Nail artists, also known as manicurists and pedicurists, work with clients on shaping and polishing nails, as well as adding nail extensions when requested. These workers may be employed in several types of shops or facilities, a factor that affects how much money they make. Experience and location also play roles in shaping the salary of a nail artist.
On average, nail artists in the United States earned $22,150 a year as of 2009, or a mean hourly wage of $10.65. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for these artists was $19,710, with those in the bottom 10 percent earning less than $15,940 and those in the top 10 percent earning over $31,940.
According to the bureau, the majority of nail artists were employed in the industry of personal care services as of 2009, earning an average of $21,990 a year. Those in the amusement and recreation industries earned an average of $27,250, while those working in traveler accommodation earned an average of $27,500. Department stores and health and personal care stores also employed nail artists for average salaries of $20,860 and $20,610, respectively.
Areas with higher costs of living and/or greater demand for nail artists are likely to pay higher wages. The Holland-Grand Haven area of Michigan is the nation's top-paying metropolitan area for nail artists with an average salary of $35,680 a year, followed by the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton area of Oregon-Washington at $32,540. Springfield, Illinois, South Bend-Mishawaka, Indiana-Michigan, and Wichita, Kansas, follow with averages of over $30,000 annually.
Advancement and Other Earnings
Experience and building a steady group of customers is the most typical path for advancement for nail artists, though some may go on to manage the personal care shop in which they work. Nail artists may also expect to receive tips from customers as part of their income, and those working in shops that sell nail care products may earn a commission on products they sell.