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How to become a nail technician

Are you wondering how to become a nail technician in the UK? Look no further. It is the perfect time to start a new career as a nail technician as the interest for all things manicures, pedicures a...

How to become a nail technician

Are you wondering how to become a nail technician in the UK? Look no further.

It is the perfect time to start a new career as a nail technician as the interest for all things manicures, pedicures and nail art booms. Nail salons were in the top three retail categories receiving the highest growth in 2020, with the pandemic now easing, people are looking to go out more and treat themselves to the luxuries they didn’t have access to during the pandemic.  

In this blog, we will discuss what a nail technician is and how to become a nail technician, covering all the relevant skills needed and courses available.

What is a nail technician?

A nail technician is a beauty specialist who is responsible for grooming and maintaining a client’s fingernails and toenails. 

Nail technicians are trained to trim and remove cuticles, moisturize the skin of hands and feet, remove dead skin and treat the nails of clients by enhancing their natural nails or adding acrylic nails or gel nails. 

As a nail technician, you can expect your day-to-day tasks to include but not be limited to:

  • Perform manicures and pedicures
  • Clean and file nails
  • Remove previously applied polish
  • Apply false nails or extensions
  • Apply gel nails varnish
  • Apply coloured nail varnish
  • Create unique nail art designs
  • Apply jewels or diamantes
  • Offer hand and foot massages
  • Repair, maintain and remove false nails and extensions
  • Store equipment safely and hygienically 
  • Clean and sterilise equipment before and after use
  • Advise the client of any aftercare tips
  • Maintain a good relationship with clients

Your exact day-to-day responsibilities as a nail technician will depend on your experience, skills, qualifications and where you work. 

Qualifications to become a nail technician

There are a number of routes to becoming a nail technician from college courses, apprenticeships to learning on the job. It is worth noting, regardless of your route into the nail industry, you will need to have gained professional nail technician qualifications in order to perform your services on clients safely.

Whilst it is not compulsory to have qualifications to become a nail technician, having relevant qualifications is desirable; representing your commitment and passion as well as helping you stand out against other candidates. Having nail technician qualifications will improve your chances of employment, demonstrate your skills and increase your reputation.

Nail Technician Qualifications include:

  • Level 2 and 3 courses in nail technology or level 1 or 2 courses in nail treatments, these can be college courses.
  • Nail technician apprenticeships are also available, these are typically 12 months long and have a combination of on the job learning and off-the-job studying.
  • Qualifications can also be undertaken through distance learning, although in-person training can be advantageous for learning techniques and practising.
  • Depending on what you want to specialise in, there are different qualifications for different specialities including acrylics, gels and nail art. Level 2 college courses are available providing level 2 awards in nail art.

Typically to gain entry to these courses you need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D)or equivalent for a level 2 course. For a level 3 course, you need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent.

For entry into nail technician intermediate apprenticeship courses you typically need GCSEs in English and Maths, or equivalent.

Alongside the technical artistry required in being a nail technician, technicians must also be knowledgeable in health and safety; COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health), as well as product chemistry, customer care, marketing to find more customers and accounting to manage all finances effectively.

To increase your chances of employment and widening your pool of clients, you should look to adopt more skills and specialisms as a nail technician. You don’t need to specialise in every area of nail technology and nail art, but it is recommended to choose some additional specialisms. 

Specialist Nail Technician Qualifications include:

Desirable skills as a nail technician

Becoming a nail technician is a skillful job and there are many desirable skills including:

Multi-tasking, whilst providing nail treatment clients will want to build up their relationship with you and chat to you about their plans, love life, job, etc. Consequently, it is important that you can multi-task whilst you complete treatments.

Precision and creativity, being precise with a steady hand will help increase client satisfaction as it means you can deliver on what they ask for. Some clients may come to you with a specific picture of what they want their nails to look like, whereas others may have no idea and need your creative flare to spark an idea.

Dedication and commitment, it is important you love your job and have the drive to go to work with clients and the dedication to work on improving your nail talent.
Practice and patience, becoming a good nail technician takes a lot of practice to perfect your skills. Patience is essential with this and you must have faith in your journey.

Social skills and a good memory, this is important to build customer connections and loyalty. If a customer comes back and you don’t remember their name it will reflect badly on you, but if you ask your client for instance how their daughters’ drama performance went then they will know you appreciate them and will keep on coming back for more.

Trendy, staying on top of the most recent trends on Instagram and TikTok can help you stay relevant and stand out to your clients.

Excellent customer service skills, it is important you can build and maintain a good rapport with your clients through customer service as this is what will enable you to grow and maintain your pool of clients.

Good verbal communication skills, your clients will be spending anywhere from 30 minutes+ with you at a time, it is important that you can easily communicate with them about the service as well as non work-related topics.

Attention to detail, grooming nails is an art and takes attention to detail to do a thorough quality job. Your reputation will depend on the quality and standard of your work. 

Hygiene practice is essential in this industry and particularly so of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Insurance for nail technicians

Insurance is central to the success of your nail technician business if a claim is made against you. Claims can cost up to £150,000 and if you are not prepared this can mean the end of your business and perhaps worse.
We offer various insurance packages to ensure your nail business is appropriately protected.

Our nail technician insurance covers:

Treatment liability: Providing you are fully qualified and adhere to the terms and conditions in the policy wording, the treatment you carry out is covered if injury occurs to your client or they have a reaction to the treatment.

Public liability: This insurance covers your client in the event of an injury occurring within the client’s home or third-party premises. It also covers the client’s property if an item becomes damaged during a visit e.g. something spilt on a handbag for instance.

Product liability: The insurance covers you in the event that you sell products to clients which you’ve used or recommended during their treatment and that product turns out to be faulty or cause a reaction.

Our nail technician insurance self-employed individuals starts from as little as £39.50, whilst our nail salon insurance starts from as little as £157.08 per year.

Find out more about our nail technician insurance or get in touch to speak to a member of our team today.