Online Nail Technician Certification

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A woman working at her laptop in the kitchen.
A woman working at her laptop in the kitchen. (Image: acanonguy/iStock/Getty Images)

If you enjoy working in a social atmosphere and are talented at painting fingernails and toenails, you may be a good candidate for a career as a manicurist. With more accredited colleges offering distance-learning courses, you can complete a majority of the training required to earn a nail technician certification online.

Certification and Licensing

Learning to become a professional nail technician or manicurist requires a significant amount of hands-on training. You must earn a license to legally work in the industry. Certification programs are designed and intended to prepare beginners for a state licensing exam or provide licensed nail technicians with continuing education and refresher material. For example, an already licensed manicurist can earn a master nail-tech certification completely online; beginners can study a limited variety of course topics online but also require an apprenticeship at a nail salon or cosmetology school to qualify for certification.

Courses Available for Home Study

Certain areas of nail technician education can be studied online without attending any on-site classes. Beginning students can typically expect the home study portion of their certification training to include topics such as the physiology and history of nails, nail care, and hair and skin disorders. You may also participate in the study of the theory of cosmetology, interpersonal communication and salon management. Licensed manicurists enrolled in refresher or master nail technician courses generally study topics such as "What defines a 'top' nail technician," products and product usage, fiberglass, and the art of acrylics, gels and waterless manicuring.

How the Course Works

Online nail technician certification courses may differ slightly in the way your course content is delivered, but you'll find a few standard methods are commonly used by most colleges that offer distance learning. In certain instances, the coursework consist mainly of CDs and DVDs that can be viewed at your leisure or instructional videos hosted by the school's website that you must log into to view. Others provide scheduled "virtual classrooms" where you may interact with peers and instructors in real time. Exams are typically performed via the Web while logged into your student profile; telephone or email support is a common inclusion, as well as textbooks and workbooks.

Choosing the Right Online Nail Technician Course

When choosing a distance-learning course, you should consider two major factors: that your school is approved by your state cosmetology board and accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences, or NACCAS. If your chosen school doesn't meet such standards, you may not qualify to receive a license to perform services. A few reputable colleges that offer fully accredited and state-approved online nail technician certification courses are San Diego State University, Michigan State University, University of Arizona, St. John's University and East Carolina University.

Equipment and System Requirements

To successfully complete an online nail technician course, it's imperative that you have the appropriate equipment that meets with the technical requirements to deliver your curriculum electronically. You need a personal computer and high-speed Internet access — usually 56k or faster. IT requirements vary by college and course, but typical equipment and system requirements include a generation 4.0 or greater Web browser — such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox — the latest Flash player, a printer and a CD/DVD drive. In a virtual classroom setting, a headset and webcam may be required.

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