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How to become a Nail technician

nail technician careers

What does a Nail technician do?

Nail technicians apply false nails and nail extensions, and may decorate them (known as nail art) using a variety of techniques.

The customer's nails are first checked for signs of skin or nail disease, which would mean extensions or false nails should not be applied. The technician then discusses with the customer the most suitable type of nail extension and the various options for decoration.

The customer's nails are cleaned to ensure they are free from bacteria and a manicure is given before the false nails or extensions are applied. Finally, the nails may be decorated using various methods such as applying coloured varnish, gems, glitter or designs painted with an airbrush, either free-hand or using a stencil.

Health and safety is extremely important. The chemicals used can be dangerous if used or stored incorrectly. Correct maintenance of nails is essential to avoid damage to the natural nail and tools must be used correctly and strict hygiene procedures followed to prevent damage or infection to the nails.

What's the working environment like working as a Nail technician?

Nail technicians work around 37 hours a week, often including weekend and evening work.

Nail technicians could work alone, or in a salon with other technicians, beauticians, hairdressers or therapists. Some nail technicians are self-employed, choosing to work from home or visiting clients in their own homes.

Nail technicians often wear a salon uniform.

What does it take to become a Nail technician?

To be a nail technician you should:

  • enjoy working with people
  • be tactful and discrete when dealing with customers
  • be artistic and creative
  • be patient, well organised and methodical
  • be prepared to keep rigidly to health and safety procedures
  • have an interest in, and keep up to date with, fashion trends.

Nail technician Career Opportunities

There are an estimated 17,000 businesses employing nail technicians in the UK. As well as specialist nail salons and nail bars, and beauty and hairdressing salons offering nail services, nail technicians may work in spas and health clubs and on cruise liners.

Many nail technicians aim to become self-employed. Some technicians own their own salon, or rent space in a salon. Others may choose to run a mobile business, which involves visiting customers’ homes.

Teaching opportunities exist with local or private colleges or nail product manufacturers. With a multinational company it might be possible to work abroad.

There are occasional opportunities for nail technicians to work with photographers and fashion designers, producing nails for photo shoots or fashion shows.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Nail technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Association of Nail Technicians
c/o Trades Exhibition Ltd
3rd Floor
Broadway House
2-6 Fulham Broadway
Tel: 020 7471 1621

City and Guilds
1 Giltspur St
Tel: 020 7294 2800

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)
3rd Floor
Eastleigh House
Upper Market Street
SO50 9FD
Tel: 023 8068 4500

Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA)
Oxford House
Sixth Avenue
Sky Business Park
Robin Hood Airport
Tel: 0845 2306 080