What Does a Nail Technician Do? Career Guide

The evolution of nail styling is so fascinating. The creativity and innovation in this field are out of this world. Indeed, beautiful nails have become a must-have accessory. Both gents and ladies spend thousands of dollars every year on nails.

Reports show that by 2024, the nail market will grow by 4.5%. There will be a 10% growth in demand for nail technicians by 2028. And salary expectations are not bad. You could, on average, take home $33,077 every year. 

Read on to find out what nail technicians do and how to get into the industry. 

The Role of Nail Technicians

Nail technicians provide a range of services to clients. These include:-

  • Trimming, cleaning, filing, and polishing nails. 
  • Applying tips, nail extensions, wraps, or nail art
  • Pedicures and nail repairs
  • Nail techs also take on an advisory role by discussing various treatments with clients. They can, for example, advise on the best moisturizer to use on the hands and feet.   
  • Some nail techs will also sell products. It is an excellent way to make money from the commissions. 

Nail techs will typically ply their trade in spas or salons. Others work on a freelance basis and can offer home treatments.  

Entering Into the Nail Tech Industry

The first step to entering the nail tech industry is to finish your GED or high school diploma. 

You can then specialize as a nail technician when you join cosmetology school. Do check the requirements in your state. Some places will require that you get a cosmetology license; others won’t. In the latter case, you must pass a state-approved nail technician program. 

Some courses you can expect to cover include:-

  • Basic cosmetology skills
  • Health and safety processes
  • Pedicure and manicure
  • Skin treatments
  • Nail afflictions that may require referral to physicians
  • Regulatory requirements. 

On average, you will need about 300 to 600 hours of training plus an internship. But this will vary depending on state requirements. 

You must then sit for a tech state board exam to get a certification. Prepare for the exam with the free nail practice test that includes previous state board exams. The test follows a multiple-choice format, making it easy to use.

It covers the major topics that nail technicians must learn. It is a fantastic tool for determining areas to concentrate on more to pass the state board exams.  

The next part after certification is to take the licensing exam. On completion, you’re ready to enter the job market.  

Other Requirements to Become a Good Nail Technician

Nail technicians who excel at the trade have a level of artistry and creativity. That is the best way to set yourself apart from other people. Instead of the run-of-the-mill ideas, you should be able to provide a unique offering. 

Some nail technicians will, for example, accessorize nails or draw exciting designs. That becomes their area of specialization, placing them in a more niche position. 

Good communication and customer service skills are also critical. The service industry requires good people skills. You must be able to handle all types of personalities due to the different clients you will be dealing with. 

A thirst for knowledge is also critical. The beauty industry is ever-evolving, and in terms of hair products, trends and techniques keep emerging. Continuous education (CE) means you can adapt and improve your service offering. Some states will also require CE credits for license renewal.   

Remember, clients will be coming to you for advice on some of the latest trends. It helps to keep up with research and professional development throughout your career.  

Other requirements are good eyesight for detailed work. It would also help if you have enough stamina. The job entails a lot of sitting, standing, and hunching over.  

The ability to take criticism without getting defensive or angry is essential. No matter how good you are, it is impossible to satisfy everyone. 

Some clients can be pretty vocal in how they communicate their dissatisfaction. If you take the feedback personally, it won’t be easy to grow in the service industry. 

Flexibility with regard to time can also work in your favor. Some of the busiest hours for nail techs are weekends and evenings. Building relationships means you can accommodate them as much as possible.  

Understanding Health and Safety for Technicians

It is important to be aware of health and safety concerns for technicians. We don’t mean to scare you off this career path. But will believe this is critical information. The nature of the job entails close contact with clients. 

Some of the processes can lead to the transmission of communicable diseases like HIV. Infections from blood-borne pathogens can expose you to hepatitis B and C. If you come in contact with a client who has an open wound, it pays to be very careful. 

Long-term exposure to some of the products can also impact the nail tech’s health. These are the chemicals in polishes or glues like formaldehyde, toluene, and methacrylate compounds. Breathing them in can cause asthma, allergies, cancer, or kidney and liver damage.  

It is essential to take the necessary precautions while at work. These include the use of disposable gloves and masks. Another good idea is to wear long sleeves to avoid irritants or chemical burns.  

Such concerns are the reasons why nail tech students must cover health and safety in the course work.  

 Final Thoughts 

Becoming a nail technician is a fantastic career path. There is a lot of job satisfaction that comes from happy clients. Once you pass the state board exam, you can open your own business or go into employment.

As we shared at the beginning of the article, the demand for nail technicians keeps on rising. That means the availability of job opportunities for graduates. 

Before enrolling in a college, find out what the state requirements are. They vary from place to place, so it helps to know what they are. 

Take advantage of resources like the free practice test to help you prepare for state exams.

Good luck with your nail technician career.

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