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Nail technician

Nail technicians repair, paint and decorate clients’ nails.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,500 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this job.

You can take a course in nail technology or nail treatments at a college or private training provider, but this isn’t essential.

You should contact your local authority’s environmental health department if you want to set up your own nail bar business. 

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) has more information on becoming a nail technician.

2. Skills required

You’ll need to have:

  • creativity
  • an organised approach
  • customer service and 'people' skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties might 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
You’ll also need to make sure that you use and store chemicals and varnishes correctly, use tools carefully and follow strict hygiene procedures. This is to prevent damage or infection.

4. Salary

Starter: £12,500 to £18,250

Experienced: up to £25,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37 hours a week, often including weekends and evenings. You could work alone, or in a salon with other technicians, beauticians, hairdressers or therapists. 

You may be self-employed, work from home or visit clients in their homes.

6. Career path and progression

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.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016