Wednesday, November 29, 2023
HomeFashionCertified Nail Technician: A Job With An Impressive Salary

Certified Nail Technician: A Job With An Impressive Salary

Nail tech is a hot trend. In fact, it’s so hot that Jack Harlow couldn’t resist making a whole new jam on it. His sleek first line in the intro, “My nail tech knows how to keep a lil secret,”

rides on captivating jazz and bouncy beats. And the music video is complete with a swanky nail parlor. 

The impressive salary and job outlook make nail tech even hotter. It is one of the jobs with over a 30% projected growth rate as we approach 2030. You only need a postsecondary non-degree award for entry into the field. 

The salary –– we won’t keep it as a secret like Jack Harlow’s nail tech. You deserve to know how impressive a nail tech salary is and, more importantly, how to become one. So, let’s explore what a nail tech is and the associated perks you will enjoy if you become one. 

What Does A Nail Tech Do?

Nail techs, also known as manicurists and pedicurists, ensure your nails rock an A-game. They complement personal grooming with an exceptional golden touch. So, a nail tech parlor would be the first stop if a person is after the glam for their gram. 

A nail technician’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Polishing finger and toe nails 
  • Painting designs on the nails
  • Applying gel and acrylic on nails

The most important is keeping up to date with the latest trends and nail art techniques. For inspiration, you can follow popular nail techs behind your fave celebs’ nails like Tom Barchik and Coca Michele.  

Money is the greatest inspiration. So we will check out nail tech salaries and job growth projections. But before that, let’s learn how you can become a professional nail tech. 

How to Become A Professional Nail Tech?

Source: Flickr

You may have two entry options into nail tech. First, you can be an apprentice and learn on the job. It will give you a hands-on approach allowing you to improve your skills. But only small salons can hire you without certification. So, the payment may be low, besides limiting your career progress. 

The best option is going for certification to legally operate as a nail tech. In fact, upscale salons only hire certified technicians. Here are the steps to becoming a certified professional nail tech:

1. Apply and Complete a Nail Technician Program 

You need at least a high school diploma or  GED (General Education Development) to apply for a nail technician program. However, requirements vary from state to state, so better check with your state’s board of cosmetology. Alternatively, you can check your state’s health board for detailed guidelines before applying.

But most importantly, ensure your school of choice is accredited by the state to avoid being barred from sitting the state’s licensure exams. Most nail technician training programs take about 3-9 months. However, you will need to cover more training hours using this route. 

Besides, you must demonstrate the real-life application of what you’ve learned under a supervisor. 

2. Pass Necessary Exams and Get a License 

Next, you need to do a state exam, which could be written, practical, or both. The exams are set by the National Interstate Council of State Board of Cosmetology (NIC). Alternatively, the state can provide the test single-handedly. 

To get a license, you must sit for the exams, whether you attended an apprenticeship or certified training program. But it is not always a walk in the park. You may fail in the first and subsequent attempts if you are not well prepared. 

So, it can cost you more to pass the state exams and get a license. Enough prepping can make you pass on your first attempt. A free nail technician practice test can help you cover crucial topics and improve on your weak areas. 

Once you pass the exams, you get your nail technician license. However, some states may need continuous education and extra courses to get your license. For instance, in Florida, you must complete an HIV/AIDS course before becoming a certified esthetician.

You need continuous education (CE) to renew your license. Each state has different requirements for CE, so check with your state for more information.   

Salary and Job Outlook for Nail Techs

Source: Flickr

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for nail techs in 2021 was $29,210 per year. For top nail techs like Coca Michelle, the salary can go above $100,000. That means the perks look impressive and increase with extra effort. 

The nail tech profession will experience 33% job growth, that’s more than average, from 2021 to 2030. That shows nail tech services will be in high demand. So, you should be ready to grab the opportunities. 

But, how do you join the field? 

Nail Tech Career Paths 

There are various career options and places you can work as a nail tech: 

  • Spas and Salons. Spas and salons are the most common places you can work as a pedicurist or manicurist. 
  • Consulting. With enough knowledge and technique on nails, you can become an expert in the field. You can recommend the best products and nail art pieces appropriate for a specific audience. 
  • Mobile Nail Technician. You can go where your client is. It adds convenience to the client and gives a new way to scale your business without sticking to one physical location. 
  • Spa or Salon Owner. Instead of working for other spas and salons, you can start your very own salon. You can set your shop at airports, cruise ships, country clubs, or vacation resort areas. However, the best place to set up your salon is where the foot traffic is high.
  • Nail Tech Educator. You can also offer traditional manicure training to enthusiasts. You can also post the same across your social media channels like Instagram and YouTube. 

There are many ways to turn your passion for nail tech into some good perks. A friendly reminder, whatever you choose, create a passive income out of it. Creating nail tech content on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram is a great passive income idea.  

Alternatively, you can start a blog about it and sign up for affiliate programs. You can sell pedicure and manicure products off the blogs and make money while sleeping. But you must make an effort before it starts paying off while you sleep. 


Now you are up to date with everything nail tech. It has an impressive salary and various ways of making money off it. There are even ways of earning passive income off it, like creating educational content on YouTube. 

Do not sleep on your greatness. Turn up your passion into money. Do that, and it will never feel like work again. Nothing is so fulfilling as making money from what you love. 



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