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Manicurist vs Nail Technician: What is the Difference?

By Remington College Posted November 7, 2017

Do you have creative flair, love keeping up with fashion trends, and enjoy working with people? Can you work with your hands to complete tiny artistic designs?

Perhaps you are already considering becoming a manicurist or a nail technician - both of which are roles where you might help your clients to feel more beautiful and express their own creativity through your artistry and skills.

Becoming a nail technician or manicurist may be the rewarding opportunity you are seeking. 'According to a survey by Nails Magazine, most nail technicians listed meeting new people, helping others, and using their creativity as favorite parts of their work.1

What is a Nail Technician?

Nail technicians beautify clients' hands and feet through cosmetic treatments. Their duties include:

According to the BLS, the 2014 median wage for manicurists and pedicurists was around $9.40 per hour nationwide. Nail technicians may work full-time or flexible part-time shifts.3

What is a Manicurist?

"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

Manicurist may perform 'a wide variety of hand and feet grooming procedures. For example, he or she may perform hand, feet, and lower leg massages and may use 'gels, acrylics, applying extensions, tips, and wraps.5

According to the most recent government statistics from 2014, the top 10% of manicurists earned more than $15.00 per hour.6

Many manicurists own their own salons. These manicurists must also manage a business.7'Their income is based on their ability to manage the salon profitably.

How to Become a Manicurist

To become a manicurist, you must begin by earning a nail technician's license. This can be done through a state approved cosmetology or nail technician training program and is followed by an exam in most states.8

Nail Technician Training

A training program may be a quick path to this career, and you have hundreds of nail technician programs to choose from nationwide. Your coursework would likely include hygiene, public health awareness, safety, sterilization procedures, nail care, nail design, artistry, and more.8

If that appeals to you, check out the programs and requirements for becoming a nail technician in your state and get started!

Please keep in mind employment and income cannot be guaranteed by any educational institution for students or graduates. Additionally, salary data cited in this article is based on median data provided by the United States Department of Labor, does not reflect starting or entry level salaries, and can vary widely based on geographic location.