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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: Manicurists and Pedicurists (6482.4) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Estheticians, Electrologists and Related Occupations (G922) 
  • 2011 NOC: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations (6562) 
  • 2016 NOC: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations (6562) 
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

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

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

Abilities

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

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
  • 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.

Traits & Skills
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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations
NOC code: 6562

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Apr 13, 2022 and May 27, 2022.

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.
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Clean, trim and polish nails
Provide gel and acrylic nail extensions
Nail art technics
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Manicures
Personal Suitability: Organized
Pedicures
Schedule and confirm appointments
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • 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.

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

Bella Elite Beauty & Barber Academy Ltd.

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

NIWE Academy Inc.

Rosewood College

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, 2018
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

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 6562: Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 134 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
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: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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).

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
$22.35
Per Hour
Average Salary
$36,492.00
Per Year
Average Hours
31.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.9
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


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 $15.00 $43.75 $17.49 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $87.50 $22.35 $17.00
Top $16.39 $111.00 $28.72 $20.19

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)
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

61%
61%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

52%
52%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

20%
20%

Vacancy Rate

4%
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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