Step Up Your Game: How Much Do Nail Techs Make?

You might have considered being a nail tech if you’re into the beauty field and want to make a living from it. While it seems like quite a “cool” job, what’s the position really about? How much do nail techs make? And what are the requirements for becoming one? Jobandedu will answer all of those questions in today’s post. We also reveal 5 essential tips to boost your salary in the field!

What Is Nail Tech?

Nail technicians, also known as nail techs, are experts at maintaining the appearance of clients’ fingernails and toenails. Manicure and pedicure services include trimming and shaping the nails, removing old polish, massaging the nail beds, and applying new polish.

Nail technicians also need an artistic flair since many customers prefer customized nail designs or accessories. Manicurist is another term for a nail tech; however, the term has fallen out of use because most manicurists also provide pedicures, which can lead to misunderstanding.

Keeping a sanitary environment is also important for nail technicians since this helps to protect their customers from the spread of disease. They need to sanitize their workspaces after each client, clean their equipment thoroughly, and follow all local regulations on nail salon hygiene.
Nail techs usually take care of customers’ nails. – American Beauty College 

Keeping a sanitary environment is also crucial for nail technicians since this helps to protect their customers from the spread of disease. They need to sanitize their workspaces after each client, clean their equipment thoroughly, and follow all local regulations on nail salon hygiene.

How Much Do Nail Techs Make? 

US nail technicians can expect a median hourly wage of $18.04 as of the 15th of November, 2022. 

ZipRecruiter reports hourly salaries for nail technicians ranging from $31.25 (top 25%) to $7.45 (bottom 25%), with most falling within the $12.50 (bottom 25%) to $19.95 (top 25%) range.

There is considerable room for growth and progress in a nail technician’s salary, as the gap is wide (up to $7.45). This may be due to factors such as one’s level of expertise, one’s geographic location, and one’s number of years in the field.

Requirements For Being A Nail Tech

Working as a nail technician calls for a specific list of skills and graduation from a specialized post-secondary training program. Numerous universities and technical institutes provide training for a career in the nail industry.

Every state imposes its own training and licensing requisites, so wannabe technicians should research the specifics of their intended job location before enrolling in a program (yes, online nail tech courses qualify). The minimum age for enrollment in most courses is 16, and candidates must have either a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or a high school graduation certificate.

You will master the fundamentals of the nail industry, such as how to clean old polish, reapply new polish, treat nails and cuticles, and execute spa treatments regarding clients' hands and feet, as well as the aesthetics and design principles of nail arts, in a nail technician training course.
A good nail tech school will offer you comprehensive knowledge to start your career. – Trade Schools Near You

You will master the fundamentals of the nail industry, such as how to clean old polish, reapply new polish, treat nails and cuticles, and execute spa treatments regarding clients’ hands and feet, as well as the aesthetics and design principles of nail arts, in a nail technician training course.

Manicure, pedicure, acrylic, and gel application techniques may also be covered in the curriculum. When you have finished your coursework, you can sit for the state licensure examination. The minimum amount of training time differs by both curriculum and jurisdiction.

A nail tech’s training doesn’t end with earning their license; they also need to hone specific skills. They have to be capable of communicating to customers clearly so they can learn about their wants and requirements and address any issues they may have about their nails.

Technicians at nail salons must be artistic and capable of developing new designs for their client’s nails on the go (a few online art classes might help). They must also possess excellent interpersonal skills as they interact with customers and coworkers during their shifts.

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities For Nail Technician Jobs

We’ve found 10 large cities where nail technicians earn an average wage that’s higher than the overall:

City Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Atkinson, NE $49,657 $23.87
Dimondale, MI $45,634 $21.94
Cambridge, MA $44,086 $21.20
Lake Marcel-Stillwater, WA $43,365 $20.85
New York City, NY $42,993 $20.67
Bridgehampton, NY $42,732 $20.54
Bellerose, NY $42,425 $20.40
Hawi, HI $41,903 $20.15
Anchorage, AK $41,517 $19.96
Riverside, CA $41,399 $19.90

Taking the lead is Atkinson, with Dimondale and Cambridge being in the 2nd and 3rd ranks. Atkinson is $12,125 (32.3%) over the nationwide median of $37,532, while Cambridge is ahead of the curve by $6,554 (17.5%).

Since the average annual salary in these 10 areas is greater than the national median, relocating to one of these places as a nail technician seems to offer excellent career prospects.
Atkinson leads the top with $49,657 annually. – Groupon 

Since the average annual salary in these 10 areas is greater than the national median, relocating to one of these places as a nail technician offers excellent career prospects.

However, it is also important to note that there is only an 18% difference in average earnings between Atkinson and Riverside (two of the top 10 places in the nation). You might also weigh the location and pay rate for nail technicians against the likelihood of a lower living expense.

5 Tips For Increasing Salary As A Nail Tech

If the figures above aren’t satisfying enough, you can try boosting your earnings as a nail tech by implementing these 5 strategies.

Gain More Experience

Novice nail technicians typically make less per hour than their more seasoned counterparts, although this can change as they gain expertise in the field. You can earn a steady income when you possess regular customers who keep returning for nail services and therapies.

Keep honing your abilities so that you can always offer your clients nail arts and ideas that are in line with the most current trends. Spread the word about your talents by posting pictures of your work on social media.

Consider A New Location

The pay rate of a nail technician may be better in big corporations than in small, independent shops. Alternatively, you could seek employment with a hotel, or other hospitality establishments, where clients pay a premium for services and techs typically earn higher cash tips.

Consider A New Location
A new location might help increase your income. – International Open Academy

If you’re looking to improve your starting salary, a job in the hospitality industry may be a good option. Nail technician jobs may be open in establishments such as hair salons and retail stores.

Open Your Own Salon

Another option is to launch a startup (start one’s own beauty parlor, for example), which may be very profitable if you possess the necessary business expertise and understanding. 

People who have been in business for a while and have established tight relationships with regular customers are the most likely to succeed in this endeavor, as those customers will follow them to the new spot.

Some fixed expenses involve running a beauty parlor, such as rent or a lease, and material costs. The earnings of a beauty parlor can be pretty high if it maintains a loyal clientele and a steady stream of clients.

Consider Becoming An Esthetician

Most nail techs who want to make more money in the long run aim to become estheticians, which requires additional training. As a subfield of cosmetology, esthetics focuses on improving one’s outward appearance, including hair, skin, and nails.

Consider Becoming An Esthetician
Being an esthetician is also a wise move. – Open Study College

Even though not all estheticians work in the nail industry, individuals who have completed training in the field have the knowledge and experience to provide excellent nail treatments. 

If you’re already offering service providers like manicures and pedicures but want to provide more to your customers and earn more, learning to be an esthetician is a brilliant idea.

Upsell Customers

Because most people who visit a beauty salon will leave a tip equal to a percentage of the total price of their service, upselling clients to get various services at once can increase your chances of receiving more cash tips.

If you have time while your client is having a manicure, suggest that they also take a pedicure. You might offer extras like wax dipping for a manicure or pedicure or branch out into providing additional cosmetic procedures like waxing or extended massaging sessions.


How Much Do Nail Techs Make A Year?

Salary data collected by ZipRecruiter shows that self-employed professionals in the US can make anywhere from $14,500 to $146,500 per year. The median salary is around $30,000.

Do Nail Techs Make Good Money? 

Nail technicians do not have a profitable career, unfortunately.

According to the 2021 BLS report on nail technicians’ wages, average nail technicians in the United States earn $14.05 per hour or $29,210 annually. The highest-earning 10% of nail technicians make $38,820 annually or $18.67 hourly.

Wrapping Up 

How much do nail techs make? Although not much, there are still chances for you to get ahead and make a better income. With the right location, lots of experience, a business mind, and some upsell skills, you can come closer to your desired figures in no time.

For more content like this, refer to our Career Advice category

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