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 for 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 and you may like to consider a VET course. 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.

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.

Duties & Tasks of a Nail Technician

Nail technicians:

  • 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.


  • Providing advice on and selling cosmetic products
  • Receiving bookings, arranging appointments and maintaining client records
  • Discussing client needs, analysing skin characteristics and advising on suitable skin care, treatments and application of make-up
  • Evaluating beauty therapy processes and products
  • Performing facial and body treatments such as massages
  • Performing manicures and pedicures including decorative nail art, application of artificial nails, nail repair, and other specialised hand and foot treatments
  • Treating unwanted hair through waxing, bleaching, tinting, depilation and electrolysis
  • Applying general cosmetic and corrective make-up

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.


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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    32 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    97% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Lower skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    39% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    36,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.4%
    NSW: 32.6%
    NT: 0.6%
    QLD: 20.4%
    SA: 6.3%
    TAS: 1.5%
    VIC: 25.2%
    WA: 12.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 3.9%
    20-24: 16.9%
    25-34: 36.3%
    35-44: 23.5%
    45-54: 14%
    55-59: 2.9%
    60-64: 1.4%
    65 and Over: 1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 45.7%
    Bachelor degree: 6.5%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 22.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 1.5%
    Year 10 and below: 7.3%
    Year 11: 2.4%
    Year 12: 14.5%
    Years 11 & 10: 5.6%
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