Personal appearance workers
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Manicurists and Pedicurists
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Overview
Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for manicurists and pedicurists are expected to grow by 13%, and should have about 17,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Manicurists and pedicurists are more likely to be automated than 86% of other careers.
Workforce size
Manicurists and pedicurists, with 126,300 workers, form a larger workforce than 69% of careers.
Education
Only 11% of personal appearance workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by personal appearance workers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer personal appearance workers have bachelor's degrees than 68% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 96% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for manicurists and pedicurists. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most manicurists and pedicurists.
This job's median $24KAll jobs' median $39K$21K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 81% of personal appearance workers -- that's a larger percentage than 92% of other jobs.
Gender of personal appearance workers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For personal appearance workers, the median men's salary was 5% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 73% of personal appearance workers are minority, and 70% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of personal appearance workers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (70%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Manicurists and Pedicurists per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 10% of personal appearance workers, and 15% have company-sponsored health insurance (24% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for personal appearance workers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of manicurists and pedicurists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (91%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (68%)
  • Time Pressure (34%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do personal appearance workers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group personal appearance workers, which combines the data for 4 careers, including manicurists and pedicurists. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for manicurists and pedicurists, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for manicurists and pedicurists compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for manicurists and pedicurists (BLS Salary Data)
$24K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$24K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all personal appearance workers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for personal appearance workers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for personal appearance workers (ACS Salary Data)
$22K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$22K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where manicurists and pedicurists work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Personal appearance workers (ACS)
Private for-profit (70.5%)
Private not-for-profit (1.0%)
Local government (0.1%)
State government (0.1%)
Federal government (0.1%)
Self-employed incorporated (7.9%)
Self-employed not incorporated (20.0%)
Working without pay (0.3%)
Distribution: Salaries of personal appearance workers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of personal appearance workers, which combines the 4 specialties for this career.
$22K$21K$22K$21K$26K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of manicurists and pedicurists by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty manicurists and pedicurists, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$24K$23K$24K$0$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000Local governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for personal appearance workers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$23K$22K$22K$19K$23K$21K$20K$22K$20K$0$20K$40K$60KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
010K20K30K40K50KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Personal appearance workers and gender

With 81% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 92% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
81%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Personal appearance workers
Men (19%)
Women (81%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for personal appearance workers, with the median salary for men 5% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$21K$22K$0$20K$40K$60KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Personal appearance workers have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 85% of other jobs.

5%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of personal appearance workers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority personal appearance workers than for 100% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of personal appearance workers
Asian (67% )
White (25% )
Black (3% )
Other (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
73%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
70%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for personal appearance workers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$18K$21K$23K$25K$25K$26K$31K$0$20K$40K$60KOtherAsianBlackAmerican IndianMultiracialWhiteHispanic
Distribution: Salaries for personal appearance workers by nativity
$21K$25K$0$20K$40K$60KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by manicurists and pedicurists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manicurists and pedicurists typically hold a postsecondary nondegree award.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as personal appearance workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for personal appearance workers.

Education attained by personal appearance workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for manicurists and pedicurists

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

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for manicurists and pedicurists

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. Mobile manicure and pedicure services require a separate license.

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

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for personal appearance workers? Below we see the distribution of personal appearance workers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as personal appearance workers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$19K$21K$24K$25K$27K$25K$0$20K$40K$60KNone (24%)High School (39%)Some College (19%)Associate's Degree (8%)Bachelor's Degree (10%)Master's Degree (1%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Cosmetology
60,118
Nail Technician and Manicurist
8,308
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for personal appearance workers

What jobs will most personal appearance workers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of personal appearance workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list? For personal appearance workers, there isn't a lot of action in this chart! This isn't a career that invites much moving around.

Personal appearance workersHairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologistsFirst-line supervisors of personal service workers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for personal appearance workers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 2 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as personal appearance workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as personal appearance workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for personal appearance workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists
92,500
$0$200K$25K
First-line supervisors of personal service workers
34,400
$0$200K$33K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for personal appearance workers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as personal appearance workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of personal appearance workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for personal appearance workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
1.1%
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.3%
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
380,800
$0$200K$25K
1.2%
Receptionists and information clerks
151,300
$0$200K$27K
1.1%
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists
92,500
$0$200K$25K
3.2%
First-line supervisors of personal service workers
34,400
$0$200K$33K
3.9%
Personal appearance workers
29,500
$0$200K$22K
67.5%
No occupation
9.2%
Read about manicurists and pedicurists
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Manicurists and pedicurists typically do the following:

  • Discuss nail treatments and services available
  • Remove nail polish
  • Clean, trim, and file nails
  • Reduce calluses and rough skin
  • 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 also may 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, which requires performing business 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. A small but growing number of workers make house calls. Mobile manicure and pedicure services are popular because clients consider them convenient.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of manicurists and pedicurists? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

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 nail designs and match them 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. In addition, because manicurists and pedicurists often use sharp tools, they must have good finger dexterity.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for manicurists and pedicurists
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 96% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for manicurists and pedicurists. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $24KAll jobs' median $39K$24K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for manicurists and pedicurists are anticipated to grow by 13% over the next decade; only 16% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for manicurists and pedicurists is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030050,000100,000150,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most manicurists and pedicurists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as manicurists and pedicurists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all personal appearance workers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Manicurists and Pedicurists per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where manicurists and pedicurists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for personal appearance workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for personal appearance workers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all personal appearance workers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Manicurists and Pedicurists to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which manicurists and pedicurists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Personal appearance workers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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