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Nail Technician

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

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

  • 6482.4: Manicurists and Pedicurists

2006 NOC-S

  • G922: Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations

2011 NOC

  • 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

2016 NOC

  • 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

2021 NOC

  • 63211: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

2023 OaSIS

  • 63211.04: Manicurists and pedicurist
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Duties vary but, in general, nail technicians:

  • Manicure and pedicure natural nails, including removing old polish, cleaning and shaping nails and cuticles, buffing nails, and 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
  • Exfoliate (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 clean / disinfect the work area
  • 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, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Manicurists and Pedicurists

2006 NOC: 6482.4

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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


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


Interest in manipulating and applying various specialized products

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Nail technicians need:

  • An outgoing, friendly nature
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Manual dexterity
  • A good sense of colour
  • Patience
  • Math skills
  • Organization and time-management skills
  • 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
  • Continually learning about new trends and products

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

2016 NOC: 6562

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 286 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jun 18, 2024 and Jul 18, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Manicures
Tasks: Pedicures
Tasks: Clean, trim and polish nails
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Attention to detail
Tasks: Nail art technics
Tasks: Provide gel and acrylic nail extensions
Tasks: Schedule and confirm appointments
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Hand-eye co-ordination
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

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. Many established nail technicians are willing to advise on techniques and products to assist those interested in joining the profession.

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. 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
Bella Elite Beauty & Barber Academy Ltd.
Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus
Delmar College - Red Deer Campus
Delmar College of Esthetics & Wellness
Eternal Beauty Institute
MC College - Calgary
MC College - Edmonton
MC College - Red Deer
NIWE Academy Inc.
Rosewood College
The Esthetic Institute Training Center

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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

Without further training, chances to advance are limited.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations occupational group, 79.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.7% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 116 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Earnings for nail technicians vary widely. They depend on location, 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 or more highly trained 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 work for the salon and receive a basic salary plus commission. Those who are self-employed must pay overhead costs, such as rent and supplies.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations

2016 NOC: 6562
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6562 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $23.00 $15.92 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $31.66 $19.67 $18.50
Top $15.00 $46.15 $25.93 $24.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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