Nail Technician Career Information
A nail technician is commonly referred to as a manicurist or pedicurist. The job requires manual dexterity so that you can apply polish with a steady hand and grasp and manipulate sharp tools on delicate fingers and toes. You must possess an effective level of customer service so that you can listen to client needs and requests while providing style advice and healthy nail information. You can work directly for a spa or salon or build your own clientele and work independently.
The tasks performed by a nail technician require you to maintain a clean, sanitized work area. You’ll work with solvents to remove nail polish and adhesives to apply extensions and appliques. Your primary duty is to soften nails and cuticles, cut or push back excess cuticle skin and apply polish to the prepared nail surfaces. You may offer hand and foot massage to soften hard, dead skin and rub your customers’ hands and feet with oils. While working on nails at some salons, you also may be required to make appointments, answer customer inquiries and collect money.
The job outlook is decent for nail technicians, growing about as fast as other careers at least until 2020. The industry expects about 17 percent growth. Jobs are relatively easy to get due to the large amount of turnover in salons, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the growing popularity of nail salons, even more jobs may be available once you get your license. A manicure or pedicure is considered a low-cost luxury, so work remains steady even in economic slumps. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, nail technicians averaged about $9.45 an hour, although you can increase your pay substantially through tips.
As with any other career path, the more you put into your future, the higher returns you can expect. You can save your money and attract investors to open your own nail salon. While you may have to continue doing nails, as you grow you can hire other manicurists and pedicurists and spend your time operating and growing the business. Skills that would be helpful as a salon entrepreneur include marketing, bookkeeping and human resource development. Large salons or beauty product distributors use nail technicians who have additional skills at sales or management. You could become a sales representative for a large nail product distributor or manage a chain of salons for a franchise operation.