How to become a nail tech

So you love doing your own or your family’s nails, you got carried away and bought so many products that you probably will not get to use them all in your lifetime, and you are also pretty good at giving manicures. Wouldn’t it be lovely to, somehow, profit from this hobby? If you’d rather make money off working with real people than designing fake nails, you’re probably interested in becoming a professional nail technician. Every state has its own regulations on how to legally practice as a nail technician, but they tend to share some common aspects: if you would like to become a professional, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Currently, all 50 states require a license to become a technician. The last one to implement the norm, Connecticut, just did so in October 2020. To get a license, however, you are not always required to complete a nail technician program, so if school just isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know that some states allow you to get started with an apprenticeship. Still, the process to be eligible for a license requires hours of training. If nail technician programs worry you because of their tuition fees, therefore, make sure to look into any other options you may have. If instead, you opt for a nail technician program, you’re in for a comprehensive study plan that will teach you how to the basics of manis and pedis, nail art, and the fundamental hygienic procedures to guarantee proper safety and sanitation. Most programs will also teach you the basics of massage theory and anatomy, which hints at the fact that they’re aiming to provide you with quite the interdisciplinary knowledge. Once you have completed your nail tech course and/or your apprenticeship hours, you’ll be expected to take one final exam to obtain your license. The exam is typically written and/or practical, depending on state regulations, and passing it will allow you to become a legally recognized professional.


Going to cosmetology or nail tech school and getting a license, however, might not be the end of your journey. It will allow you to work in a salon, open your own, or even work from home if you’d like, but in some states your license will require some maintenance. Roughly half the states in the US require license renewal which will only occur upon obtaining some continuing education credits (CE). These mandatory courses are fundamental to make sure that professionals stay up to date with new products as well as hygiene and sanitation practices, and the requirements vary by state. Moreover, you are probably aware that going to nail tech school or getting a license doesn’t necessarily make a professional a good nail artist: to make sure you are offering your customers the best possible service, keep practicing and learning in your free time and try to ace new designs and nail trends. After all, it’s probably something you are already doing for free.

Did you ever think of becoming a professional to get some extra income or, even, change your full-time job? If you’d like to see your nail art get the appreciation it deserves, tag us on Instagram for a chance to be featured!