How to become a Nail Technician
Nail technicians or nail specialists have become increasingly in demand in recent years as households spend more on beauty treatments, with many getting nail treatments a few times a month. Nail technicians are always in demand and it’s also the perfect occupation to pick up as an extra income.
What is a nail technician?
A nail technician is someone who grooms and tends to someone’s nails. They are often a beauty specialist and work in either a salon, spa or from their home. They will style and shape a client’s nails and offer treatments such as gel nails, acrylic nails or manicure and pedicure.
Amongst the basic treatments, some nail technicians can specialise in nail art and create gorgeous and unique designs on client’s nails. Those nail technicians working in high end spas may also offer hand and foot massages in addition to the nail treatment.
What are the responsibilities of a nail technician?
Dependant on where the nail technician works will determine their responsibilities. Their main skills will also determine what kind of services they can offer to a client. Most nail technicians will be responsible for:
- Cleaning and shaping finger and toe nails
- Paint and colour a client’s nails
- Remove previously applied polish
- Offer nail care and treatment tips
- Sterilise equipment before and after use
- Clean nail bar / beauty station before and after use
- Maintain a good relationship with clients
For those that specialise and have key skills, they could also:
- Design and apply acrylic nails
- Apply gel nails
- Design and apply silk nails
- Create unique nail art designs
- Apply jewels or diamantes
- Offer hand and foot massages
How to become a nail technician
Although nail technicians don’t necessarily need formal qualifications, at least some basic form of training or experience with nail treatments is needed and you will need to obtain professional insurance in order to legally carry out nail services to clients.
It is a great start to get as much work experience as you can and build up a portfolio in order to attract clients or get a job in a salon or spa.
You may also want to gain formal qualifications in different treatments so you can show your skill set off to future employers.
What qualifications do you need to become a nail technician?
To become a nail technician, it isn’t a requirement to have a qualification, however it will be very desirable to employers. Studying for a nail technician course will certainly help you stand out against other candidates, particularly if you have a qualification in a specialist nail service such as acrylic nails for example. If you take a qualification, it will improve your chances of landing a job in a high end salon or spa.
You will also need to have gained professional insurance in order to carry out your services legally to clients.
There are many level 2 and 3 courses in nail technology or nail treatments that you can take. You can seek out local college courses or apprenticeships that offer this course. You can also take these qualifications through distance learning and study alongside other commitments.
The following course will give you a strong basis of both the business side of becoming a nail technician and also the key skills. There’s the option to add on practical training, meaning you can put your skills to the test.
The more skills and specialisms you have as a nail technician the better as you will in turn, be able to offer more services. This is very desirable especially to salons and spas as it will mean they have more to offer on their treatment menu.
You don’t need to have them all, but it’s always recommended you choose a specialist route as opposed to just applying standard French manicure for clients.
You can choose to specialise in a variety of different treatments including:
Required skills and qualities of a nail technician
There are certain skills and qualities needed to become a nail technician and these skills are what employers will look for in an application or interview.
- Excellent customer service skills
- Top verbal communication skills
- Ability to work well with hands
- Good concentration
- Attention to detail
- Good hygiene practices
- Basic computer skills to take bookings etc.
Nail technicians are constantly in contact with clients, so you need to ensure you have excellent people skills and customer service. If you don’t enjoy being around others all day, a nail technician might not be the best career option for you as you will need to keep a calming atmosphere.
Nail technician salary
A nail technicians’ salary will be dependant on where they work. Freelance nail technicians can set their own rates, whereas in some salons, you may have to pay for chair rental. Some salons will offer an annual salary and others may offer an hourly pay rate. High end spas may offer higher salaries.
The average salary of a nail technician is between £12500 and £25000, all dependant on experience and place of work.
Becoming a nail technician on the side of another job is also a good way of earning extra money and can be a flexible career choice. The average rates of a freelance nail technician is between £14-£35 per nail treatment. You will need to do your research in order to offer competitive prices and you should also factor in costing of products and insurance. If you choose to go mobile, you should also factor in any travel costs.
What to expect as a nail technician?
An attractive aspect to this job role is the flexibility it can bring. If you are a freelance nail technician and work for yourself, you can pick and choose your own hours to fit around your lifestyle.
If you work in a salon or spa, your hours are often set. Most of the time you will be required to work weekends as Saturday tends to be a salon or spas busiest day, so you must be prepared to give up some of your weekends. You should also be aware that you will be required to work in the afternoons or evenings, as this is when people book most of their treatments.
Some nail bars offer chair rental, so you are working in a salon meaning you may only receive a percentage of each clients’ money paid and will need to pay the salon a monthly or daily fee.
If you market yourself well and get yourself a loyal client base, being a nail technician can be a very flexible and rewarding career choice.
Can I become a qualified nail technician through distance learning?
Although most people would prefer to attend a college, you can actually become a qualified nail technician through distance learning, meaning you can study alongside your current job or life commitments.
Many distance courses will not only offer the theory side, but you are also able to attend a practical day to put the theory you have learnt to practice.
A number of courses offered by Open Study College enable you to become fully qualified and obtain professional insurance without having to attend a practical day, meaning you are able to upload evidence of your work for it to be marked. This is perfect if you want to retrain or study alongside your other life and work commitments.