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Occupational Profile

Nail Technician

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

  • Avg. Salary $27,773.00
  • Avg. Wage $16.88
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Cosmetologist, Manicurist and Pedicurist, Pedicurist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Nail Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Manicurists and Pedicurists
NOC code: 6482.4
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 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

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.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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.

Nail technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations occupational group earned on average from $13.55 to $21.03 an hour. The overall average wage was $16.88 an hour. For more information, see the Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations wage profile.

 

 

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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