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Beauty & makeup

Nail technician

Nail technicians offer customers treatments like nail art, filing, polishing and extensions.

Annual Salary

£15,500 to £22,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 39 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 0.5% fewer Nail technician jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a nail technician, you may:

  • offer manicure and pedicure treatments
  • clean, polish and file nails
  • apply or repair false nails, tips and enhancements
  • decorate nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • advise customers on nail care and products
  • store chemicals correctly and follow strict hygiene rules

Working environment

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

You can get into this job through:

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

You could begin by taking a college course, for example:

  • nail technology
  • nail treatments
  • nail art

Some colleges will offer nail services as part of a beauty therapy course.

For more information

You could take a Nail Services Technician Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

This typically takes 1 year to complete and is a mix of workplace learning and day-release for study.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information

If you can show a real interest in nail art and have some skills in it, you may be able to get a job as a trainee with a nail salon or beauty spa and learn on the job.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

Working part time in a nail bar or beauty salon will help you learn about different treatments and allow you to develop your customer service and salon skills.

Nail technicians often work freelance. If you're thinking about being self-employed it's useful to find out what sort of business skills you'll need.

Further information

You can find out more about working in the beauty industry from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority.

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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.

You may want to take further training to learn other beauty techniques or to teach nail art.

You might also move into product sales, selling nail equipment and materials to salons and nail bars.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • active listening skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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