Nail Technician

Job Description:

Nail technicians repair, paint and decorate clients' nails.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

In your day-to-day work you may:

  • do treatments, like manicures and pedicures
  • clean and file nails
  • apply false nails or extensions
  • decorate nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • repair, look after and remove false nails and extensions
  • check for any signs of skin or nail problems before treatment
  • store chemicals correctly and safely and follow strict hygiene rules


You’ll need:

  • knowledge and ability to complete manicures, extensions etc.
  • the ability to sell products and services (creativity)
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a nail technician, you typically don’t need specific subjects, as this profession primarily requires vocational training and certification. However, having a general education background can be beneficial for communication and business aspects of the job. Here are some subjects that may be helpful for a future nail technician:

  1. English: Good communication skills are essential for interacting with clients, discussing their preferences, and providing information about nail care and treatments.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for handling transactions, managing finances, and calculating costs, especially if you plan to run your own nail salon or work independently.
  3. Business Studies: If you have an interest in eventually starting your own nail salon or managing a business, business studies can provide valuable knowledge about entrepreneurship, marketing, and management.
  4. Art and Design: Nail art is an integral part of the nail technician profession. Courses in art and design can help you develop creativity and design skills that are essential for creating unique nail designs.
  5. Biology or Chemistry: A basic understanding of biology or chemistry can be beneficial, as it helps you comprehend the science behind nail care products and the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene in the profession.
  6. Textiles: Courses in textiles can help you develop an understanding of materials and fabrics, which may be useful if you offer services like nail extensions using artificial nails.
  7. Food Technology or Health and Social Care: These subjects may not be directly related, but they can provide knowledge about hygiene, safety, and client well-being, which are crucial aspects of the nail technician profession.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


In the UK, for example, courses relevant to this role include:

  • Certificate in Nail Technology
  • Certificate in Nail Treatments
  • Award in Nail Art


You could do a nail services technician intermediate apprenticeship.

This typically takes 12 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job study.


If you can show a real interest in nail art, you may be able to get a job as a trainee with a nail salon or beauty spa and learn on the job.

Career tips

Working part-time in a nail bar or beauty salon will help you learn about different treatments and help you to develop your customer service and salon skills.

If you’re thinking about being self-employed it’s useful to find out what sort of business skills you’ll need. Nail technicians often work freelance in places like people’s homes or leisure facilities like gyms, hotels and spas.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 35-39 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends flexibly.

You could work in a salon, at a health spa, on a cruise ship, from home or at a client’s home.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could manage a salon or start your own business.

You could work with photographers, fashion designers or TV companies, preparing nails for photo shoots or fashion shows.

You could take further training to learn other beauty techniques or to teach nail art. You could move into product sales, selling nail equipment and materials to salons and nail bars.