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How To Get Nail Tech License In California

Nail Tech Schools In The State Of California

How to Become a Nail Technician (Manicurist) in 2020!

Have you decided that its time to start a new career? Becoming a nail technician can be a great start in the state of California. High tourism in the state ensures that demand remains high as travelers look for a little pampering while on vacation.

In addition, Hollywood is chock full of people who have to look their best while on screen. From movie stars to commercial actors, there is always a need for skilled technicians who can ensure that hands for both men and women always look well-manicured and professional.

Before you start, however, you must obtain a license to practice your art from the state licensing authority. This means that you will have to complete the specified hours of training and then pass the state exam. This article will show you what you need to get your nail technician license from California and explain what curriculum you are likely to cover.

In addition, well tell you about some of the better schools in the state so you can get a better feel for what nail technician schools in California have to offer.

What To Expect From A Nail Technician Program In California

Time to complete a Nail Technician program in California

A California nail technician programalso called a manicurist or pedicurist training programmust provide at least 400 hours of technical instruction and practical training.

Technical instruction in a nail technician training program includes demonstrations, lectures, class participation, and exams. Nail technician training programs are divided into the following subjects:

  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Disinfection and sanitation
  • Bacteriology, anatomy, and physiology

Check the accreditation of a training program before enrolling. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology offers a list of approved schools.

Esthetician Salaries In California

No one would be surprised to learn that the greater LA area, and California as a whole, are home to more estheticians and more opportunities in the field of professional skincare than anywhere else in the country. Right now, 1,140 new jobs get filled annually just to keep up with the growing demand of esthetics services, and theres no signs of slowing. Top vacation spots like Napa and Santa Cruz remain some of the highest-paying cities in the state, if not the country. There are jobs opening up everywhere in California, but anybody who is in a position to relocate for the best opportunities at resort spas, medi-spas in ritzy neighborhoods, or even in film production, are going to have a real competitive edge.

Lots of opportunities doesnt mean that the best jobs arent also competitive. When youre looking at launching a career in a large and expansive job market with high-paying positions, youre still going to need to set yourself apart from the pack.

Of course experience, product knowledge and technical mastery of the latest treatments are all great ways to increase your marketability and attract clients, but before you can build a reputation based on word of mouth youre going to need to get your name out there. Self-promotion through social media and other channels can go a long way in getting yourself noticed.

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Taking Your Time To Train

A post shared by The Salon Professional Academy on Nov 1, 2019 at 1:44pm PDT

If you have other commitments to consider, you may struggle to go to school full-time. But dont worry! Many schools offer part-time options and even night school for trainee nail techs.

Studying part-time is ideal for students looking to make a career change as they allow you to keep your existing job whilst you train. Some even offer part of the program online. Though do bear in mind that you will need to complete practical hours in person in order to qualify.

So, how long does it take to qualify part-time?

Again, this depends heavily on the school and program you choose to enroll onto. However, most part-time courses are completed in 6-9 months.

If You Want To Get Your License Quickly

California Nail Technician License Exam

If you dont have other commitments, like a full-time job or children to consider, it can be tempting to try and graduate as a nail tech as quickly as possible.

After all, the sooner you qualify, the sooner you can do a job that you love.

So, whats the quickest you can qualify? Generally speaking, the quickest youll graduate from a reputable school is around 3 months .

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And How Do You Find A College Offering 3

Finding colleges that offer 3-month programs is relatively easy. A quick google search will show you a list of suitable schools in your area.

Then, youll need to do some research. Find out what the course includes, and how much it costs. And if possible, look for reviews from previous and existing students.

Remember, you can always speak to the college administrators if you have any questions not answered on the schools website.

But, to graduate in 3 months youll need to be committed. Youll be expected to be at school for between 24-35 hours per week, and will need to study at home on top of this.

This can make working around your studies tricky and isnt ideal for students with other commitments to think about.

So, what if you have other commitments to consider?

Get Your Business License

Getting your nail technician certification is a big accomplishment and takes a lot of work. So why would you need to take another step to get a business license? Aren’t licenses and certifications the same?

In short: no. The certification you get when completing and passing your state board exam is called a nail tech license, but that’s different from a business license.

A business license is a document that helps show your customers that you’re an official business, and not just a licensed nail tech.

Having a business license also can help fulfill other requirements, such as if a landlord you rent salon space from requires their tenants to have a business license. It’s also something that you can put on your resume or website to build trust with customers, or landlords if you’re renting space.

Each state has different requirements for business licenses. In some states, depending on your profession, it’s required to get a license. In other states, business licenses are required only in certain counties or towns.

For example, if you open a nail salon in Massachusetts, then you’re required to have both a manicuring license and a business license.

Learn about your state’s business license requirements here.

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Disciplinary Review Committee Meetings

The DRC meetings are informal appeal hearings for individuals to have the opportunity to discuss their cases with the Committee, which consists of a panel of Board members. For more information view the Disciplinary Review Committee Fact Sheet.

  • or Until Completion of Business Department of Consumer Affairs Hearing Room S-102, 1st Floor Sacramento, CA 95834
    9:00 a.m. Until Completion of Business Hilton Garden Inn

How Long Does It Take To Get A Nail Tech License In California

How to get a nail tech license in the US

Typically, it takes around 12 weeks for this application to be processed. At that time you will also receive a scheduling letter from the board regarding your licensing examinations. The license examination in California consists of a practical and a written exam. Both are given by the National Interstate Council of Board of Cosmetology.

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Hourly Wages + Commission Space Rental And Salaried Positions For Estheticians In California

When youre getting started you can expect to get paid hourly, plus earn a commission from the spa owner for all the services you bill. The other standard compensation model is space rental, which involves paying the spa owner for a booth or room and keeping what you earn, less what you owe for rent. With reputation and experience comes more potentially lucrative opportunities, including salaried positions as a product rep or makeup and skincare consultant for a movie studio or production company.

No matter which arrangement you find yourself in, keep in mind that base pay is just that estheticians can also collect generous tips from loyal customers. That cash in hand every day can add another 10%-25% or more to your base pay. Thats something that these statistics dont reflect.

Hourly Wage

  • Mid-Level: $29,570
  • Top 10%: $126,780

2017 salary data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource CareerOneStop . State and MSA data includes estheticians at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Job growth data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource Projections Central and represents the ten-year projection period between 2016 and 2026 .

All data accessed June 2019.

So What Are The Jobs Like

Nail tech jobs within a salon, and working with estheticians and others, typically consist of two types: booth rental and salaried.

Those who make a salary are considered employees and they are usually paid an agreed upon hourly rate.

Another option is to be paid on commission based on the amount of sales they make per month.

Jobs with a booth rental salon may also be paid a commission, but more often, they are paid directly by the customer. They then pay a rental fee to the salon owner in exchange for running their business out of the salon.At a certain point, a nail tech may decide that it is time to expand her business even further. This can mean striking out on her own as a single operator. It can also mean starting her own salon and hiring people to fill manicurist jobs within her own business.

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Successfully Complete An Approved Manicurist Program

Your road to becoming a licensed manicurist in California begins with the completion of a manicurist program that has been approved by the Board. You can view a list of approved schools here. Most manicurist programs are completed in a cosmetology school, although there are also a number of dedicated nail technology schools in California.

According to industry statistics published by NAILS Magazine, 80 percent of all nail technicians in California are Vietnamese. As such, there are a number of nail technician programs in California aimed at Vietnamese immigrants. Many of these programs do not require students to speak any English.

An approved nail technology program in California must consist of at least 400 hours of technical instruction and practical training. Instruction must include the following:

  • Technical instruction and practical training in nail care
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Disinfection and sanitation
  • Bacteriology, anatomy, and physiology

The Board also recommends that nail technology programs provide training in professional ethics, salesmanship, record-keeping, decorum, client service record cards, and basic tax responsibilities.

Note: There are currently no apprenticeship programs for manicurist licensure in California.

What Is A Nail Technician

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Nail technicians work with clients to file nails, apply polish, and provide cuticle care. Furthermore, they only work on hands and feet, providing a number of specialized grooming treatments for nails. They must be comfortable and alert using a number of sharp tools, including but not limited to clippers, files, and specialized cuticle tools. Keeping their tools clean and sanitary is important. Many own their own salons. Take a look at the following table for more information about this field.

Education Required

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Time And Testing Requirements

The amount of training or apprenticeship needed for your license depends on the state. In an apprenticeship, you work under a mentor who’s a licensed manicurist, earning a wage while you learn your craft.

  • Alabama requires 750 classroom hours or a 1200-hour apprenticeship completed over two years.
  • In Alaska, you need only a 12-hour nail technician course.
  • California requires 400 hours.
  • Georgia wants 525 credit hours of study or a 2,050-hour apprenticeship.
  • Louisiana wants 500 hours.

Your state government sets the standards for what you need to be taught. In North Carolina, for example, the required 300 hours of school training includes:

  • Infection control and blood exposure procedures
  • Professional image
  • Care and treatment of fingernails, toenails and cuticles
  • Arm and hand manipulations

This material is covered on the North Carolina licensing test, with 75% required for passing.

Do I Need To Take An Exam

No, unlike many states, Florida does not require that Nail Specialists pass an exam in order to gain their license.

However, if you wish to qualify as a Cosmetologist in Florida, you will be expected to pass two exams first.

Qualified Cosmetologists do not need to gain a separate Nail Tech license in order to offer nail services.

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Curriculum For Manicuring Course

The curriculum for students enrolled in a manicurist and pedicurist course shall consist of four hundred clock hours oftechnical instruction and practical operations covering all practices of a manicurist and pedicurist. Technical instructionmeans instruction by demonstration, lecture, classroom participation, or examination. Practical operation means the actualperformance by the student of a complete service on another person.Such technical instruction and practical operations shall include:

Nail Technician License Renewal In California


Continuing education required

You need to renew your California nail technician license every two years. Renewing your license doesn’t require any additional continuing education hours. The cost to renew your California manicurist licensure is $50 for two years, as long as you renew your license before it expires. If you renew your license after it expires, the cost to renew is $75.

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Keep Your Manicurist License Current And Explore Your Career Options

Once you have taken and passed both examinations, the Board will issue you a California Manicurist license. It is your responsibility to ensure that you keep your license current by renewing it on a biennial basis and paying the renewal fee of $50. All online renewals can be completed through the Department of Consumer Affairs BreEZe online system.

Your options for an exciting and fulfilling career in Californias nail industry are wide-reaching, as you may choose to work in a nail salon as a nail salon employee or you may work as an independent contractor and rent a booth or salon space in a spa, full-service salon, or nail salon. As a manicurist in California, you may also find a large number of opportunities working for the print, commercial, film, and theater industries.

Just a few of the top salons throughout California include:

  • Akua Nail Salon, San Francisco
  • Argyle Salon and Spa, West Hollywood
  • Bisou Nail Lounge, San Francisco
  • Candy Paint LA, Los Angeles
  • Cinta Salon, San Francisco

Get The Skills To Be A Manicurist Professional In 25 Months

An exciting career is right at your fingertips. And the fingers of millions of others! Whether it is a trendy salon, a tranquil spa or somewhere in between, opportunities for nail professionals continue to flourish.

Manicure is more than a manicure or pedicure. Nail technology is the art and science of professional nails. Youll learn anatomy, physiology and pathology of nails and skin nail beauty techniques and professional nail products and their uses.

In as little as one year, you can graduate from International College of Cosmetology and obtain your license. Once you have your license, many exciting career opportunities could potentially be open to you!

At completion, students will receive a Certificate and will be certified to take the California State Board Examination for Cosmetology. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive a license to practice Cosmetology in the State of California.

The course length is divided into both technical classroom instruction in the science of nail technology and applied effort for practical operations. You will receive traditional classroom training however, the majority of training is learned through real life experience with clients. This format provides an exceptional learning experience that prepares students with a solid background of practical hands-on training directly related to the nail industry.

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Universal College Of Beauty Inglewood

Students enrolled in the manicurist program at Universal College of Beauty will be prepared by experts for a career as a manicurist. The program will cover 400 clock hours of theory and practical operations in the practices of a manicurist/pedicurist. Students will learn how to use the proper implements for manicuring and pedicuring, use safety precautions in the application of nails, manicuring, and pedicuring, and recognize skin conditions, diseases and disorders. Graduates will be prepared to take the state licensing exam.

Program overview:

Address: 3419 W. 43rd Place, Los Angeles, CA 90008Phone: 323-298-0045

Education Requirements To Get A Nail Tech License In California

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As you see, education is the first step in getting your nail tech license. California has one of the most active beauty industries in the United States, which may mean that you have plenty of schools to choose from.

Some CA nail technician schools offer standard daytime class hours, while others accommodate working students with evening and weekend classes. Programs often start throughout the year, giving you the chance to start your training when it fits your schedule.

To qualify for a CA nail tech license, you have to meet very specific training hour requirements.

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Additional Requirements For Nail Technician Licensure

In addition to meeting the educational/training and examination requirements for licensure, candidates must meet age/education requirements set by their state board of cosmetology, which typically include being at least 16 years old and/or having completed at least the 10th grade .

Other requirements for licensure often include the completion of an HIV/AIDS course and a course in state laws/regulations.

Some state boards of cosmetology require nail technicians to complete a number of continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. Nail technicians in Washington D.C., for example, must complete at least 6 continuing education credits during their licensure period, while nail technicians in Florida must complete at least 16 continuing education credits.

Although the majority of states do not require continuing education to maintain licensure as a nail technician, all states require the completion of a renewal application and the payment of a renewal fee at the end of the license period, which is usually every one to two years.


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