Did you know? Offering nail care services for compensation without the required state license is a criminal offense subject to prosecution as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Clients have the right to personally sue for damages from unlicensed Technicians or salons using them. 

Regulations state that Techs providing services must have a license posted in a visable area or they are in violation. This display of licensure includes all those in training that must have a DOLI administered apprentice license posted while being supervised by a State Licensed Tech. 


Nail Technician Career
The biggest discrepancy in the nail industry is the idea that the only jobs for Nail Technicians are in the commonly recognized and mostly used "discount" nail salons. Many of these salons will hire unlicensed Technicians to offer a cheaper price on nail services with mostly poor working conditions. If these shops get caught using unlicensed people to do nails, they could be shut down and the people doing them can be sued by clients. 
Although many "discount" nail salons are hiring, these are NOT the only types of places that are hiring Nail Technicians. Professional salons that pay more, only hire "Licensed" Nail Technicians. These shops usually offer a more pleasant working experience with better pay and some even offer benefits. To become a licensed Nail Technician you must go to school and pass state exams. We assist our graduates in obtaining their state license to sell nail services in Virginia. 


Don't be fooled by online classes saying that they teach nails cheap. These classes usually offer a certificate after completion. A certificate is not a license to sell nail services in Virginia. You must have a state administered Nail Tech license to sell nail care services in Virginia.  

Who can perform nail services for sale in Virginia?

  • State Licensed Nail Techs that passed their state exams with a license posted for you to see.
  • Students that are inside a state licensed school 
  • DOLI Apprentices that were registered by the state representative to give them an apprentice card that must be posted for you to see and always working under the supervision of a licensed person that does hair (cosmetologist) or a licensed Nail Tech.

Anyone else offering nail care services for sale can be sued by the client or the salon can be fined/shut down. Licenses must be posted in an easy to view location (usually near the reception desk) or they are in a separate violation of not posting the license. The licenses are there to let you know that this person has been tested in a state secure facility to offer you a safe and sanitary service. 


Some nail salons will hire unlicensed people right off the street to do nails. This is a state violation that should be reported to DPOR. People do not report these salons and that is how they get away with it. 

Learn more about high end verse low end:

 The lower end "discount" nail salons that most people recognize are not the only places hiringMost of the people that are interested in doing nails rarely visit the types of businesses that pay the best. There are so many of these places worldwide that are desperately hiring the type of Nail Technicians that we train, right now. These places will only hire state "Licensed" Nail Technicians. 

Click the price examples below to see high end priced spas:



When earning an income in these high end salons/spas, an average pay is about 30-50% commission share and even sometimes an additional hourly pay. Higher end business usually get an additional 10-20% tip added.
This means a $40 manicure that takes about one hour to do can earn $12-20 in commission for that hour. The additional tip can be another $4-8 of income. This means $16-28 can be made for that hour. Guess what the income is from a $75-100 pedicure!


Examples of most common nail salon violations

  • Reuse of paraffin. Taking used paraffin and putting it back in to the pot for reuse.
  • Reuse of tools or materials that have not been sanitized. Foot files, metal tools etc.
  • Not rinsing out the backwash from the last pedicure in jetted pedicure chairs.
  • All metal tools must be soaked for 10 minutes in a hospital disinfectant before use.
  • A UV Sterilizer box is not a sterilizer for files or metal tools, it is only for storage.
  • Bits or bands on a nail drill must be diposed or sterilized before each customer.
  • Files must be sterilized between customers and buffers can not be reused.
  • All employees providing nail care must have a license posted for you to see.
  • Training Techs must have a state administered apprentice card posted to do services
  • Ratio for training Techs in a salon is 1 training apprentice per Licensed Technician
  • Cutting of callused skin on feet is not permited. Only filing is permitted. 
  • Technicians can not preform a removal of calluses only smoothing, care or like.
  • Living skin around the fingernails and toes can not be cut by a Nail Technician
  • Nail Technicians are not permitted to diagnose or treat any nail disease, only refer.
  • Techncians can not reach into a jar to get product with their bare hands
  • Towels are one use per customer and dirty towels must be in a closed container
    IF YOU SEE ANY OF THESE ISSUES: It means they are in violation!



Read other site information about the Nail Industry:

When you investigate the job and look for career statistics the discount nail salons is blended with these spas & resorts, so the number are not accurate unless you break it down to the type of nail salon you plan to work in, including at home. Many of these reports are year ago. With the nail industry dramatically changing over the past five years these numbers could be unreliable. 

US News & World Reports named Nail Technician as the #52job out of 100 Best Jobs and #6 for the Best Social Services Jobs! Click here to read more!  

Read an article by TIME magazine about how a Nail Technician can be a dream job that actually pays. Click HERE.


Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Manicurist and Pedicurist employtment statistics. Keep in mind that this does not separate the higher end and lower end Nail Technicians. 


O*NET Online Summary Report for Manicurists and Pedicurists



Subscribe to NAIL IT Magazine or just read about it HERE.



More acurate and up to date Nail Statistic Data on the internet collected by a company in the industry for over thirty years. 


Nail Technicians have a worldwide needed job that offers:

Networking, by meeting new people for other life & career opportunities for you and also for your loved ones (like jobs, new friends, meeting locals, network assistance connections etc.)
Flexible Schedule, to be with your children when you want or take time off when you want
Financial Rewards, to make as much money as you want to make when you want to make it
Challenging work, to keep you learning including building creativity skills and having fun 
Personal Satisfaction, from the job fulfillment and increase Self-Esteem from your work


Works well with other future career plans!
Regardless of your career plans for the future having a Nail Technician license can offer a flexible trade that can change into so many positions for making an income as your life changes!
College students can make money in their dorms, mothers can make money at home while their children are asleep or in school, entrepreneurs can open their own business, companies that manufacture nail products (like OPI) hire sales reps and educators to travel the world and teach about their products, resort nail technicians can make a Mon-Fri weekly salary on a Sat/Sun weekend, some Nail Technicians also offer spa parties on the side for adults or children to make quick cash, the list goes on!



What if I just want to do Nail part time?
This is an excellent trade skill for people studying or working in other careers. Even a lawyer could do nails on the side to meet clients for their law job.  A college student can use the skill to meet people that will guide them to a job in their college career field plus they could even work part-time while in college making what a full-time person makes. The skill can be put away after graduating college to work in their field but brought back out when they become parents needing extra cash and flexibility. We have had students aged 40 and up use this education as a great side job, both men and women!
The networking is absolutely amazing in this field from meeting clients that you are sitting and talking to for an hour or more. You can meet your studen'ts teachers or principles, local political representatives, local business owners for jobs or advice, managers in companies to help with jobs for your loved ones or friends and even famous people in resorts. You could also meet doctors, laywers or real estate agents for free advice and so much more.  If you work in a salon, people in your area will know you and you will know people. 



What is the job market like for Nail Technicians?
Professional Licensed Nail Technicians are in a very high demand right now. Those willing to drive 40-60 minutes can double their job openings.  
Many customers today are unsatisfied with the quicker services and low quality standards in most commonly found nail salons, therefore customers everywhere are out there looking for a quality nail salon to go to.
It is very hard for employers to find quality trained Nail Technicians. Most of our graduates will not go to most common nail salons after learning about the serious violations that customer don't recognize. 

Where do Nail Technicians work?
In Salons, Day Spas, Resorts and Retirement communities 
Business owners working alone or with hair dressers, massage therapists and/or estheticians 
At home in a spare room that you set up to be a nail salon 
In a salon or franchise salon or spa that offers benefits 
In the private homes of the wealthy and famous 
A sales rep for a beauty supply company or beauty product distributor like OPI or ESSIE, etc. within the US or outside 
Traveling the world working on cruise ships or resorts in other countries 
Nail Competitions enrollment will offer recognition and great prizes including cash winnings or professional job offers
Mobile Nail Techs will travel to homes and offices to become a traveling nail salon
Offering spa parties for adult or little children 
Movie sets, magazine companies, fashion model shows etc. 
Medical Nail Techs can work in podiatrist's office or Medical Spas 

What skill does a Nail Technician need?
The most successful Nail Technicians always want to learn more and have a drive to build their client list by giving time to be at the job. Time management and reliability is very important in this job to keep your clients long term. Visual skills are important for the detailed work we do. Some kind of art skill like painting or sculpting ability is a major bonus, but not necessary. Physical stamina is valueable for the hours sitting hunched over working on clients hands and feet.

Many people tell us "I can't hold my hand still or I am just not artistic". Since we are a school, we teach you these skills. Some people say they don't like feet, well you don't have to do them if you work from home or open your own business. This even means a person that is confined to a wheelchair (with good vision and hand/eye cordination) can do nails!

Students that love to care for people will do good in this service type industry that also earns tips from happy clients. People skills is important but we have had shy and introverted graduates that opened a private nail salon or work at home to handle clients one at a time. Students that love being around people can open a salon and rent out space to hair dressers, massage people and makeup artists to help pay their rent. People of all kinds with different personalities can find a niche in this field since it offers so many ways to make money. 

As you get older you can work for companies to educate and travel the world or work part time for some extra cash.

Where are the Nail Technician Schools?

Nail schools are hard to find because of the dramatic change in the industry during the 80's-90's. There were not many "old school" Nail Technicians that stayed in the trade to become educators. The other biggest reason is that there is no financial aid for students to attend Nail School in Virginia. Many Beauty Schools do not get enough students with the money to take a nail course, so they only offer it on the side with a focus of the main income coming from hair education. These schools use the hair instructor to teach the "on the side" nail course. Hairdressers rarely have nail skills with most of their experience only from manicures and pediures, not artificial nails. 

We are very rare in the state! Our lead Instructor has over 20 years experience doing nail services from discount salons, salons, day spas to five star resorts to ensure you are exposed to the education needed to be desired Nail Technicians. As you visit our website, you will notice that we stand out from other school websites, that's because we know nails. Our school stands out the same, in our educational experience.  We may be price higher but most people know that you get what you pay for. Almost all of our students have told us that they made their course cost back in less than a year!

Nail Technician Various Job Employer types

Licensed Nail Technicians perform a variety of nail care services only. Clientle must be built up to enjoy a busy day with back to back appointments, this can take many months to build unless you work at a resort. Providing top quality pampering services with great time management will promote clients to return and grow a returning client base.

Day Spas or Resorts usually only do natural care services like Manicures and Pedicures because they do not want odors. The services may be very expensive and pampering using high quality products. It can be a relaxing atmosphere to work in with patient and caring empathetic co-workers.
Nail salons
 can do a variety of nail care services such as acrylics, manicures, pedicures, gel nails and art. In Nail Salons you can learn a lot from your peers and share advertising but there will be competition for clients. 
Nail Technicians that work from home can provide any service when they want when they work from home. Customers will be traveling in and out of your home. Mobile Techs can travel. 
Hair salons usually have only 1-2 Nail Techs and clientle is built very fast from the clients that have their hair done may want nail services too. A lot of time in hair salons, focus is on the hair stylists supply instead of the Nail Techs. There usually are no peers to learn nail care techniques from in a hair salon, so taking advance nail classes should be on their list of things to do.


A Day in the Life of a Nail Technician 
Nail technicians typically work 20-40 hours per week, mostly sitting down, though some may choose to work much longer hours. Weekends and evenings are the busiest time for salons. Certain times of year, such as prom season or hot summer months can be very busy as well.
The professional workplace is often a pleasant atmosphere, with comfortable seating, flattering lighting, and proper ventilation. However, the constant exposure to nail polishes, removers, and other chemicals can cause possible irritation over time, so the protective use of gloves, masks, air filters and the like is recommended.
Some nail technicians choose to open their own nail salons. In this case, the requirements of ownership increases dramatically to include marketing, accounting, hiring, scheduling, and other aspects of owning a business.
Those who are self-employed might work more erratic hours than those who work for a salon. 
Unlike the short shelf life of a Massage Therapist, Nail Technicians can offer thier services much longer as they get older with it's versitility. 

Typical Nail Technician Skills upon Graduation

Nail technicians that graduate from our school are taught the needed essentials to be able to perform a safe and sanitary service. Skill starts with desire, a desire of being good without giving in to confidence-losing failed attempts.
Our graduating students have the knowledge and skill to take the Virginia State exams for Nail Technology to obtain a Nail Technician license. Many of our students usually start off with their Manicure & Pedicure skills. Many salons are looking for nail techs to offer mani/pedis first.

Gel polishing skills can take about 3-6 months to master after repeated consistent application. 
Nail Art skills vary based on the artisitic passion of the student.  Resorts and spas do not usually offer nail art. 

On average, we see that acrylic nail skills can take up to one year after graduation to master with regular consistent practice. Repeated application will allow the student to build the skill to master their art!

Many students just stick to Manicures and Pedicures without dealing with artificial nails, great in resorts and spas that do not offer odor-smells from acrylic nail services.


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