Career in Nail Art

Becoming a Nail Tech: Frequently Asked Questions

January 6th, 2020

Nail Technology

start today



If you’re interested in taking your passion for nail art to the next level, there are likely a number of questions you’ve been pondering to get you there. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a professional nail technician, and the answers you need to get started.

How Much Do Nail Techs Make?

The answer to this common question is as you might expect: it depends. There are a number of factors that contribute to what you might make as a nail technician including: the market you work in, the types of services you offer, and more. According to Indeed, the average pay in the United States for nail technicians is $21.17 an hour, but this is just an average of reported salaries and may not properly reflect what you will make after becoming a licensed nail tech.

How Long Is Nail Tech School?

The number of hours required to complete a nail technician program at an accredited cosmetology school depends on the state in which you are attending. For example, Tricoci University offers a full nail technician program in Indiana, as well as basic nails as part of our cosmetology program in Illinois and Wisconsin. In Indiana, 450 hours of training is required.

Do You Have to Be Licensed to Do Nails?

Yes. To legally provide nail technician services as a career, you must have a state license. The deciding factor on whether or not you require licensure is if you are making money on the services you provide. If your goal is to become a professional nail technician and make your passion for nail art your career, then a license in the state you intend to practice is required.

What Do You Need to Be a Nail Technician?

In order to obtain a license to be a practicing nail technician, you must have completed an accredited training course and sit for the licensure exam in the state you intend to offer your services. If you intend to offer services in multiple states, you will likely be required to sit for a license in each individual state.

Do You Need a Cosmetology License to Do Nails?

Not necessarily. While this may vary from school to school, it is most important to complete the most relevant program for your career plans. At Tricoci University, we offer a nail technician program separate from our cosmetology program. However, many students opt to combine training (for example, a student may pursue training as a nail technician and cosmetologist) in order to widen the range of services they can offer after graduation.

How Do Nail Techs Get Paid?

Nail techs get paid in different ways. Some nail salons may offer salaries or hourly pay, others may offer a pay-by-service model where the nail technicians “rent” their space in the salon and receive payment from their clients directly for each service. Additionally, many nail techs receive supplemental income via tips from their clients. This is why building a good book of business and maintaining an excellent reputation as a nail tech is so important.

Ready to Take Your Next Step Toward Becoming a Professional Nail Technician?

If you’re ready to take the next step toward turning your passion for nail art into a career, we’re ready to help! Tricoci University offers programs to help you become a cosmetologist, esthetician, barber, and nail tech. Contact us to schedule a virtual tour or get started on enrollment today.

sign up today!