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