Nail technician

Nail technicians repair, paint and decorate clients' nails.

Average salary (a year)

£12,500 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become a Nail technician

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could take a level 2 or 3 course in nail technology or nail treatments at a college or private training provider.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information


You could take an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in beauty therapy or nail services.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information


If you can show a real interest in nail art, you may be able to get a job as a trainee.

More information

Career tips

Doing any sort of retail work will help you develop communication and customer service skills. Working part time in a nail bar or beauty salon will also help you learn about different treatments and how to look after customers in a more relaxed environment.

Further information

The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) has more information on becoming a nail technician.

If you have the right skills, you could set up your own business. This could be a mobile service or a contract to go into leisure facilities like gyms, hotels and spas.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

Some local authorities request that you are licensed to run a nail business.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • basic treatments, like manicures and pedicures
  • cleaning and filing nails
  • applying false nails or extensions
  • decorating nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • repairing, looking after and removing false nails and extensions
  • checking for any signs of skin or nail problems before treatment

Working environment

You could work in a salon, at a health spa, on a cruise ship, from home or at a client's home.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could manage a salon or start your own business. 

You could work with photographers, fashion designers or TV companies, preparing nails for photo shoots or fashion shows. 

With further training you could move into teaching nail art.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Beauty Therapist

  • Wage : £120.00 Weekly
  • Location: Derby DE23 4AE

Beauty Apprentice

  • Wage : £129.50 Weekly
  • Location: Spalding PE11 3GD

Courses In England

F5067 - Beauty: Nail Services Level 3 Diploma (Advanced Nail Technician)

  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: STOKE - ON - TRENT

Level 2 VTCT Certificate in Nail Technology (Artificial Nails)

  • Start date: 26 February 2019
  • Location: Shrewsbury

Get help using this service

Call 08000 150 950

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

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