Nail technician

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Nail technicians repair, paint and decorate clients’ nails.

Salary Range: £12,500 to £25,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
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You could take a level 2 or 3 Certificate in Nail Technology or Nail Treatments at a college or private training provider.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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You could do a nail services technician intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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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.

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Career tips

Working part time in a nail bar or beauty salon will help you learn about different treatments and how to look after customers in a more relaxed environment.

If you have the right skills, you could set up your own business. This could be a mobile service or a contract to go into leisure facilities like gyms, hotels and spas.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a nail technician from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

Some local authorities request that you are licensed to run a nail business.

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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • basic treatments, like manicures and pedicures
  • cleaning and filing nails
  • applying false nails or extensions
  • decorating nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • repairing, looking after and removing false nails and extensions
  • checking for any signs of skin or nail problems before treatment

Working environment

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

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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. 

With further training you could move into teaching nail art.