Manicurists and Pedicurists

Summary

manicurists and pedicurists image
Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.
Quick Facts: Manicurists and Pedicurists
2015 Median Pay $20,820 per year
$10.01 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 113,600
Job Outlook, 2014-24 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 11,700

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 travel to their clients’ location. About 3 in 10 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 $10.01 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, 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.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for manicurists and pedicurists.

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
  • 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 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 113,600 jobs in 2014, of which 68 percent were in the personal care services industry. About 3 in 10 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 often are 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 fewer work hours on a part-time basis. Longer work days 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. 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.

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 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.

Pay About this section

Manicurists and Pedicurists

Median hourly wages, May 2015

Total, all occupations

$17.40

Personal appearance workers

$11.17

Manicurists and pedicurists

$10.01

 

The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $10.01 in May 2015. 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 $8.78, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $16.32.

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 fewer work hours on a part-time basis. Longer work days 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 2014-24

Manicurists and pedicurists

10%

Personal appearance workers

10%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, 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 also should 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, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Manicurists and pedicurists

39-5092 113,600 125,300 10 11,700 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

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 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists

Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and a range of other beauty services.

Postsecondary nondegree award $23,710
Skin care specialists

Skincare Specialists

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

Postsecondary nondegree award $30,090
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Manicurists and Pedicurists,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/manicurists-and-pedicurists.htm (visited July 01, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

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How to Become One

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.