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How to Become a Nail Technician

What Is A Nail Technician?

nail technician

A nail technician (often called a nail tech) is an individual who helps to groom, shape, and pain a client’s fingernails and toenails. In addition to administering manicures and pedicures to a client’s natural nails, a nail tech also applies and designs acrylic and gel false nails. He or she will also groom a client’s cuticles, remove calluses and dead skin, remove shellac nail polish, and provide arm and leg massages.

This is a creative and dynamic industry that lets you set your own hours and stay on top of art and fashion trends.

What Does A Nail Technician Do?

On a day to day basis, a nail technician will see many clients for pedicures, manicures, polish changes, acrylic nail application, and paraffin wax treatments. They will clean, fill and groom their clients’ fingernails and toenails, including removing cuticles, buffing calluses, sloughing away dead skin, moisturising hands and feet, and providing light relaxation massages. They can also provide advice on the treatment of fungal infections of the nails.

Nail technicians treat and care for natural nails, but they also add acrylic nails, gel nails, and silk strengthen wraps. The most common polish requests are for solid colours or for a French manicure. While traditional manicures and pedicures included simple applications of one colour, today nail art is becoming more and more popular. Nail technicians are tasked with creating increasingly bold and creative designs for their clients’ nails. They do this with specialised brushes and airbrushing tools. They can also add diamantes, jewels or other appliques.

How Much Does A Nail Technician Earn?

In London, the average nail technician salary is £9.28 per hour. This amount will vary depending on a nail tech’s clientele and the level of salon at which they work. A nail technician working in a high end spa or hotel can earn triple this amount, while freelancing nail technicians set their own rates.

Remember, some nail studios operate with a ‘chair rental’ policy. This means that you will earn a percentage of the money paid by each client, but you will need to pay the salon a rental fee for your space each month.

Some nail technicians do supplement their income with tips from clients, as a few pounds per treatment is customary at the lower end. At the higher end, nail technicians can expect to earn an additional 10 – 15% per treatment.

What Qualifications Does A Nail Technician Need?

While nail technicians do not need any formal qualifications in the UK, experience and beauty services qualifications are very desirable. By taking courses to be a nail technician you will improve your chances of landing a well-paying position in a nail studio.

You can begin by taking a nail treatment course at your local college. This will provide you with the initial skills and experience that you need to get started. These are offered at level 1 and 2, and can require GCSE passes. At a college level, look at the curriculum for some of the general beauty therapy level 2 and level 3 courses, as some do include nail therapy options. You can also seek an apprenticeship with an established nail technician.

NCC offers a wide array of nail tech courses than you can take from home. These courses will give you a solid foundation in this exciting and creative career, including fibreglass nails, airbrush nail art, and acrylic tips.

A Step By Step Guide Explaining How To Become A Nail Technician?

Now that you have started looking into a career as a nail technician, you can take a number of steps to achieve this goal and get where you want to be. Take these steps one at a time and you will soon be well on your way to career polishing, buffing, and shaping nails!

Step 1

Start by having a good think about whether being a nail technician is really for you. Helping clients care for their nails can be very rewarding, but it takes hard work, practice and determination.

Step 2

List all of the personal skills that you possess that could help you to be a good nail technician. It takes more than a keen eye for detail and creativity. You also need to have excellent customer service skills, communication skills, and the motivation to keep your training and technical methods up to date.

Step 3

Think about the areas of nail art and care that interest you the most. While you need to be adept at all aspects of this role, you can choose to specialise in nail art, air brushing, acrylics, or spa treatments.

Step 4

Start a search for courses that will help you become qualified to be a nail technician. While you do not need any formal qualifications to be a nail tech in the UK, you will need to take courses or organise an apprenticeship in order to learn the trade.

Step 5

Once you have learned the ins and outs of nail care, you need to choose whether you want to be self-employed or find a job in an existing nail studio. If you go the self-employed route you will need to purchase all of your own supplies and rent your own treatment space.

Step 6

If you choose to work for yourself, you now need to market your skills. Building a word of mouth following is important, which is why most nail technicians start their careers working in an established studio. This way they have a regular clientele that they can take with them when they set off on their own.

Choose a Nail Technician Course

At NCC, we have a wide range of nail technician courses from home, including:

    • Sculting Nail Diploma - This course is ideal for students who wish to learn about how they can enhance a client's nails without glue, tips or extensions while reducing possible damage to the natural nail, a common concern for many clients.

    • Acrylic Nail Diploma - Master Acrylic Nail application for a quality assured, professional service. Ideal for nail artists and technicians looking to improve their knowledge in the field of Acrylic applications and techniques.

    • Manicure and Gel Diploma - Manicure and Gel application are the most popular nail treatments. This course will teach students how master the spa manicure as well as how to properly apply, maintain and remove gel polish.

    • Complete Nail Art Diploma - Maximise your nail art potential with this comprehensive diploma encompassing everything from Magnetic gels, Bubbles, Strokes and more. An exciting course for both beginners and existing nail technicians.


For a fully comprehensive nail technician course the Complete Nail Technician Diploma below is ideal:

  • Complete Nail Technician Diploma - Gain an insight into how to care for and maintain nail extensions. The Maintaining Nail Extensions course covers Gels, Acrylics and Fibreglass and you will learn how to rebalance nails, repair and prevent lifting, repair chipped and cracked nails and how to soak off old extensions. We recommend that for anyone looking to complete this course that they should complete one of the other nail technician courses first.

Study at home with NCC

Studying at home allows you flexibility to study at a pace and time that suits you:

    • We do not pressure you to complete your course or meet deadline etc. You set the pace of your learning. 
    • You will have tutor support for 12 months, with the option to extend this for a small fee. 
  • Our nail technician courses from home are accredited by Beauty Tribe Ltd, with all students receiving a nationally recognised certificate of successful completion.

These accredited Nail Technician courses allow you to obtain the insurance required to work on human hands.

Why choose NCC?

In addition to the benefits we have listed above, learning with NCC;

    • Our Nail Technician courses are recognised by Radius Insurance
    • Price match - if you find the same course elsewhere at a cheaper rate, contact us within 14 days of purchase and we will refund the difference.
    • Independent customer reviews with TrustPilot have rated us 9.7 / 10, one of the highest within the industry.
    • We have a wide variety of courses, so there is something to fit in with your career goals.
    • Payment plans - you can either pay in full or pay monthly with no credit checks.

If you are considering completing a nail technician course from home check out our available courses to see what suits your needs.