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How to Become a Manicurist or Pedicurist

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology program. After they finish the program, they must pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require.   

Education and Training

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology program. Currently, there are 474 programs nationwide. Some high schools offer this training. 


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

Important Qualities

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

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

Dexterity. A steady hand is essential in achieving a creative and precise nail design. Because manicurists and pedicurists often use sharp tools, they must also be well coordinated.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition