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Updated

Nail Technician

Nail technicians clean, shape, extend, and polish clients’ fingernails and toenails.

  • Avg. Salary $30,772.00
  • Avg. Wage $18.86
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 4,600
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Cosmetologist, Manicurist, Mast Nail Technician, Nail Artist, Nail Professional, Nail Technologists, Onychologists, Pedicurist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Manicurists and Pedicurists (6482.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations (G922) 
  • 2011 NOC: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations (6562) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

35%
35%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Nail Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Manicurists and Pedicurists
METHODICAL

Interest in comparing to clean, shape and polish fingernails and toenails and provide related treatments

SOCIAL

Interest in serving - assisting clients by providing treatments to hands and feet designed to enhance physical appearance

OBJECTIVE

Interest in manipulating and applying various specialized products

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Duties vary but, in general, nail technicians:

  • manicure and pedicure natural nails, including:
    • removing old polish
    • cleaning and shaping nails and cuticles
    • buffing nails
    • applying polish
  • apply, maintain, and remove artificial nails (such as gel nails)
  • extend natural nails with liquid and acrylic powder
  • treat the ends of nails to make them stronger and apply nail tips as needed
  • decorate nails with designs and jewelry (such as colour gel, decals, foils or rhinestones)
  • remove dead skin from hands or feet
  • apply paraffin wax treatments and other optional treatments (such as scrubs or masks)
  • follow proper steps to sanitize tools and keep the work area clean
  • detect (but not diagnose) fungus, infections, and diseases
  • maintain an inventory of supplies
  • promote and sell nail care products
  • advise clients on colours and nail care products
  • advise clients on proper nail care.

They also may:

  • teach clients how to care for their nails and apply polish
  • book appointments and take payments
  • keep records of the services provided.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most nail technicians work in beauty salons. They sit for most of their working hours. Some work from home or provide a mobile service. They may work full or part time. Saturday and evening shifts are normally required.

In general, nail technicians work with other technicians or beauty professionals. Most often, there are several manicure and pedicure stations. Technicians may be paid by the hour, on commission, or as a contractor who is renting a station. Each person builds and maintains their own clientele.

Running a business from home or offering mobile services are two common ways to start in this business. There are few overhead costs.

Nail salons should be clean and professional. Technicians should follow local health codes and regulations. However, clients go to nail salons as much to relax as for grooming. Because of this, technicians must follow rules while also creating a relaxing, pampering environment.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Nail technicians need to possess:

  • an outgoing, friendly nature
  • creativity
  • attention to detail
  • manual dexterity
  • a good sense of colour
  • patience
  • the ability to deal with difficult clients
  • a well-groomed appearance.

They should enjoy:

  • taking a step-by-step approach to gathering information
  • serving and helping people
  • using specialized products and techniques.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

There are no standard requirements for nail technicians. However, a high school diploma and related training are assets. Some salons ask for training in specific spa services (such as pedicures, gel toenails, body polishes, or body wraps). Workshops and training programs are available for those who want to specialize in nail care.

Nail technicians must have training from a recognized school to buy products from professional suppliers. Those interested in this work should discuss training options with practicing nail technicians, potential employers, and suppliers.

Many beauty salons employ just one nail technician. The shops that specialize in this field tend to be small. As a result, on-the-job training may be difficult to find.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Advance Institute of Wellness & Esthetics

Alberta Academy of Aesthetics

Ambber & Salma College of Esthetics & Spa

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

DelMar College

Delmar College - Red Deer Campus

Delmar College of Esthetics & Wellness

MC College - Calgary

MC College - Edmonton

MC College - Red Deer

National Institute of Wellness & Esthetics Inc.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Nail technicians work at beauty salons as employees or contractors. Some set up their own shops.

Without further training, chances to advance are limited.

Nail technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the Other Services [pdf] industry. However, most cosmeticians work in the Retail Trade [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the G922: Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 98 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Earnings for nail technicians vary a lot. They depend on the location, the services offered, and the technician’s reputation. Rates are often set for each type of service, so earnings may vary from day to day. More experienced technicians tend to have higher earnings.

Nail technicians may rent space in a beauty salon and keep their earnings separate from those of the salon. Or they may be employed by the salon and receive a basic salary plus commission. Those who are self-employed must pay overhead costs (such as rent and supplies).

Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $12.20 $23.54 $14.80 $13.00
Overall $12.51 $28.85 $18.86 $17.00
Top $12.51 $42.00 $25.13 $21.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

72%
72%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

35%
35%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

16%
16%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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