Nail technician

Alternative job titles: nail artist
Job Category: Hairdressing and beauty

Role info

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.

You'll also need to have an interest in fashion and keep up with the latest trends.

Here are some of the skills that people in this role would be most likely to have

Working conditions


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


You would work in a salon.

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.

You will also need

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

You need normal colour vision.

People doing this kind of job in the UK have these types of qualifications

The people

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