How to become a Nail Technician

Nail technicians perform manicures and pedicures, which may include nail art, application of artificial nails, nail repair and other specialised hand and foot treatments.

Personal requirements of a Nail Technician

  • Neat personal appearance
  • No allergies to products and chemicals used
  • Pleasant and tactful manner
  • A genuine interest in people
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Patience
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Creative and artistic ability

Education & Training for a Nail Technician

You can work as a nail technician without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in nail technology, beauty services or beauty therapy. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a nail technician through a traineeship in Nail Technology, Beauty Services or Beauty Therapy. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Nail Technician

Nail technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • apply gel and acrylic nail enhancements and extensions
  • perform manicures and pedicures
  • use specialist tools and electrical equipment on nail enhancements
  • apply decorative and airbrushed nail art
  • maintain safe work practices and hygiene standards
  • read and interpret product information to make safe and appropriate recommendations to clients
  • conduct financial transactions
  • perform reception duties (receiving bookings and arranging appointments, for example)
  • perform routine housekeeping duties
  • maintain client records
  • provide advice about and sell nail products
  • maintain knowledge of current industry standards and practices.

Working conditions for a Nail Technician

Working as a nail technician can be physically demanding. Repetitive activities and sitting for long periods can cause strain, while chemicals such as those used in acrylics and polish removers may pose a health risk if not used correctly. Personal protective equipment such as gloves, aprons, dust masks and safety glasses may be worn to minimise risk. Safety considerations include the welfare of both the technician and the client. Nail technicians have a high level of public contact.

Employment Opportunities for a Nail Technician

Nail technicians work in nail salons or beauty salons alongside beauty therapists. Employment prospects in these salons may be improved if you have beauty therapy qualifications. Many nail technicians are self-employed and may visit clients' homes, work from mobile vans or work from home.

Avg. weekly wage:

$575

Future growth:

very strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 1.1%

NSW 32.6%

NT 1.1%

QLD 26.9%

SA 3.3%

TAS 2.3%

VIC 23.4%

WA 9.3%

Hours worked:

41.5

Unemployment:

average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 27.1%

Proportion of female workers 72.9%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 10.2%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 36.7%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 12.2%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 28.6%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 12.2%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 24.1%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 61.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
Before selecting a course, check with potential employers to make sure the course meets their requirements. Employers are less likely to consider applicants who have completed a short course or have qualifications not recognised by the industry. Nail technicians with nationally accredited qualifications may work throughout Australia. Local councils have specific requirements regarding the establishment and delivery of mobile or salon beauty services, including adhering to occupational health and safety regulations and state guidelines relating to skin penetration.
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