Manicurists and Pedicurists
Sign In
OverviewSalaryAboutEducationWhere are the jobsEmploymentGenderRace/Origin
Clean and shape customers' fingernails and toenails. May polish or decorate nails.
Explore Pathways
Titles for this career often contain these words
Fewer details
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.

Median salary: $27,870 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $24,820 and $31,890.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
Fewer details
Salary growth for manicurists and pedicurists
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Manicurists and Pedicurists
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
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 (68%)
  • Time Pressure (34%)
Fewer details
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.
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.
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.
Education pathways to this career
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 manicurists and pedicurists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
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.

Education level of Manicurists and Pedicurists
Only 9% of manicurists and pedicurists have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by manicurists and pedicurists
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Fewer details
Programs recommended by the Department of Education
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.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Where are the jobs
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.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Manicurists and Pedicurists per 1,000 workers (ACS)
Fewer details
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.
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 manicurists and pedicurists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for manicurists and pedicurists.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
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 figure 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
Location-adjusted median salary for Manicurists and Pedicurists (ACS)
31% of Manicurists and pedicurists are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 31% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 85% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
Fewer details
Distribution: Salaries of manicurists and pedicurists by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$22K$22K$23K$26K$22K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Manicurists and pedicurists and gender
With 78% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 88% of careers.
Gender of Manicurists and pedicurists
Men (22%)
Women (78%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
Fewer details
Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for manicurists and pedicurists, with the median salary for men 10% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Manicurists and pedicurists
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Manicurists and pedicurists.
Race/origin of manicurists and pedicurists
Asian (71% )
White (21% )
Black (3% )
Other (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.