Nail technician

nail artist

Career outlook for nail technician

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would care for people’s hands and feet, giving manicures and pedicures to keep them looking their best and feeling healthy.

You would:

  • Do basic treatments, such as manicures and pedicures
  • Clean and file nails
  • Put on false nails or extensions
  • Decorate nails with coloured varnish, transfers, gems or glitter
  • Paint designs onto nails with an airbrush (by hand or using a stencil)
  • Repair, look after and remove false nails and extensions
  • Check for any signs of skin or nail problems before treatment
  • Give advice about nail care and recommend useful products

Health and safety is an extremely important part of the work. You would need to make sure that you use chemicals and tools correctly and follow strict hygiene procedures.

Working conditions


You would normally work around 37 hours a week, often including weekends and evenings.


You would work in a salon.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Positive attitude
  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Respecting
  • Attention to detail

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


You could do a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Nail Services (SVQ level 2/3).

You do not need any particular qualifications to work as a nail technician, although a qualification in nail services or beauty techniques may give you an advantage. Most employers value a good general education.

It may be helpful to complete a Beauty Therapy Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) course which offers modules in Nail Extensions and Hand and Foot Therapy.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Art-based subjects

You will also need

An interest in fashion to keep up with the latest trends. You'll also need a good eye for detail to recreate intricate nail designs.  

Some local authorities will require you to have a licence from the environmental health department. The requirements for a licence will vary between local authority. 

You need normal colour vision.