What does a Nail Specialist Do?

Mar 25, 2022

A nail technician or specialist is a highly skilled professional. Being a nail specialist is like being a manicurist, pedicurist, and cosmetologist all at once. They have expertise regarding fingernails, toenails, manicuring, pedicuring, cleaning and sanitizing their tools, and even keeping business records.


The term “nail specialist” can describe a few different groups of people. Some may do manicure or pedicure work exclusively, while others may work with a more generalized nail practice. Nail specialists have a lot of freedom regarding how they practice, too. They may work at a professional spa or salon or even be self-employed.

What is a Nail Specialist?

Nail specialists often perform uniquely high-quality nail services. This includes specialized techniques for cleaning and grooming nails and maintaining their health. On the aesthetics side of things, they may perform works of art using nail polish, gel, or varnish and can add glitter, hand-painted designs, beads, gems, and transfers to acrylic nails. No matter how detailed or outrageous a client’s design, the specialist is there to get it done and do it right.  


Specific daily tasks may include trimming, cleaning, buffing, and filing nails, cuticle removal, installing and repairing artificial nails, moisturizing the skin on a client’s hands and feet, dead skin removal, and more. Nail specialists are also generally able to identify signs of common nail and skin issues and understand how to handle them.

What’s it Like Working as a Nail Specialist?

If nail care and nail fashion trends are your passion, you should look into working as a nail specialist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 155,300 Americans worked as nail specialists in 2019. These skilled and creative beauty service workers made an average salary of $25,770 annually.


The average day of a nail specialist entails prep work, nail services, and frequent cleaning and sanitation. They commonly provide services like applying, fixing, or removing acrylic nails, hand and foot massages, nail care treatments, and creating artistic designs.


These specialists should be detail-oriented to ensure safety when providing their clients with top-notch nail services.  If they hope to be successful, a nail specialist should always maintain the highest standards regarding service quality. In the end, their job is to give people their desired nail treatments as safely as possible.


What do You Need to Become a Nail Specialist?

No matter how passionate you are, there is still a certain amount of education and training you must undergo before you can get licensed as a nail specialist. While specific requirements may vary from state to state, you’ll have to complete at least one nail specialist training program first.


In 49 out of 50 States (Connecticut being the exception), they must pass a state licensing exam if they want to be employed. You can find many helpful resources and a list of requirements by state by visiting the National Interstate Council of State Boards of cosmetology (mercifully shortened to NIC) website.


Specific requirements to become a nail specialist include the following:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • State license (excluding those who plan to practice in Connecticut)
  • Proof of skill and experience
  • Possession of any relevant techniques and knowledge
  • The ability to be patient and detail-oriented
  • Decent hand-eye coordination
  • Effective communication and customer service skills

Learn to be a Nail Specialist at Chattanooga College

Since 98% of the States in the US require you to get a license before being a nail specialist, it’s essential to make sure that you find a school that works for you and your lifestyle. When looking for a nail specialist course, you should consider the available course scheduling options and the price of said courses. 


The best nail school offers quality training, hands-on instruction, and enough study hours to ensure you’re comfortable with the material. On the other hand, requiring too many class hours can add unnecessary stress to your schedule and make you wait longer to graduate than you need to. You need a thorough beauty course that doesn’t make you put in extra hours and pay more tuition than necessary to impart the right skills. That’s why you should consider enrolling in a nail tech program at Chatanooga College

At Chattanooga College, we offer a variety of courses to students interested in pursuing a career in the beauty industry. Join us to learn about cosmetology, gain hairstyling expertise, and aesthetics, and become a skincare professional or nail tech. We have counselors available to speak with you about financial aid and finding a class schedule that works around your life instead of overtaking it.