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How Much Do Nail Technicians Make?

If you’re considering becoming a nail technician, you might be wondering how much money you could potentially make. While the salaries of these professionals can vary widely depending on the specific type of position and location in which they work, those with longevity and experience in the field can make a nice living.

Many nail technicians may also be able to access benefits including paid vacation time and opportunities for advancement as their career progresses. Understanding what kind of salary to expect before starting out as a nail technician is a key to understanding your earning potential in this specialized line of work.

We’ll take a deeper look into what it takes to be a nail technician and what you can expect from the average nail tech salary.

How to become a nail technician

Most states have some absolute minimum requirements for becoming a nail tech like being 16 years old and having a high school diploma or an equivalent education. Though, it should be noted this does vary a bit from state to state.

Beyond those minimum requirements, becoming a nail technician involves formal training, starting with an accredited course containing the basics of nail services. Such courses offer a comprehensive education into the health and safety regulations used in professional salons, as well as providing instruction on practical skills like manicures and pedicures.

Opportunities also exist to expand knowledge into areas such as nail art and design or airbrush technique. Once the initial course is completed, likely consist of classroom instruction and supervised hands-on experience. Once you pass your nail technician course you will typically have to pass a state examination or two to prove your competency and then pay your licensing fee.

Obtaining this license can open doors for employment opportunities in both private practices and commercial salons. Follow the link to learn more about how to become a nail technician.

How do nail technicians get paid?

You might be surprised to find out that in many cases, a nail technician’s salary isn’t as straightforward as many other occupations. As a nail technician, the structure of your compensation largely depends on where you’re employed. Warehouse stores or salons may pay you an hourly rate, while spas and resorts may pay a commission based on the number of services they provide. Some employers may also provide commissions on products they wish to emphasize, such as items related to salon care or promotional add-ons.

Tips can also be a major source of income for independent technicians who offer services in homes or apartments. Be sure to read contracts carefully so that understand what percentage of your revenue comes from tips, support materials, and commissions.

How much do nail techs make an hour?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (circa May 2021), the median hourly pay for nail technicians, manicurists, and pedicurists in the United States was $14.05.

What is the average annual salary of a nail technician?

The median annual income for nail technicians in the United States was $29,210 as of May 2021 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average nail technician pay by state

The table below shows both the average and median pay for nail technicians by state.

StateHourly mean wageAnnual mean wageHourly median wageAnnual median wage
Alabama$12.61 $26,240 $13.24 $27,550
Alaska$14.01 $29,130 $14.25 $29,640
Arizona$16.99 $35,340 $13.92 $28,960
Arkansas$13.45 $27,970 $11.94 $24,830
California$15.59 $32,420 $14.25 $29,640
Colorado$17.10 $35,570 $14.31 $29,770
Connecticut$13.84 $28,790 $13.60 $28,280
Delaware$16.54 $34,390 $14.34 $29,830
District of Columbia$22.13 $46,040 $22.31 $46,400
Florida$15.12 $31,450 $13.93 $28,970
Georgia$12.07 $25,100 $10.94 $22,760
Hawaii$14.91 $31,010 $13.94 $28,990
Idaho$17.46 $36,310 $14.24 $29,630
Illinois$15.86 $32,980 $13.82 $28,750
Indiana$13.66 $28,420 $12.92 $26,870
Iowa$19.72 $41,010 $22.34 $46,470
Kansas$16.63 $34,580 $17.16 $35,700
Kentucky$14.93 $31,060 $16.00 $33,270
Louisiana$10.83 $22,520 $10.10 $21,000
Maine$15.31 $31,850 $14.71 $30,600
Maryland$14.64 $30,440 $14.35 $29,850
Massachusetts$15.49 $32,210 $14.44 $30,040
Michigan$21.30 $44,310 $14.13 $29,400
Minnesota$14.33 $29,810 $13.97 $29,050
Mississippi$15.58 $32,400 $13.63 $28,350
Missouri$14.62 $30,410 $13.60 $28,290
Montana$19.78 $41,140 $17.76 $36,940
Nebraska$14.90 $30,990 $14.42 $29,990
Nevada$11.81 $24,570 $14.10 $29,320
New Hampshire$16.55 $34,420 $17.05 $35,460
New Jersey$14.42 $30,000 $13.61 $28,300
New York$13.97 $29,060 $14.02 $29,160
North Carolina$14.86 $30,900 $13.63 $28,340
Ohio$13.27 $27,610 $11.04 $22,970
Oklahoma$12.43 $25,860 $10.72 $22,290
Oregon$15.84 $32,950 $14.60 $30,380
Pennsylvania$12.05 $25,060 $11.06 $23,010
Puerto Rico$12.84 $26,710 $8.81 $18,320
Rhode Island$13.33 $27,720 $12.52 $26,040
South Carolina$10.79 $22,450 $10.66 $22,170
South Dakota$16.33 $33,960 $14.87 $30,930
Tennessee$12.85 $26,720 $10.72 $22,290
Texas$12.12 $25,200 $10.80 $22,460
Utah$21.67 $45,080 $23.38 $48,640
Vermont$18.63 $38,750 $18.11 $37,670
Virginia$15.20 $31,610 $14.14 $29,410
Washington$18.63 $38,740 $17.62 $36,640
West Virginia$14.20 $29,530 $13.69 $28,480
Wisconsin$13.75 $28,590 $11.67 $24,270
Wyoming$14.16 $29,450 $13.76 $28,620


Top paying metro areas for nail technicians

The top 25 paying metro areas for nail technicians are listed below.

CityHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Provo-Orem, UT$21.79$45,320
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI$20.28$42,170
Olympia-Tumwater, WA$19.24$40,030
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA$19.01$39,540
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area$18.96$39,440
Boulder, CO$18.91$39,320
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$18.73$38,960
Burlington-South Burlington, VT$18.64$38,770
Bellingham, WA$18.48$38,440
Portsmouth, NH-ME$18.40$38,270
Wenatchee, WA$18.40$38,270
Kennewick-Richland, WA$18.38$38,230
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$18.20$37,850
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$17.97$37,380
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA$17.71$36,840
Fort Collins, CO$17.67$36,760
Colorado Springs, CO$17.25$35,880
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ$17.12$35,610
Springfield, IL$17.06$35,490
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$17.02$35,400
Santa Rosa, CA$16.98$35,310
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL$16.86$35,080
Napa, CA$16.85$35,040
Greeley, CO$16.77$34,890
Tucson, AZ$16.68$34,680

How to increase your earning potential

If you’re a nail technician looking to take your career to the next level, there are a few things you can do to increase your earning potential. Developing strong relationships with your clients is one way to boost your chances of success; offering discounts for loyal customers or hosting customers-only events may help keep them coming back.

Consider diversifying your services as well; if you can offer a certain set of skills that few other technicians have, that could make you stand out in an increasingly competitive market and charge more for those services.

Finally, look into working in high-end salons or spas—the more exposure you get from these kinds of businesses, the higher rates you are likely to earn. With dedication and commitment, there’s nothing stopping a nail technicians from achieving their financial goals.

Job outlook for nail technicians

The market for skilled nail technicians is booming in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a whopping 22% increase in nail technician jobs for the decade of 2021-2031. That’s 17% higher than the national average! In all, this means there will be 36,600 new nail tech jobs created over this ten-year stretch.

Why such explosive growth? The main driver is that people are looking for more options in getting manicures and pedicures. More small businesses are offering nail services outside of traditional spas and salons so people can get these beauty services quickly and more easily. These sorts of “quick casual” nail services are growing in demand for people across all income levels.

More questions?

Still have questions about becoming a nail tech? Have a look at our nail technician FAQ page to see more questions and answers about this exciting career.