Manicurists and Pedicurists

Summary

manicurists and pedicurists image
Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.
Quick Facts: Manicurists and Pedicurists
2012 Median Pay $19,220 per year
$9.24 per hour
Entry-Level Education Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 86,900
Job Outlook, 2012-22 16% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 13,500

What Manicurists and Pedicurists Do

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.

Work Environment

Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a nail salon, spa, or hair salon. The job involves a lot of sitting. Those who own a mobile grooming company must travel to their clients’ homes. About 27 percent of manicurists and pedicurists were self-employed, many running their own nail salon business.

How to Become a Manicurist or Pedicurist

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require. 

Pay

The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $9.24 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. New nail services being offered, such as minisessions and mobile manicures and pedicures, will drive employment growth. High turnover and a growing number of nail salons will result in very good job opportunities.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of manicurists and pedicurists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about manicurists and pedicurists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Manicurists and Pedicurists Do About this section

Manicurists and pedicurists
Manicurists and pedicurists polish or buff nails.

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.

Duties

Manicurists and pedicurists typically do the following:

  • Discuss nail treatments and services available
  • Remove nail polish and rough skin
  • Clean, trim, and file nails
  • Massage and moisturize hands (for a manicure) and feet (for a pedicure)
  • Polish or buff nails
  • Advise clients about nail and skin care for hands and feet
  • Promote and sell nail and skin care products
  • Clean and disinfect their work area and tools

Manicurists and pedicurists work exclusively on the hands and feet, providing treatments to groom fingernails and toenails. A typical treatment involves soaking the clients’ hands or feet to soften the skin in order to remove dead skin cells. Manicurists and pedicurists apply lotion to the hands and feet to moisturize the skin. They may also shape and apply polish to artificial fingernails.

Manicurists and pedicurists use a variety of tools, including nail clippers, nail files, and specialized cuticle tools. They must be focused while they perform their duties, because most of the tools they use are sharp. Keeping their tools clean and sanitary is important.

Some manicurists and pedicurists operate their own nail salon business. They manage the daily decision-making tasks, such as keeping inventory records and ordering supplies. They also hire and supervise workers and sell nail care products, such as nail polish and hand or foot cream, to clients. A small, but growing, number of workers make house calls. Their mobile manicure and pedicure services are popular because clients consider them convenient.

Work Environment About this section

Manicurists and pedicurists
Manicurists and pedicurists work in spas or nail salons, and often sit for long periods.

Manicurists and pedicurists held about 86,900 jobs in 2012, of which 69 percent were in the personal care services industry. About 27 percent were self-employed, many running their own nail salon business.

Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a nail salon, spa, or hair salon. The job involves a lot of sitting. Those who own a mobile grooming company must travel to their clients’ homes.

Manicurists and pedicurists use chemicals when working on fingernails and toenails, so they often wear protective clothing, including protective gloves and masks.

Work Schedules

Although most manicurists and pedicurists work full time, many have variable schedules and work part time. Their schedules are often determined by the type of establishment. For example, a full-service salon may require manicurists and pedicurists to work an 8-hour day. A boutique hair salon, however, may require shorter work hours on a part-time basis. Longer hours are not unusual for self-employed workers. Weekends and evenings tend to be the busiest times for manicurists and pedicurists.

How to Become a Manicurist or Pedicurist About this section

Manicurists and pedicurists
Manicurists and pedicurists must pass a state-approved cosmetology program before licensure.

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require.

Education

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program. Currently, there are hundreds of programs nationwide.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

State licensing requirements vary. However, applicants need to be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. After completing a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program, manicurists and pedicurists must take a written exam and a practical exam to get a license through their state board.

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) provides information on state examinations for licensing, with sample questions. The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) also provide information on state examinations, as well as offering other professional links.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Manicurists and pedicurist who run their own nail salon must understand general business principles. For example, they should be skilled at administrative tasks, such as accounting and personnel management, and be able to manage a salon efficiently and profitably.

Creativity. The ability to neatly finish small, intricate designs is important, as is the ability to suggest and match nail designs to individual tastes. 

Customer-service skills. Good listening and interpersonal skills are important in working with clients. Also, meeting the needs of clients, including interacting with them while doing a manicure or pedicure, encourages repeat business.

Dexterity. A steady hand is essential in achieving a creative and precise nail design. Also, because manicurists and pedicurists often use sharp tools, they must have good finger dexterity.

Pay About this section

Manicurists and Pedicurists

Median hourly wages, May 2012

Total, all occupations

$16.71

Personal appearance workers

$10.67

Manicurists and pedicurists

$9.24

 

The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $9.24 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.00 per hour, and the top 10 percent earned more than $14.21 per hour.

Although most manicurists and pedicurists work full time, many have variable schedules and work part time. Their schedules often are determined by the type of establishment they work for. For example, a full service salon may require manicurists and pedicurists to work an 8-hour day. A boutique hair salon, however, may require shorter work hours on a part-time basis. Longer hours are not unusual for self-employed workers. Weekends and evenings tend to be the busiest times for manicurists and pedicurists.

Job Outlook About this section

Manicurists and Pedicurists

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Manicurists and pedicurists

16%

Personal appearance workers

14%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

The increase in employment reflects demand for new nail services being offered, such as minisessions (quick manicures at a low cost) and mobile manicures and pedicures (house calls).

The desire among young women and a growing number of men to lead a healthier lifestyle through better grooming and wellness should also result in higher employment for manicurists and pedicurists.

Considered a low-cost luxury service, manicures and pedicures will continue to be in demand by individuals at all income levels.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be very good overall. The growing number of nail salons and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year will result in many job openings.

Employment projections data for manicurists and pedicurists, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Manicurists and pedicurists

39-5092 86,900 100,400 16 13,500 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of manicurists and pedicurists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists

Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide hairstyling and beauty services.

Postsecondary non-degree award $22,770
Skin care specialists

Skincare Specialists

Skincare specialists cleanse and beautify the face and body to enhance a person’s appearance. 

Postsecondary non-degree award $28,640
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Manicurists and Pedicurists,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/manicurists-and-pedicurists.htm (visited April 24, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014