How To Become A Nail Technician Without Going To School? - NailRock (2023)

Are you thinking of pursuing your dream of styling nails? Then you have to think no further. Now you can achieve anything easily with the help of the internet. You can even master the art of nail care online from your home.

We all are bound in our homes because of the pandemic. So why not take this opportunity and become a nail technician?

So, how to become a nail technician without going to school?

There are several options for you to be a nail technician without going to school. Many beauty schools offer online nail care programs. This will help you to get a nail tech certificate. If you want a license, however, there are some boards that take online exams. Besides, apprenticeship and self-learning can also help you learn a lot about nail care.

These are some ways you can become a nail technician without going to school. However, there are some things to keep in mind about this new journey. Read along to find out.

Let’s dive in-

Do You Need A License/Certification For Becoming A Nail Technician?

Yes, of course, you need a license or certificate to become a professional nail technician. Without a certificate, you might not be able to practice your skills in a salon or elsewhere.

In case you’re someone suffering from nail file phobia, let’s stop you right there. This isn’t the career path for you. Unless you can overcome your fear.

To become a professional in the field, you need to have a license. You might get a certificate for your training, but that still does not allow you to practice. That’s why you’ll have to apply for one. They’ll conduct a licensure exam which you’ll have to pass. You can practice once you get the license and the certificate.

How To Become A Nail Technician Without Going To School? - NailRock (1)

There are some requirements for applying for the certificate and the license. So let us take a look at the requirements for becoming a nail technician-

As the first step, you need to complete your nail technician certification. You can do that from any cosmetology school or simply complete a nail tech program.

In some states, you don’t even need to be a high school graduate for applying to these programs. Anyone above 16 years will be able to apply for nail tech certification. The certification is considered as the high school equivalent diploma.

After the certification, you need to apply for licensure. And for that, a certain amount of training hours should be completed. These requirements differ among different states. These requirements are set by the state board of cosmetology or health.

They govern the whole process of licensure. So before applying you might have to check the state licensure requirements.

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The training hour varies by the state you live in. And they can be anywhere between 200-750 working hours. The required training hour may get updated so you’ll need to keep an eye out. Here’s a list of the training hours required for the license exam-


Required Training Hours


200 hours


200 hours

New York

250 hours


350 hours


350 hours


400 hours


600 hours


600 hours


750 hours

These are some of the requirements of the state for the licensure exam. So for most states, you’ve to complete working hours for attending the exam.

If you want the license, however, you need to pass the exam. The exam is conducted in two segments: written and practical.

The written segment covers topics such as health and safety, nail technology, and nail care. One may be expected to administer a manicure, apply vinylux or gel, and perform other treatments during the practical. Passing this exam will get you the license for practicing nail therapy.

Once you get the license, you’ll be able to practice your skills professionally.

In some states, it’s illegal to perform nail treatment without a license. But if you want to only learn the technical aspects of nail care for yourself, there are no issues to worry about. You don’t need a certificate or a license to do your own nails at home.

One thing you should know, your license needs to be renewed after every two years or so. For renewing your license, you need to take up continuing education classes. Along with that, you need to pay a little fine.

Speaking of renewal, a nail technician can also continue studying after receiving the license. They can take their careers to the next level by going on to become cosmetologists or estheticians.

Can You Get Your Nail Tech License Without Going To School?

Yes, you can! You can get a nail technician license without going to school! How? Well, thank the internet. There are many ways to become a professional nail technician online!

Many renowned cosmetology schools offer online courses. Through which you’ll be able to learn and gain experience. Due to the pandemic, many people are pursuing their careers online. So, you can enroll yourself in one of these courses and earn your certificate.

How To Become A Nail Technician Without Going To School? - NailRock (2)

However, before enrolling in the course, check the validity of the institution/organization offering them.

Now, let us know the methods of being a nail tech without going to school-

How To Get A Nail Tech License Without Going To School?

With the internet on our hands, there are a million ways to achieve our goals. Now you can achieve almost anything from the internet. Even being a professional and certified nail technician. Becoming a nail technician at home is easier than ever.

With the Covid pandemic going on, we have enough time and opportunities on our hands. We can utilize this time and get a license. Right at home!

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Here are some of the ways you can become a nail technician by not going to school-

Online Courses

Like we mentioned before, many schools are now offering their nail technician courses online. This is the best opportunity for a nail art enthusiast. You will get knowledge and experience from renowned colleges right from the comfort of your home.

Besides schools, there are some other organizations that are offering good courses online. Are there any better ways to get the certificate you always wished for? You need to simply enroll yourself in one of the courses. But before you do that make sure you check the organization and its authenticity.

Just like any cosmetology course, you might need 4 months or a whole college term to complete an online course. However, some full-year or 8-months courses are also available.

But you’ll be learning a lot in the process. Here are some of the topics you’ll learn in your online course-

  • Hygiene
  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • Histology of Hands and Nails
  • Artificial Nails
  • Customer Relations

After you learn all these you’ll be presented with a certificate.

Nail Technician Online License Exam

Due to the global pandemic, all the schools are forced to take their academics online. Not only that, the students are now attending the exams online.

Similarly, you have the option to attend the licensure exam online. At least, the written part. The practical part can be demonstrated online or in the exam center. However, the exam regulations vary from state to state so you’ll need to figure that out beforehand.

How To Become A Nail Technician Without Going To School? - NailRock (3)

Really, becoming a nail technician couldn’t be any easier!


Another way to get a license as a nail technician is to become an apprenticeship student of any university. In this case, you train yourself under a supervisor who would report back to the board. This process also requires a training period that varies from state to state. The training period could be somewhere between 600-1200 hours.

An apprentice needs to do a lot of hard work. All your daily, monthly, and an accumulated total of earned apprentice hours will be reported by your supervisor. After the designated hours are fulfilled, the board will analyze your total report. You’ll get approval for your written licensure exam.


If you don’t want a certificate or a license, this method will be useful. You might only want to learn about nail care. There are many alternatives paths you could choose apart from being a nail tech.

So how should you proceed?

That’s right, learn it yourself. There are endless resources about nail art and nail care online. You can even watch tutorials on youtube and practice them at home.

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You can also enroll in one of the online courses and learn about nail treatments in detail. Or take help from any professional that you know. That way you’ll learn about nail art and care right from your home!

After all that studying, you can practice on yourself and your friends. For that, we suggest getting some beginner tools to help you on your journey.

Get your tools now and you can soon start working. There’s no stopping you from becoming a nail technician without going to school.

What If You Fail To Get A License?

We don’t mean to scare you! As 50% of the students fail the written exam, we just wanted to help you out. What happens when you fail the exam? Is it the end?

No, it’s not the end. You can always apply again for the licensure exam. There is no limit, you can take as many tests as you want. As long as you attend the written and practical exam in the same year. And give it your best shot.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is doing nails at home illegal?

Of course it’s not. There is no law that states doing nails at home would require any qualification or certification. So you can easily do your nails without any worrying. However, if you want to practice nail care then you need a license.

Can you be a self-taught nail technician?

Yes you can. There are many options for you to become a self-taught nail technician. You can follow video tutorials and study nail treatment online. And practice your skills whenever you have time.

What does a beginner nail tech need?

There are a few nail technician starter options. You can include nail file kits, cuticle exfoliators, reusable nail forms, diamond nail files, a sable brush, towelettes, toe separators, cuticle oil, etc.

Signing Off

Now you know how to become a nail technician without going to school. So what are you waiting for? Go, fulfill your dream and become the best nail technician you can be.

Let us know in the comments if our suggestions were helpful for you.

Good luck on your new journey!


Can you become a nail technician without qualifications? ›

Although nail technicians don't necessarily need formal qualifications, at least some basic form of training or experience with nail treatments is needed and you will need to obtain professional insurance in order to legally carry out nail services to clients.

Can you be a self taught nail tech? ›

So, while you could in theory be a self-taught nail technician, it is not recommended. A proper nail course will cover all the essential elements you will need to know, from properly applying nail enhancements to a high standard, to hygiene, health and safety and client care.

How can I get nail qualification? ›

To become a fully qualified nail technician you have to gain a recognised qualification like VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology. Having this qualification will guarantee you employment whether it is in a salon or as a freelance nail technician as it is fully insurable and recognised by the UK government.

How long does it take to train as a nail technician? ›

In just 10 weeks, you can become a fully-qualified nail technician, able to do an array of nail treatments and designs. Nail technicians can work independently or in beauty salons, nail bars, hotels, spas, and cruise ships.

How do I start being a nail tech? ›

Steps to Become a Nail Technician
  1. Apply to a nail technician program. Applicants will typically need to be at least 16 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED. ...
  2. Complete a nail technician program. ...
  3. Pass the required exam and obtain licensure.

How do I become a licensed nail technician? ›

What is a nail technician license?
  1. Be 16 years old or older.
  2. Have completed a GED or high school diploma.
  3. Graduated from a state-approved nail technician or cosmetology program.
  4. Met your state's requirements for practicum experience.
  5. Passed your state's licensure exam (if required)
16 Nov 2021

Is being a nail tech worth it? ›

In addition to a growing number of nail tech positions, there are plenty of other reasons why being a manicurist and pedicurist is so great. One of them is a steady income. It's important to remember that nail specialists have unlimited income potential, depending on how much they're willing to work.

Can you make a living off of being a nail tech? ›

Professional nail care services can be a lucrative business. If you're looking to maximize revenue for your nail business, you've come to the right spot! We've put together eight ways to make more money as a nail tech, so you can start earning more and growing your business.

How long is an acrylic nail course? ›

Course structure

This course is structured over one day and runs from 10am – 4pm. We ask students to arrive at 9.45am to ensure a prompt start. You will learn the theory of the treatment firstly, and spend the majority of the day practising your practical skills, with a short break for lunch.

What is Level 3 nail technician? ›

The Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Nail Technology (450) covers a very wide range of skills and knowledge required for working in the nail technology industry. These are compulsory areas: Promote and sell products and services to clients. Enhance and maintain nails using light cured gel, including hard gels.

How much does a nail tech make? ›

As of Nov 7, 2022, the average hourly pay for a NAIL Technician in the United States is $17.99 an hour.

How long do beginner nail techs take? ›

Most nail technician programs take an average of 300 to 600 hours to complete. Program start times and lengths vary, but you can typically complete a nail tech program between three to nine months depending on your ability to attend school part- or full-time.

How much money do nail techs make a month? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $5,417 and as low as $1,292, the majority of NAIL Technician salaries currently range between $2,125 (25th percentile) to $3,458 (75th percentile) across the United States.

What insurance do I need as a NAIL Technician? ›

All technicians need public and products liability insurance. This type of insurance is inexpensive and will protect you from most situations involving products, whether as a result of an accident or an allergic reaction, for example.

How much do independent nail techs make? ›

As of Nov 7, 2022, the average annual pay for a Self Employed Nail Technician in the United States is $59,952 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $28.82 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,152/week or $4,996/month.

Is nail technician hard? ›

You can have a long, fulfilling, creative career in a nail salon, but there is some hard work and effort required to get there. It's important that you're dedicated to this area of expertise, and that you can fulfil the requirements needed to get your career going.

How do beginner nail techs get clients? ›

Top Tips: Attracting New Clients
  1. Define yourself. You want to make your services personal, not just a standard manicure from just another nail salon. ...
  2. Entice new clients with competitive prices. ...
  3. Use Instagram. ...
  4. Try Facebook advertising. ...
  5. Once you have a couple clients, focus on referrals!
31 Mar 2016

How much does beauty school cost? ›

According to a study carried by Carenic Professional Hairdressing and Beauty College in 2020, the total cost of pursuing a full cosmetology course range between Kshs. 6,000 and Kshs. 15,000 per month, on average.

Is it worth owning a nail salon? ›

The nail salon business can be a very profitable business if they rent out space to the nail technicians and can make some good profits each month. For instance, the average profits which the nail business would make in a year are $40,000, which is a great investment.

What color nails are professional? ›

Pearly pink marks you as a professional

Light pink is the ultimate neutral of the nail polish world. The colour is perfect for any office environment, season, or occasion, and always looks clean and appropriate. Wearing a pearly shade indicates that you value professionalism and always strive to look put together.

Is opening a nail salon worth it? ›

Opening a nail salon has a high earning potential & requires minimal initial costs. If you pay adequate attention to management & culture and take small strategic steps to maintain your position in the market, being a successful nail salon owner is not far down the road!

Is $5 a good tip for a nail tech? ›

To avoid making etiquette mistakes, our experts offer some additional tips for tipping at nail salons: Try not to tip less than $5. If you're only getting a nail polish color swap for $20, consider rounding up the tip to $5.

Where do nail techs get paid the most? ›

Detailed List Of Nail Technician Salaries By State
RankStateAdjusted Salary
41 more rows
11 Apr 2022

What is a nail tech called? ›

"Manicurist" is sometimes used interchangeably with "nail technician." Like nail technicians, manicurists are licensed professionals. Most states reuire nail technicians to pass an exam and complete a training program, 'apprenticeship, or both. 4.

What are the disadvantages of being a nail technician? ›

Hazards of Being a Nail Technician
  • Nail Technician Health Risks Pivot on Chemicals. ...
  • Chemicals Also Irritate Skin. ...
  • Blood Transmission Poses Risk. ...
  • Fungal Infections Can Spread. ...
  • Muscle Strains Loom Large. ...
  • Broken Skin Bears Vigilance.

How can a nail tech make 6 figures? ›

9 Ways to Boost Your Revenue as a Nail Tech
  1. Limit your service list. There's a common misconception that offering a variety of services increases your money-earning potential. ...
  2. Make clients book themselves. ...
  3. Don't explain price increases. ...
  4. Use less product. ...
  5. Get a side gig. ...
  6. Study something else. ...
  7. Go easy on the upsell.
21 Feb 2018

Do nail techs only make tips? ›

While some nail technicians make an hourly wage while working at a salon, others take home commission-based pay, like Dantzler. And that means when you pay your final bill, the nail technician is only taking home the agreed-upon percentage of that total.

How long is a online nail course? ›

Course Duration

The online Nail Technician course requires 60 hours to complete the course in full. This is only a guide to the learning hours required and it depends on how quickly an individual can absorb the information. The learning is online so it can be spread out over multiple sessions or done in one session.

How long does it take to become good at nails? ›

So, how long does it take to become a nail tech? Nail Tech programs generally run between 3 and 9 months, and you'll need to take between 300 and 600 hours of training. But the simple answer is that there is no set time-frame when it comes to training as a nail technician.

Is learning to do acrylic nails hard? ›

Acrylic nails are not an easy DIY for amateurs and require some professional experience and training. Here are a few reasons why: · Dealing with Chemicals: Specialist courses are designed to help you learn how to safely use the chemicals that are needed for complex manicures, including extensions and tips.

How do I become a nail tech interview? ›

General interview questions
  1. Tell me about your nail technician experience and training.
  2. Do you have your nail technician license?
  3. How would you describe yourself ?
  4. What do you know about this position?
  5. Why do you want to work with us?
  6. Which services do you find the most and least enjoyable to perform?
6 May 2022

Are nail techs in high demand? ›

Job Outlook

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

What is a Level 2 nail technician? ›

The VTCT Level 2 Certificate in Nail Technology course is a vocational qualification that will prepare you for employment in the nail industry. You will gain the skills, understanding and knowledge required to perform professional manicures, nail overlay treatments including acrylics/UV gel applications and nail art.

Do estheticians or nail techs make more money? ›

According to the NACCAS survey, estheticians earned an average salary of $40,126, while nail technicians reported an average salary of $33,148.

How much do the highest paid nail techs make? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $65,000 and as low as $15,500, the majority of NAIL Technician salaries currently range between $25,500 (25th percentile) to $41,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $54,000 annually across the United States.

What nationality are most nail technicians? ›

The most common ethnicity among nail technicians is Asian, which makes up 50.3% of all nail technicians. Comparatively, there are 35.1% of the White ethnicity and 10.1% of the Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Can I learn how do you do nails at home? ›

You can learn to do acrylic nails at home. You will, however, need to have the right supplies and follow the correct techniques in order for your acrylics to adhere properly and provide long-lasting wear. Applying acrylics at home is simple in theory.

How much do ultrasound techs make? ›

According to Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) May 2021 data, ultrasound technicians earn a median salary of $75,380, which amounts to $36.24 per hour. The lowest 10% of technicians earn an average of $59,640, while the top 10% earn $101,650 or more.

How much do cosmologists make? ›

An entry level cosmologist (1-3 years of experience) earns an average salary of ₹8,75,005. On the other end, a senior level cosmologist (8+ years of experience) earns an average salary of ₹15,31,259.

What do nail technicians do? ›

Nail technicians offer a range of cosmetic treatments for clients' nails. This includes applying, repairing and removing artificial nails (nail technology) and decorating them (nail art).

Can you do nails without a qualification? ›

Although nail technicians don't necessarily need formal qualifications, at least some basic form of training or experience with nail treatments is needed and you will need to obtain professional insurance in order to legally carry out nail services to clients.

How do you work out what you need to charge for nail services? ›

Calculate All Costs

Little things like your daily commute, the electricity bill, the cost of equipment, maintenance cost, training your employees, the length of the nails, and the artistry that your client wants are just some of the factors that should be taken into account.

Do you need insurance to do peoples nails? ›

Whether you're a nail technician who operates as a sole trader or you're a mobile operator, you will need insurance to cover such unexpected losses. Nail technician insurance covers many of the risks that standard business insurance covers.

Do you need qualifications to do nails UK? ›

While you do not need any formal qualifications to be a nail tech in the UK, you will need to take courses or organise an apprenticeship in order to learn the trade. Once you have learned the ins and outs of nail care, you need to choose whether you want to be self-employed or find a job in an existing nail studio.

Is it hard to be a nail technician? ›

A nail technician can be a fun and creative job but don't forget that you need to be incredibly disciplined to make yourself stand out and accomplish your goals. To achieve and to stay on top of the game, a nail technician must constantly refresh their skills in all these avenues regularly, including revisiting basics.

Can doing nails be a career? ›

Nail Technicians Are in Demand. Did you know that manicurist and pedicurist jobs are growing? These types of jobs are expected to grow in the years 2019 to 2029 by 19%. In comparison, the average of all jobs in the United States are expected to grow by 4%.

How do I start my own nail salon at home? ›

How to Start an In-Home Nail Business
  1. What's the Industry Like? Start by researching the local market. ...
  2. Get Educated. ...
  3. Obtain Licenses and Permits. ...
  4. Make a Business Plan. ...
  5. Invest in Quality Products. ...
  6. Buy the Right Insurance. ...
  7. Promote Your Business.
21 Nov 2018

Are nail techs happy? ›

A solid majority of nail technicians enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a nail technician.


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