Find the Best Nail Technician School Near You (2023)

Nail technicians dedicate themselves to anything and everything nail-related. This goes way beyond simply manicures and pedicures — the role includes grooming, cleaning, trimming, polishing, and beautifying both toenails and fingernails.

Many technicians also offer more advanced services related to modifications, such as nail extensions and acrylics, plus cuticle care and massages.

To excel in the profession, nail technicians should have not only great skills in nail care and nail art, but also the ability to put clients at ease as they sit waiting for paint to dry. On the less glamorous side, they should be able to spot any underlying nail health problems.

If you have a steady hand, an artistic flair, and a warm personality, it could be the perfect profession for you. But don’t put all that potential to waste by attending the wrong nail technician school.

Make sure to choose the best institution for your ambitions and needs by using the school finder below (and following the guidance in this article).

Contents [ show ]

  • What to Look for When Choosing a Nail Technician School?
    • Licensing and Accreditation
    • Teaching Quality
    • Employment Prospects
  • How Much Does Nail Technician School Cost?
    • Location
    • Financial Aid
  • How Long Does Nail Technician School Take?
    • State Requirements
    • Part-Time vs. Full-Time
    • Apprenticeships
  • What Is the Job Outlook for Nail Technician Jobs?
    • Expected Salary Range
    • Self-Employed vs. Employee
    • Job Types
    • Online vs. In-Person Nail Technician School
    • In-Person
    • Online
  • Nail Technician School, Here You Come

What to Look for When Choosing a Nail Technician School?

With so many nail technician schools to choose from, you might be tempted to do a quick “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” between them and hope for the best. We’d strongly recommend you not to take that approach!

There’s a vast difference between the quality of schools out there, as you’ll soon see.

Licensing and Accreditation

The purpose of nail technician school is to prepare students for what comes next: the state licensing exam, and ultimately, work.

This exam tests whether the individual has the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to practice the occupation safely. If they do, they’re given their license and can apply for relevant jobs.

Each state has slightly different exams and requirements, but they all require prospective nail technicians to undergo some kind of exam. Some states also require nail technicians to pass separate safety and sanitation tests to ensure that they’re informed about the health of their clients.

So, it’s vital to choose a school that prepares you properly for the exam. One strong signal that a school knows what it’s talking about is accreditation, which proves that the institution has complied with educational standards set by the accrediting body. The main body to look for is the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences.

Make sure you check whether a school is accredited before signing up for it — and if it isn’t accredited, make sure there’s a very good reason why.

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Teaching Quality

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that teaching quality is a pretty important factor in determining the strength of a nail technician school — but it sometimes takes a detective to work out exactly how to determine the teaching quality in the first place.

Most schools will pick and choose testimonials from satisfied students to highlight on their website and brochures, so you need to look a little further than the school’s own marketing materials.

One metric to look for is the graduation rate. If students are mostly able to finish the course and pass it, that’s a sign they were happy with the teachers and the general running of the school.

How low is too low when it comes to graduation rates? Anything below 90% is concerning, and ideally, look for a program with a rate of 95% or more.

Employment Prospects

You might think that nail technician qualifications are equal in the eyes of employers — especially if they’re accredited. In reality, it’s not that simple.

Some colleges go to far more effort than others to have links with local businesses and industry, giving their students access to a readymade network and enabling them to put a more recognizable “brand name” on their resume.

They may even have arrangements with companies for students to undertake apprenticeships or work experience opportunities, helping budding nail technicians to succeed in the competitive world. This is definitely something to prioritize in your selection.

Also, if a school has multiple success stories of its alumni having exciting careers and starting their own businesses, it could mean one of two things. Either all those people got very lucky, or their education set them up well for the professional world. You decide based on what else you know about the school.

How Much Does Nail Technician School Cost?

The cost of education in the US has skyrocketed over the past decade or so, but fortunately, nail technician school isn’t quite so exorbitant. An average nail technology program costs between $3,000 and $5,000 in total.

This number includes the price of any textbooks and equipment you might have to buy along the way, which can add up to a few hundred dollars. Although most schools provide facilities and a library, you’ll likely still need to purchase supplies like protective equipment and polishes, and to buy some books of your own.

However, the program’s cost can vary widely depending on where you do it and the financial aid you can access to support you.


Like accommodation, transport, and just about everything else you have to pay for, the cost of nail technician school varies widely between different cities and states.

Big cities and metropolitan areas have more expensive schools, especially California and New York. Some of the most high-end schools can cost up to $10,000.

In contrast, schools in rural areas often cost less than $3,000.

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You might be thinking that it’s time to book your plane to some far-flung part of the country, but hold on a minute. More expensive schools in more desirable locations might just be worth the extra cost if they lead to more opportunities and greater earning potential — bigger cities tend to have more salons and other employers.

Besides, you might be able to access financial aid.

Financial Aid

If you don’t have a spare 5 thousand lying in your bank account, don’t panic — you don’t have to resort to illegal activities to pay your way through nail technician school. Many schools have scholarships for their students, and it’s also worth looking for national or regional scholarships.

Plus, students of accredited schools are eligible for Title IV financial aid, just like students of academic institutions.

You could also use a private lender to help you cover the costs, but this should be your last resort.

How Long Does Nail Technician School Take?

The average nail technician training program lasts 375 hours, which is lower than many other beauty-related courses.

But the average program doesn’t mean every program. Nail technician school can take anywhere between 200 to 800 hours! This is clearly a pretty broad spectrum, so you’re probably wondering how to know what to expect. Here’s what to consider.

State Requirements

The biggest reason for differences between the total program lengths is the variation in state requirements.

Each state sets a different minimum training requirement for programs, and they can vary wildly. To find out the requirements for your state, check with the admissions office of the school you’re hoping to attend.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time

It’s obvious that choosing to study part-time will extend the total length of your studies. Full-time courses can take as little as three months to complete, whereas studying part-time could take up to a year (depending on the course’s total hour requirement and the exact number of hours spent studying per week).

Many courses offer the choice between studying part-time or full-time, while others only have one option.


A few nail technician programs allow students to use hours spent completing an apprenticeship toward the course’s total hour requirement.

This is something to bear in mind when comparing course length — if a program length is 400 hours and requires you to do an apprenticeship (and doesn’t count the hours), it might not be as quick to complete as you expected.

Some schools and states favor apprenticeships and work experience more than others, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for.

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What Is the Job Outlook for Nail Technician Jobs?

Find the Best Nail Technician School Near You (1)

Once upon a time, getting your nails done rarely meant more than getting a cute French manicure; these days, it’s all about gel nails, six-inch acrylics, and intricate nail designs.

An increasing number of people are looking for increasingly complex nail treatments, so it’s hardly surprising that the demand for nail technicians is on the rise.

Still, your job outlook and salary depend on various factors.

Expected Salary Range

It’s all very well to talk in generalities, but how much can you actually expect to make as a nail technician? The average annual pay is $25,770, with most people making between $23,420 and $30,200.

That might sound modest, but there are a few ways to boost your salary, such as taking on a managerial role in a salon or relocating.

However, you may earn far more or less depending on where you work. Big cities pay more than rural towns due to the higher cost of living and the higher concentration of wealthy clientele. But, somewhat surprisingly, the top-paying city for nail technicians isn’t New York or Los Angeles but Fort Collins in Colorado — where the median salary is $54,850.

Other top-paying cities are Bloomington (Illinois), Boulder (Colorado), Boise City (Idaho), and Portsmouth (New Hampshire).

Another potential route for increasing your salary is starting your own business.

Self-Employed vs. Employee

For many people, the security of being an employee is preferable to the instability of being a business owner; not to mention the paid vacation time and the insurance plan.

But there’s certainly more potential to earn the big bucks if you go down the route of self-employment. As long as you can find the clients to pay you, you can charge whatever you want.

Nail salon owners make $58,000 a year on average, with the top-earning business owners making $75,000. That’s a serious step up from standard nail technician job roles!

Job Types

You’d expect anyone graduating from nail technician school to go on to become a nail technician — but while this is the most common route, there are some other options available to you with this qualification.

If you shine in your nail technician role, you could be promoted to salon manager, for instance. Or maybe you’ll even end up going back to school, instructing fresh talent who want to enter the profession?


Finally, some nail technicians go down a more medical route by working as medical nail technicians, who treat nail conditions.

Online vs. In-Person Nail Technician School

Find the Best Nail Technician School Near You (2)

You might not be able to work as a nail technician virtually, but you can certainly study it that way. At least, partly.

Classes at nail technician school involve learning theoretical knowledge that you can easily learn through a screen, so schools are springing up that offer part of their programs online (with the practical element still taking place in person).

But just because you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should — here are a few factors to consider when making your choice.


Nail technician school has always meant in-person schools for good reason. One reason is that there were no computers in the early days of nail technician schools, but the other is that the subject lends itself easily to this format.

Being in the same room as the instructor makes it far easier to ask questions without it being awkward. This tends to be a lot more clumsy online.

Not to mention the opportunities for networking (and friendship) that you’ll get from this environment. Meeting peers with similar interests and ambitions to you is a huge motivator for many people, and unfortunately, it’s not quite the same online.

But it’s not all positive — there are some drawbacks to in-person schools, such as the commute, inflexible schedule, and higher cost. If you have a lot on your plate already, you might prefer to take classes online where you can.


Although it’s theoretically possible to learn the theory of nail technology through video calls and recordings, the reality is that it’s not quite the same. You won’t get the benefit of close relationships with your classmates and instructor a

Having said that, online nail technician school just makes far more sense in some cases. It’s far easier to fit an online school into your schedule, so it’s a great choice for anyone who is juggling a job or caring for dependents while studying.

Online school can also be a good choice for anyone who wants to upskill or retrain after being outside the industry for a while as they don’t need quite the same level of instruction!

Plus, it’s generally more affordable, which is no small consideration.

However, since all credible online programs are only virtual for part of the program, expect you to spend some time in the classroom for the hands-on parts of the course.

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Nail Technician School, Here You Come

Starting a new profession is daunting — in this case, you could certainly say it’s nail-biting stuff. But there’s no need to worry about the transition excessively.

If you pick the right nail technician school, you should be launching your career with a flying start — before you know it, you’ll be doing what you love for a living. A little research goes a long way when it comes to picking the right school, so if you’ve read up to here, you’re clearly doing the right thing.


How long is nail school in GA? ›

You must complete the 1050 hours of practical application at your apprenticeship outlined in the nail care transcript of apprentice training and a minimum of 8 months training so that you can apply for examination.

How much is a nail tech license in Georgia? ›

A license is good for two years and costs $45. Georgia has reciprocal licensing agreements with many states at a cost of $50. In odd-numbered years, nail technicians must renew their license by Aug. 31 and complete five hours of continuing education before renewing.

What is the best nail course to do? ›

If you want to work as a mobile technician then the best beginners nails course for you will be those which offer vocational training such as City & Guilds, VTCT or BTEC First qualifications. All of these are recognised qualifications which you will need to get your insurance to give beauty treatments.

Do you need a license to be a nail tech in Georgia? ›

Georgia requirements for becoming a nail tech are as follows. Complete a nail education program. Complete the Georgia Nail Technician Examinations. Apply for your license.

Is becoming a nail tech worth it? ›

In addition to a growing number of nail tech positions, there are plenty of other reasons why being a manicurist and pedicurist is so great. One of them is a steady income. It's important to remember that nail specialists have unlimited income potential, depending on how much they're willing to work.

How much do nail techs make in Georgia? ›

The average Nail Technician salary in Georgia is $20,877 as of January 26, 2023, but the range typically falls between $18,078 and $24,157.

Can you become a nail tech online in Georgia? ›

Approved Schools

Beauty Academy is approved by the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology to provide continuing education courses. It is simple to get on board with Beauty Academy to take the online cosmetology classes.

How do you become a fully qualified nail technician? ›

There are many Level 2 and 3 courses in nail technology or nail treatments that you can take. You can seek out local college courses or apprenticeships that offer this course. You can also take these qualifications through distance learning and study alongside other commitments.

How long is nail tech school? ›

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Nail Technician Program? Most nail technician programs take an average of 300 to 600 hours to complete. Program start times and lengths vary, but you can typically complete a nail tech program between three to nine months depending on your ability to attend school part- or full-time.

Where do nail techs make the most money? ›

The states and districts that pay Nail Technicians the highest mean salary are District of Columbia ($46,040), Utah ($45,080), Michigan ($44,310), Montana ($41,140), and Iowa ($41,010). How Much Do Nail Technicians Make in Your City?

What is the highest qualification in nails? ›

The best qualification to have is the VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology. This diploma could lead to employment whether it is in a salon or as a freelance nail technician.

What is a Level 3 nail technician? ›

The Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Nail Technology (450) covers a very wide range of skills and knowledge required for working in the nail technology industry. These are compulsory areas: Promote and sell products and services to clients. Enhance and maintain nails using light cured gel, including hard gels.

Can you have a nail salon in your home in Georgia? ›

02 Use of Facility for Home Salon/Shop. Space used for a cosmetology facility must be separated by tight, ceiling high partitions from residence rooms and must have separate restrooms. The cosmetology facility shall have a separate outside entrance. Separate space must be provided for a cosmetology facility.

What is an accredited nail course? ›

Generally speaking, a training course that is accredited is deemed of a high enough quality to be educating nail professionals to a satisfactory standard. Taking an accredited course means that a nail professional will subsequently be able to gain viable insurance, as accreditation is a requirement.

How to become a nail artist? ›

To become a nail technician or to get a job, you should be at least 12th pass along with a certificate or diploma course in Nail Treatments including Nail Art and Nail Technology from a certified institute.

Can you make a living off of being a nail tech? ›

Starting your own nail business is a great way to earn money and set your own hours by working from home or as a mobile artist. Perfect for busy mums, and people who want to be their own boss, the job of a self employed Nail Technician is a fun, social, creative and achievable way to make a living.

What can I write off as a nail technician? ›

Whether it's a chair in a big salon, or a studio of your own, that counts as a write-off! Write off all the lacquers, dip powers, and decals you use on clients. Brushes, cotton pads, cuticle clippers, and other tools for manicures are write-offs.

What are the negatives to being a nail tech? ›

Cons of Being a Nail Technician
  • You May Get Tired of the Constant Fumes. ...
  • You Will Occasionally Deal With Difficult Clients. ...
  • You Might Need to Do Your Own Marketing. ...
  • You Could Have to Work Nights or Weekends. ...
  • You Can Get Frustrated With Having Limited Skills. ...
  • You Are at Higher Risk for Arm and Shoulder Pain.
May 13, 2022

Are nail techs in high demand? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22.4% employment growth for nail technicians between 2021 and 2031. In that period, an estimated 36,600 jobs should open up. Nail technicians provide nail services to customers at salons, spas and barber shops, while some technicians operate their own business.

How much do laser techs make in Georgia? ›

The average Cosmetic Laser Technician salary in Atlanta, GA is $53,728 as of January 26, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $48,512 and $61,673.

What license do you need to open a nail salon in Georgia? ›

In order to open a salon/shop you must have the actual license issued by the Georgia Board of Cosmetology and Barbers and the registration must be displayed in a conspicuous place in the salon/shop.

What is the difference between nail artist and nail technician? ›

A nail tech and nail artist are basically the same thing; it is usually only the name that differs. Sometimes It can refer to the type of training the technician received and where they took their training.

How do I start a nail career? ›

How to become a nail tech
  1. Graduate from high school. A high school diploma or GED is required to enter cosmetology programs and qualify for licensure. ...
  2. Complete a cosmetology course. ...
  3. Obtain your license. ...
  4. Perform continuing education activities. ...
  5. Develop your skills. ...
  6. Gain experience.
Jun 1, 2021

How do I become a self employed nail technician? ›

There is no specific qualification you need to take to be able to start a nail business. However, you will need to get insurance and many providers do require proof of qualifications in order to cover you. So, while you could in theory be a self-taught nail technician, it is not recommended.

Can you make money as a nail technician? ›

Professional nail care services can be a lucrative business. If you're looking to maximize revenue for your nail business, you've come to the right spot! We've put together eight ways to make more money as a nail tech, so you can start earning more and growing your business.

Is nail tech easy? ›

Becoming A Nail Technician

You can have a long, fulfilling, creative career in a nail salon, but there is some hard work and effort required to get there. It's important that you're dedicated to this area of expertise, and that you can fulfil the requirements needed to get your career going.

What level is a nail technician diploma? ›

The VTCT Level 3 in Nail Technology is a highly recognised qualification that is accepted across the UK for working in salons, nail bars, hotels and spas or as a freelance nail technician.

How do nail technicians get rich? ›

9 Ways to Boost Your Revenue as a Nail Tech
  1. Limit your service list. There's a common misconception that offering a variety of services increases your money-earning potential. ...
  2. Make clients book themselves. ...
  3. Don't explain price increases. ...
  4. Use less product. ...
  5. Get a side gig. ...
  6. Study something else. ...
  7. Go easy on the upsell.
Feb 21, 2018

How profitable is owning a nail salon? ›

The “average” nail salon is estimated to have annual revenues of $287,000, but these facilities can gross as much as $575,000, and revenues are likely conservative, given that a significant share of receipts are via cash payments that go unreported. These nail salons have a net profit margin of about 17%.

Which nail service is the most popular? ›

Gel Manicure

What it is: This is the most popular manicure you'll hear about right now. Think of it as a souped-up version of a basic manicure that uses a UV light to cure and harden liquid polish, which is what makes a gel manicure last up to three times longer than regular polish.

Do you have to be good at art to be a nail tech? ›

You don't need to be an art major in college or have grown up in a creative family to be a successful salon nail artist. Nowadays if you have the desire to be a nail artist and the discipline to practice; the option is readily yours. There is no shortage of online nail art demos and strategies for improving technique.

Can you do nails without a qualification? ›

It is surprising to discover that in this industry there are employees without a fully recognised qualification. To become a fully qualified nail technician you have to gain a recognised qualification like VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology.

How long can your nails be as a CNA? ›

The CDC guidelines say that health care personnel should not wear artificial nails and should keep natural nails less than one quarter inch long if they care for patients at high risk of acquiring infections (e.g. patients in intensive care units or in transplant units).

What is a Level 2 Diploma in nail technology? ›

Course benefits

A VTCT Level 2 Qualification in Nail Technology is becoming the industry-required standard and recognized in many sectors of the industry. This particular course will enable you to provide a complete nail service and work as a professional nail technician, either self-employed or within a salon.

What is Level 2 award in nail technology? ›

The VTCT Level 2 Certificate in Nail Technology course is a vocational qualification that will prepare you for employment in the nail industry. You will gain the skills, understanding and knowledge required to perform professional manicures, nail overlay treatments including acrylics/UV gel applications and nail art.

Can you cut cuticles in Georgia? ›

Cuticle cutting: Don't cut your cuticles; only trim the hanging and dead skin around the cuticle and nail. “When you cut the cuticle, you are 'breaking' your seal and exposing the area to a host of germs,” says Wright. In fact, cuticle cutting at a salon is actually illegal in Georgia.

Can I serve wine in my salon Georgia? ›

The law allows salons and barber shops to serve free beer and wine without a license, as long as the drinker is of age and getting a beauty service.

Are mobile salons legal in GA? ›

Rule 240-4-. 01 Requirements of Operating a Facility

mobile units, including kiosks, carts, mobile homes, trailers, and motor homes, shall not be issued a license as a salon/shop unless they meet all requirements of the Board and are anchored on the ground operating in a permanent location.

Can you do nail courses online? ›

Fully accredited online nail technician courses that turn dreams into extra pocket money… Our complete online nail courses are delivered via a simple and enjoyable online platform, taking you through all the necessary skills to call yourself a professional nail technician.

What is it called when you go to college for nails? ›

Cosmetology school—more commonly known as “beauty school”—teaches cosmetology students how to perform cosmetology services on Guests. Cosmetology is about more than just hair. Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatment to the hair, skin and nails.

What is nail course called? ›

Nail care comprehensive course equips students with the skills and knowledge to take care of body nails. With this course, you will become an expert in the field.

How much money do nail artists make in Year? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $207,000 and as low as $14,500, the majority of Self Employed Nail Technician salaries currently range between $30,000 (25th percentile) to $68,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $106,500 annually across the United States.

How long does it take to train to be a nail technician? ›

This typically takes 12 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job study.

How long does it take to finish cosmetology school in Georgia? ›

Are you wondering how long cosmetology school takes? The state of Georgia requires 1,500 hours to complete a master cosmetology program and can be completed in as little as 11 months, while a hair design program is 1,325 hours and can be completed in as little as nine months!

What insurance do I need as a nail technician? ›

All technicians need public and products liability insurance. This type of insurance is inexpensive and will protect you from most situations involving products, whether as a result of an accident or an allergic reaction, for example.

What's the highest degree for cosmetology? ›

The highest cosmetology degree available is an associate degree, usually offered by private beauty schools and community and technical colleges. However, those with an associate degree in cosmetology can go on to earn a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business or hospitality management.

Is studying cosmetology hard? ›

Cosmetology School Is Not as Easy as You Think

A lot of people think beauty school is a walk in the park…it's not that simple. Beauty school is a lot of hard work. Students have to study their text books, they take quizzes and tests, and they practice hair styles over and over again.

Do you need a GED for cosmetology school in Georgia? ›

Admissions Requirements

Cosmetology Instructor Training Certificate: High school diploma/GED required. Students must be 18 years of age or older. Must hold a valid Master Cosmetologist License from the State of Georgia. Hair Designer Certificate: High school diploma/GED required.


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