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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 and Pedicurist, 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

Average Wage
  • 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

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

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

Updated Dec 15, 2016

Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, nail technicians:

  • remove old nail polish
  • clean and shape nails to make them more attractive
  • soften cuticles and push them back
  • remove dead skin from hands or feet and apply warm parraffin wax treatments
  • advise clients about colours and nail care products
  • treat the ends of nails to make them more resilient
  • whiten nail tips with a nail white pencil
  • apply artificial nails and nail art
  • extend natural nails with acrylic powder and liquid
  • wrap nails to mend and strengthen them
  • apply nail tips and ridge filler or apply a gel and harden it under ultraviolet light
  • buff nails or apply polish
  • decorate clients' nails with designs or attach ornaments to nails
  • promote and sell nail care products
  • sanitize their tools and keep their work area clean
  • maintain an inventory of supplies.

They also may:

  • teach clients how to care for their nails and apply polish
  • book client appointments and accept payments
  • keep records of the services provided.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nail technicians need the following characteristics:

  • an outgoing, friendly personality
  • creativity
  • attention to detail
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • a good sense of colour
  • patience and the ability to deal tactfully with difficult clients
  • a well-groomed appearance.

They should enjoy:

  • taking a methodical approach to compiling information
  • serving and assisting people
  • using specialized products and techniques.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

There are no standard education requirements for nail technicians. However, a high school diploma and related training are definite assets when seeking employment.

Since the Hairstylist Apprenticeship Program includes training in manicure and pedicure, many hairstylists acquire related knowledge and skills through work experience. However, additional training may be required for hairstylists who wish to specialize in nail care.

People interested in entering this occupation should discuss their training options with practicing nail technicians and potential employers. On-the-job training opportunities may be difficult to find because many beauty salons employ only one nail technician and shops specializing in this field usually are small operations.

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 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 Dec 15, 2016

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Nail technicians are employed or work on a contract basis in beauty salons. Some nail technicians set up their own shops.

Without additional training, advancement opportunities 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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 4,900 Albertans are employed in the Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.0% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 98 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As nail technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for nail technicians.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Earnings for nail technicians vary considerably depending on the location, the services offered and the technician's reputation. Rates usually are set for each type of service so earnings vary from day to day depending on the type and number of services performed.

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 paid a basic salary plus commission. Those who are self-employed must pay overhead costs (for example, rent, supplies) from their earnings. 

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
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)

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 High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Esthetics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Apr 11, 2014. 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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