Manicure Courses

Whether you want to work in a salon, build your own business for manicure services, or become a nail technology instructor, studying manicure courses is key to achieving this goal. It develops your knowledge and skills about the service and allows you to become a licensed professional to work reliably as a manicurist or build your own salon.    

However, studying the program has prerequisites you need to qualify for before you enroll. Once you’re eligible, you also need to understand what the course offers, how much its cost is, the accreditations you’ll get after finishing the program, and what you want to do after getting licensed, so you have an idea of what to expect from it. 

To help you get to a better direction with your plan on studying a manicure course, let’s discuss the program in detail. 

What Are Manicure Services?

A manicure consists of different types of fingernail and hand skin services. It’s a beauty treatment for the hands that involves shaping, polishing, and coloring the nails, removing cuticles and hard skin, massaging the hands, and many others. It usually goes with a pedicure, which focuses on treating the toenails, but customers can always opt for getting a manicure only when visiting a salon. 

To give you a better understanding of the scope of manicure services, let’s discuss each below:


A basic manicure is the most standard process among the other types. It involves cleaning and shaping the nails, cuticle cleaning, filing and buffing the nails, and light hand massage using a cream. Once the nails are treated, the nail technician then applies the base coat, color, and the final coat.

This service usually takes 30 minutes, and the manicure can last up to a week. The customer can also remove the nail polish using acetone at home. 

Getting the basic manicure restores, moisturizes, and provides good health to the nails. 


A French manicure creates a natural glossy look for the nails with a white crescent-shaped color at the nail tip. The process for this type is also simple. The nail technician applies a clear or pale pink coat on the nails as the base and paints a white polish at the edge of the nails, forming a crescent shape. The customer can, however, request to paint the tip with a different color.  

A French manicure can run from 45 minutes to an hour and last for seven days if done with regular polish but up to three weeks if done with a gel. The customer can remove the manicure with acetone for regular polish. However, for the gel type, a nail technician should do the removal to avoid nail breakage.

Reverse French

The reverse version of a French manicure is simply highlighting the base part of the nails. Instead of coloring the nails’ tips with white, the crescent shape mark is placed at the base, creating a unique style. The process is basically the same as the French manicure, only that the nail technician paints the base of the nails. 


An American manicure is done and looks similar to the French type. It works on creating a more natural look for the nails by painting them with a clear or flesh-colored polish. Once the nails are cleaned and shaped, the nail technician applies the base, flesh-colored, and final coats.  

This manicure takes 45 minutes and lasts for two weeks. Customers can remove it by applying acetone or a nail polish remover to the fingernails.

UV Gel

An ultraviolet (UV) gel manicure uses gel polish and UV light technology to improve the nails. After the nails are treated, a gel polish is applied, and the fingers are then exposed under a UV light. This step is repeated with each application dried first before proceeding. Once the second gel application is dried, the top coat is applied. 

This manicure can take 45 minutes and last up to three weeks. It can be removed by soaking the nails off with acetone. Using an electric file is also another method to remove it as it sands away the gel.   

Also, nail technicians can use a gel as nail extensions upon customer request. They can apply the hard gel extensions or do it manually with a gum-like gel to create the shape the customer wants.  


A paraffin manicure primarily works on the skin of the hands. It uses paraffin wax to hydrate and soften the skin before applying the basic manicure. This is ideal for customers who have dry hands. 

The process starts with melting the wax in a device and lets it sit for some time to cool down a little bit. While waiting, the nail technician applies a light massage to the hands using a lotion or oil. 

Once the melted wax’s temperature is bearable, the hands are soaked for 20-30 minutes. Then, the nail technician lifts the hands and allows the wax to dry for around 30 minutes. Once completely dried, the nail technician peels off the wax and applies the basic manicure.    

Acrylic Overlay 

An acrylic manicure is also a type of nail extension, which uses liquid monomer and powder polymer to create the hard layer. The artificial nails are then placed on top of the natural ones to extend the nails. Each set of acrylic nails has a different shape, size, length, and even thickness.

What nail technicians usually do is make the natural nails’ surface rough, so the acrylics stick better. They can use ready-made hard acrylics or shape the gum-like acrylics on the nails. Once dried, they apply nail polish to cure the overlay.      

This process can take 45 minutes to one hour, and the manicure can last up to three weeks.

Dip Powder

Dip powder is another simple manicure type because the idea for this is to dip each nail into a color powder instead of painting it. After the nails are cleaned and treated, a sealant is applied, and each nail is dipped into the color powder of the customer’s choice. The top coat is then applied to cure the color powder. 

This manicure can take up to 45 minutes and last up to four weeks. Customers can remove the manicure using acetone but may take a little while.  


Shellac manicure is a combination of gel and regular nail polish. The nail technician applies two coats of shellac polish, and each application is hardened under a UV light. The difference between gel and shellac manicures is the former uses a semi-permanent gel while the latter uses a semi-permanent polish.

The whole process can take up to an hour, and the manicure can last up to three weeks. Customers can remove the manicure using acetone, but there is a high risk of nail damage when done incorrectly. A salon visit is best for its removal.

Hot Stone

A hot stone nail service is primarily a therapeutic hand relaxation. It provides the basic manicure with a warm stone placed on the hand. It also uses essential oil to apply to the hands for a light massage. This therapeutic technique is done before applying nail polish.

This service can take up to 50 minutes. Once finished, the nail technician wipes off the excess oil from the customer’s hands.   

What Is a Manicurist?

A manicurist works on improving people’s fingernails and skin of the hands. They clean, trim, shape, color, and extend the nails and remove cuticles, hangnails, and hard skin. They are professionals trained in different techniques in treating fingernails and the entire hands.

What Do You Learn in a Manicure Course?

Manicure courses vary on the program and the provider that offers them. Areas of study covered can include:

  • Nail health
  • Nail art designs and extensions
  • Nail shaping, trimming, and filing
  • Nail polish
  • Reflexology
  • Bacteria identification
  • Chemicals used in nail products

The courses may also depend on the level of expertise taught. A beginner’s course covers the basic manicure art that talks about shaping fingernails and making nail designs and patterns. Students can also opt for an intermediate course that covers advanced manicure techniques. They learn how to apply artificial nails and condition the skin of the hands for a manicure (moisturizing and light massage).

Students can also study nail repair, where they learn how to fix damaged nails and focus on understanding healthy and unhealthy nails. Some courses also concentrate on studying the types of bacteria that thrive on nails and how to deal with them.   

What Are the Different Ways to Study Manicure Techniques?

Vocational schools and community colleges usually offer manicure courses with certificates or diplomas after program completion. However, many of these schools require on-campus learning primarily because the manicure program needs hands-on activities, such as internships, observing classes, and practical tests. It’s best to check if there are schools or licensed organizations that offer the course near you.

You can also opt for enrolling in an online class, but most of these programs require campus visits. If you prefer this type of learning, be ready to spare time for campus visits and other hands-on activities required to complete the program. 

You also might want to check out some cheap or free courses offered by your local government. Manicures and pedicures are usually under cosmetics programs.

What Prerequisites Are There to Study Manicure Services? 

The prerequisites to study manicure services vary by country. In the US, for example, their requirements also depend from one state to another. But most of the programs require a student to be at least 16 years old and hold a General Educational Development certificate or high school diploma.  

In Australia, licensed manicure programs generally require a student to be at least 17 years old and complete year 12 of education. 

What Accreditations Can You Get by Doing Manicure Courses?

The accreditations you’ll get after finishing a manicure course also vary by country. But generally, you’ll get a certificate after completing the course and a license for passing the licensure exam. If a student decides to pursue continuing education in cosmetology, which is a bigger scope in beauty services, they will become a degree holder and eventually earn a diploma for it.  

What Will All of This Cost?

For the cost, again, it varies by country. In the US, for example, the average full tuition fee is around $4,500 (USD). This doesn’t include the costs for supplies and books, which are more than $850.  

In Australia, you need to enroll in Certificate III in Nail Technology to study manicure techniques. This certification costs on average over $4,700 (AUD) per semester. 

What Will You Be Able to Do at the End of a Manicure Course?

After finishing the course, you’ll earn a certificate from the program provider. At this point, you can decide whether to take the licensure exam so you can apply for a manicurist job or proceed in studying further education in cosmetology. 

If you choose the former and pass the licensure exam, it’s important to remember that you need to renew your license after a couple of years to continue working smoothly. However, if you select the latter, additional training, education, and expenses are expected, which are significantly different from the manicure course.

How Do I Find the Best Manicure Course?

The best manicure course for you must match the lifestyle you have. What this means is the program requires a significant amount of time and dedication, and if you can’t fully commit to the requirements, it’s only a waste of money and time for you. So, decide whether you want to go full or part time.

To help you get the right fit, also consider these factors:

Program Scope

As mentioned previously, course programs vary depending on the provider. Choose a course that covers the areas of study you want to learn. You might want to start with the beginner course and work your way to advanced courses.

It’s also important to consider the number of hours required for the course. Some programs may only take three months, while others can last up to nine months or more. This depends on whether the course is part or full time.


Not only do you need to find the program structure that aligns with your lifestyle, but you also need to enroll in a licensed or accredited course. The curriculum you’ve chosen should match with the regulations of the state or region of your area.  


Another reason why you should enroll in a licensed manicure course is the licensure examination. It requires examinees to finish a licensed program before taking the test. Also, it’s crucial to remember the renewal of your license for employment or business purposes.   

Added Benefits

Some course programs may offer additional benefits that students can take advantage of. They may provide job placement assistance that helps you get employed quickly after getting licensed. They have continued relationships with salons and will endorse you to them for employment.  

Your local government may also provide financial assistance or support you for taking manicure courses. Check with your state or region for scholarships or student loans.

What’s Next?

The next big step you should take now is to search for available manicure courses that fit your schedule. Remember, the program is hands-on in nature, so be ready for campus visits, internships, and other practical manicure activities. So, enroll in a course now, and become a professional manicurist or nail salon owner!