Nail School: 
Claw Your Way to the Top!

Can you imagine how popular you will be when you go to Nail School?

Back in the day, if you got a manicure you did it while at the beauty salon for your weekly appointment.  Hairdressers were called Beauty Operators and they did it all.

But now, thank goodness, specializing is the new way to do business.  This way, instead of being somewhat good at everything, cosmetologists are fantastic at a few things.  Clients benefit by getting the best work done by specialists.

Nail School Hours

If you go to cosmetology school to become a licensed cosmetologist and take all of the beauty school courses, it will include nail technology.  When you graduate you will be a licensed hair stylist, a licensed esthetician, and a licensed nail technician.

The hours vary by state but you can find them on  Cosmetology School Hours.

However, if you are only interested in being a nail technician the required hours for licensing varies between 100-750 hours. This means it could take you between 6 weeks to 7 months to complete the nail program.

To find out what your state requires, you will find the nail tech hour requirements on cosmetology school hours, as well.

Why a Nail Program May be a Great Idea for You

Being a nail technician means you get to sit all day inside and talk to people while you work with your hands.  You make a paycheck plus you make cash tips that fill your wallet.

One of the best advantages to going to nail school is that it is a short program so you can enter the work force rather quickly.  Nail shops get a lot of walk-in clientele so building isn't as crucial as it is to a hair stylist.

The cost of nail tech school depends on factors like hours required to graduate, location of nail school and reputation of the nail school. So giving you a definitive number isn't possible.  Call around to several of the cosmetology/nail schools in your area and ask them about the cost of their nail school program. 

Also ask them the hours they have available for classes, how long it will take you to finish and what type of financial aid you can apply for.  I have heard of programs for as little as $3000.

That may sound like a lot to you at this moment, but being such a short program, you will be able to start paying back a student loan very soon.

In nail school you will be attending classes and working on clients.  (If you are strapped for cash and need a pedicure, go to the local nail school and let a student do it for you for a nominal fee.  Don't forget to TIP!  When you are a student a $2 tip feels exhilarating.)

I hope you like feet because you will be touching them every day.

Getting Your Nail Technician License

After you complete your nail program you will apply to schedule your state board exam.  Most exams are written and practical (hands on).  Once you pass you will legally be a nail technician and able to work.

I went to cosmetology school with a girl who was already a licensed nail technician.  She thought she wanted to do hair.  After graduation she tried being a stylist but said she was losing too much money!  She had such a large clientele of rich women built up that she continued to do nails.  She rented space in a high end salon to be their manicurist.  She paid $400 a month for the space.  Her average client spent $50 for a mani/pedi and she easily did 5 clients a day. PLUS tips! Even if we are conservative and say she worked 4 days a week doing 20 clients in that week she was making $1000 a week in services alone and probably another $1000 a month in tips. $5000 - $400 rent = $4600 a month!!!!

Yes, doing nails only!!

What Will I Learn as a Nail Tech?

  • Some anatomy
  • Nail Diseases
  • Sanitation & Client Safety
  • Nail Cleaning
  • Nail Art
  • Cuticle Removal
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Sculptured Nails
  • Proper way to use nail instruments 

Nail grooming isn't just for women anymore.  The market has opened up to men, making the future of nail technicians very secure and in growing demand.

I came across this very original nail salon in an industry magazine.  It is an upscale nail salon for men!  Brown leather chairs and metro interior make it a comfortable environment for men to maintain their nails without feeling out of place in women's salons.  Kudos to Hammer & Nails in L.A. We wish you much success!!  Go apply new professionals! Men are good tippers.

How Much do Nail Tech's Make?

Like I've said before, there are many factors that affect income.

Location, type of salon, prices, your skill, your personality, your appearance, the hours you work, how many hours you work, your speed, your upselling abilities, your retailing skills.....all of these affect your paycheck and tips.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor and Statistics says the mean hourly wage is $10.48 and the mean yearly is $21,790.  It was $30,000 at the high end of the scale.

But this is what is reported by nail technicians on their W-2's. Some do services for cash and may not be completely reported.   It doesn't account for cash tips either.

And there are always over achievers. My friend was making $55,000 a year as a nail tech.  If you are industrious maybe you can make that kind of scratch, too!

Is Nail School Right for You?

I think a nail program is a good option for a beauty career if doing hair, and everything that goes with it, is too much for you.

Being a nail technician will allow you to be off your feet, remain social and make people very happy.  Not a bad way to make money if you ask me.

Want help finding and landing your first nail tech job?  Check out the links below. They can be used for new nail techs as well!

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Take me to the Top, Please!