. Coursework generally includes bacteriology, nail and skin disorders, nail art, nail treatments, artificial nail application and repair, safety and sanitation, massage, nail design, and business.

Requirements to take California Board’s exam :

Qualifications to take on California’s board exam require:

  • A student should be of at least 17 years of age
  • A student must have completed the 10th grade in a public school or its equivalency
  • A student has committed no acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of licensure under Section 480 of the Business and Professional code
  • A student has completed 400 hours in a Board approved school

Information regarding the written and practical examinations :

This examination consists of two parts – written and practical. All candidates need to take the National Interstate Council of Board of Cosmetology, (NIC) written and practical examination. Candidates are scheduled to take the practical and written examinations on the same day. The Board has two permanent testing sites – one in Northern California (Fairfield) and another one in Southern California (Glendale). Once scheduled, candidates do have the option of rescheduling the written examination to another day at one of PSI’s (computer-based written exam vendor) 15+ testing sites. But, the practical examination, however, cannot be rescheduled in any circumstances. Information about this is included in the admission letter that is sent to candidates once they are scheduled for their examination.

Theses exams are available in English, Korean Spanish, and Vietnamese. The written examinations have 100 test questions and candidates are given 120 minutes to finish them; the manicurist exam can last approximately 1 ½ hours.

Salary and Outlook :

             According to the BLS, in May 2015, manicure technicians earned a mean annual salary of $26,790. From 2012-2022, manicure and pedicure job opportunities were expected to grow by 16% due to the nail salon and spa growth as reported by the BLS. And, since there was a high turnover rate, entry-level positions should be fairly easy to attain.

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