Manicurist Job Description
Manicurists work exclusively on grooming and painting fingernails. Nail grooming includes cleaning and cutting both fingernails and cuticles. It’s not uncommon to specialize in many types of nail artistry, which can include nail repair, airbrushing, shellac, gel, rhinestones, and artificial nails. Typically, manicurists work in a spas or salons. It’s expected that manicurists stay current with the latest nail products, techniques, and trends. A successful manicurist is detail oriented, has strong customer service skills, and upholds safety and sanitary standards.
Manicurist Duties and Responsibilities
While the manicurist’s day-to-day responsibilities are determined by their employer, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on listings we analyzed, these duties are typically assigned to manicurists:
Provide Nail and Hand Services
Manicurists are expected to provide nail and hand services to customers on a daily basis. This can include basic or specialty manicures, hand massages, hot-oil therapy, nail repair, or nail wraps. It’s also customary for a manicurist to evaluate the condition of a customer’s nails in case they need to offer any advice on healthy care habits. When necessary, manicurists also remove old polish.
Maintain Safety and Sanitation
An important part of this role is the ability to identify any nail diseases or disorders and uphold any safety procedures and techniques when performing nail services. Manicurists are required to properly sterilize tools and work areas, including nail clippers, nail files, and specialized cuticle tools.
Manage Nail Care Products
Manicurists may be required to keep track of inventory and order supplies as needed. While this is usually a nail salon or spa owner’s responsibility, salon employees are sometimes expected to carry out this duty. They’re also expected to promote and sell nail care products to clients, such as polish and hand lotion.
Manicurist Skills and Qualifications
Manicurists should have a passion for helping others. They should also be energetic, dexterous, detail oriented, and creative. Employers prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Creativity – the ability to neatly finish small, intricate designs is important, as is a talent for suggesting nail designs that match a customer’s unique style
- Customer service – strong listening and interpersonal skills are important when working with clients. Additionally, meeting a client’s needs, including interacting with them while doing a manicure, can encourage customer loyalty
- Attention to detail – manicurists work in fast-paced environments, so they must work well and maintain attention to detail even when under pressure
- Dexterity – because manicurists use sharp tools and must achieve creative and precise nail designs for their clients, they need good finger dexterity
Tools of the Trade
Manicurists often use the following skills in their work:
- Nail tools (such as clippers, files, and cuticle tools)
- Nail polish
- Acrylic nails
Manicurist Education and Training
Most manicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program. Currently, there are hundreds of programs nationwide, and specific requirements vary by state. Previous work experience as a manicurist is strongly desired by most employers. Once licensed, manicurists may need to maintain their licensure. On-the-job training is offered by most employers.
Manicurist Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual wage for manicurists and pedicurists as $23,230 per year. As reported by the BLS, employment for manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 13 percent through 2026. The steady growth of nail salons and full-service spas, mobile services, and high turnover are major reasons for this growth projection.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in careers as manicurists. Review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news:
Manicurist (Nail Specialty License) – this book prepares prospective manicurists for their licensure test with practice exams. It provides hundreds of questions and answers in the areas that will likely be covered on an upcoming exam
Manicure, Pedicure and Advanced Nail Techniques – the ability to provide basic manicure and pedicure treatments is no longer sufficient to fulfill all of a client’s nail care needs. Today’s industry demands exacting skills and techniques from nail technicians, which this book explores in thorough detail
American Association of Cosmetology Schools – the AACS is a national nonprofit association that provides members with information about new techniques, current industry events, and the latest trends. AACS also offers seminars, conferences, and other networking opportunities
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