- Earn your high school diploma or GED.
- Some trade schools or vocational schools offer nail technician instruction to high school students, so if you attend an educational institutions that does so, you can already get some training.
- Complete an accredited, state-approved course in nail technology.This can be done in as little as 2 months at a trade or vocational school, or a beauty or cosmetology school. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certification.
- You need to have graduated from an accredited educational institution in order to get your state license.
- A list of all accredited educational institutions can be obtained through the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences.
- Most states require between 350 and 600 hours of training in order to allow a nail technician to graduate.
- You'll learn about nail structure and composition; water and oil based manicures and pedicures; health and safety procedures; application methods such as gel, acrylic and silk wraps; and client relations and store management.
- Apprentice with an established nail technician.This will give you hands-on experience with all sorts of customers and the wide variety of requests they can make.
- Ask your school if it can help you find an apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships are state-approved.
- Obtain your state licensure.
- You'll need to complete a written exam, as well as a practical skills test to demonstrate your knowledge and competence.
- Find a job.
- Apply for a job at a nail salon, spa, or a barbershop. Once you've gained enough practical experience, you can always consider opening your own nail salon.
- Becoming a specialist in the area of nail art can greatly enhance your chances of not only getting a job, but also building a reputation for yourself. Nail art includes decorating natural, enhanced or fake nails with colorful, painted designs, and adding extra touches such as rhinestones and even piercings through the nails.
- If you plan on working full time at a nail salon, it's worth educating yourself properly about the health effects of the materials used, especially for acrylic and gel nails. More and more nail salons are taking steps to use eco-friendly materials to protect their clients, the environment, and their employees.