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Beauty & makeup

Nail technician

Nail technicians repair, paint and decorate clients' nails.

Annual Salary

£15,500 to £25,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 39 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 1% fewer Nail technician jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day work you may:

  • do treatments, like manicures and pedicures
  • clean and file nails
  • apply false nails or extensions
  • decorate nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • repair, look after and remove false nails and extensions
  • check for any signs of skin or nail problems before treatment
  • store chemicals correctly and safely 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

Courses relevant to this role include:

  • level 2 or 3 Certificate in Nail Technology
  • level 1 or 2 Certificate in Nail Treatments
  • level 2 Award in Nail Art

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

You could do a nail services technician intermediate apprenticeship.

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually 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, 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 help you to develop your customer service and salon skills.

If you're thinking about being self-employed it's useful to find out what sort of business skills you'll need. Nail technicians often work freelance in places like people's homes or leisure facilities like gyms, hotels and spas.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a nail technician 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 could take further training to learn other beauty techniques or to teach nail art. You could 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
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening 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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