Clean and paint clients' nails.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$16,000 – $31,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Manicurists do?

Though Gloria Steinem might not agree, painted nails are one of those things that make a girl feel really pretty. As a Manicurist, you paint the fingernails and toenails of women using nail polishes in every color imaginable—from cha-ching cherry to Siberian nights (for those who don’t know, that’s red to black).

You start a session as a Manicurist by giving your client a nice soak. This means dipping their hands or feet in a warm, soapy bath to loosen up the cuticles around the nails. A big part of your job as a Manicurist, involves cutting these cuticles. If you cut a cuticle too short, it can bleed and be painful for your client. On the other hand, if you don’t cut enough of it, it will look ragged, and so will the rest of the nail.

Once the cuticles have been trimmed and the nails shortened, you can do a number of things, depending on your client’s preference. You can paint their nails whatever color they choose, or you can stick gems, or attach acrylic nails. For toes, the service is called a pedicure, but the options remain the same.

Although most of your clients are women, men, in recent years, have also gotten big on manicures because of the way these make their hands look clean and professionally done. Short cuticles and well trimmed nails are the primary way men get good-looking nails.

Should I be a Manicurist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Beauty Culturist, Marceller

    How to become a Manicurist

    Most Manicurists have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9uaaaa&chl=no+college+%2857%25%29|certificate+%2843%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,57,57
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