An Overview Of How Long Is Nail Tech School

how long is nail tech school

Planning your future is exciting, and if you’ve always loved painting nails, becoming a nail technician may seem like the perfect career plan for you. Are you interested in becoming one but are wondering how long is nail tech school in the U.S.?

But, do you know how long it takes to qualify?

Sometimes, people underestimate just how much training it takes to qualify as a nail technician. It’s just painting nails, right?


It takes months of hard work to qualify as a nail technician. And that’s because nail techs are highly skilled professionals with multiple responsibilities.

You see, not only do these beauty professions make clients’ nails look amazing, they do so in a safe and sterile way.

And, because training is so important to all areas of cosmetology, every state except Connecticut currently requires nail technicians to have a license.  

Plus, in today’s world, knowing how to paint nails just isn’t enough. No, nail techs need to be up to date with all kinds of techniques, used to make clients look and feel their best.

Let’s now discuss some of the things you will need to learn before you become a nail tech.

So, if you want to be a nail technician, you’ll need to learn:

  • How to give manicures and pedicures (including the safe use of nail-care tools)
  • Nail art and design
  • How to apply specialist nail products (like gel and acrylic nails)
  • Safety and sanitation practices
  • Customer Service skills
  • And maybe even how to give hand, feet, and calf massages

And, although the exact nature of your program will depend on your state and school, you will also be expected to study subjects like anatomy, physiology, and pathology of nails and skin.

But that’s not all.

It is not just about how to or how long it takes to become a nail tech. All that matters is to be licensed as a nail technician after completion of the nail technician program. In most of the states in the U.S., you will have to apply for licensure to be able to practice as a nail technician.

Before issuing your license, most states expect that you:

You see, training as a nail technician is an in-depth process, and it is definitely not the easy option some people think it is.

Of course, meeting all of these requirements takes time. It’s not like you could rock up and learn everything you need to know in one afternoon!

However, despite the amount of work required, training as a nail technician is generally quicker than completing other cosmetology programs.

Wondering how long it takes to become a nail tech in the U.S.? Keep reading to learn more details regarding this.

So, how long does it take to become a nail tech?

Nail Tech programs generally run between 3 and 9 months, and you’ll need to take between 300 and 600 hours of training.

But the simple answer is that there is no set time frame when it comes to training as a nail technician. I know, it’s annoying. You just want to know how long it’ll be before you’re starting your dream career. But, the number of hours it takes to complete your course will vary depending on which state you’re in, and what school you choose.

However, as a general guide, you can expect to complete between 300 and 600 hours of training before getting your license. But, of course, the time it takes to complete the hours necessary for gaining your license depends heavily on how many hours per week you spend at school.

You see, the number of training hours per week varies between schools, with some offering full-time courses, and others offering students the opportunity to study part-time.

Although it makes it harder to give a definite answer on how long nail tech courses take, this is actually a great thing. It means that there are options suitable for people who want to qualify quickly, as well as for those who need to work school around their existing commitments!

So, to give you an idea of how varied the time frame is, programs generally run from between 3-9 months

This is quite a big range to consider. So, what should you do if you want to qualify as a nail technician as quickly as possible?

Now that you have become a nail tech, are you wondering how to qualify quickly and get your nail technician license?

If you want to get your license quickly

If you don’t have other commitments, like a full-time job or children to consider, it can be tempting to try and graduate as a nail tech as quickly as possible.

After all, the sooner you qualify, the sooner you can do a job that you love.

So, what’s the quickest you can qualify?  Generally speaking, the quickest you’ll graduate from a reputable school is around 3 months (or, very occasionally, in 2.5 months).

And how do you find a college offering 3-month programs?

Finding colleges that offer 3-month programs is relatively easy. A quick Google search will show you a list of suitable schools in your area.

Then, you’ll need to do some research. Find out what the course includes, and how much it costs. And if possible, look for reviews from previous and existing students.

Remember, you can always speak to the college administrators if you have any questions not answered on the school’s website.

But, to graduate in 3 months you’ll need to be committed. You’ll be expected to be at school for between 24-35 hours per week and will need to study at home on top of this.

This can make working around your studies tricky and isn’t ideal for students with other commitments to think about.

So, what if you have other commitments to consider?

Taking your time to train

If you have other commitments to consider, you may struggle to go to school full-time. But don’t worry! Many schools offer part-time options and even night school for trainee nail techs.

Studying part-time is ideal for students looking to make a career change as they allow you to keep your existing job whilst you train. Some even offer part of the program online. Though do bear in mind that you will need to complete practical hours in person in order to qualify.

So, how long does it take to qualify part-time?

Again, this depends heavily on the school and program you choose to enroll in. However, most part-time courses are completed in 6-9 months.

And how do you find a program that works around your commitments?

The process of finding a part-time nail technician course is the same as when looking for full-time options. Simply start with a Google search, and narrow down your options from there.

However, if the reason your studying part-time is because of existing commitments, it’s essential that you speak to the school to ensure that the days and times you’ll need to attend work for you.

But don’t worry, schools that offer part-time courses are used to people having commitments. This means that they should be happy to help you work out whether their schedule fits your needs.

So far, we’ve only looked at training as a nail tech in cosmetology schools. But in some states, there is another way to qualify as a nail technician.

Nail Technician apprenticeships

Not every state allows students to qualify as a nail technicians via an apprenticeship. But, if your state does allow it,  it can be an attractive option.

You see, in some states, apprentice nail techs are able to earn a wage whilst training.

So, how long does it take to qualify through an apprenticeship?

To qualify as a licensed nail technician, you must be working as an apprentice 20 hours per week for a minimum of 8 months. Though in reality, it can take longer.

So, how do you find an apprenticeship?

Again, Google is your best friend. Start by establishing whether apprenticeships are recognized in your state, and if they are, do your research before applying for any openings.

Remember, as an apprentice, you’ll be relying on your salon to teach you everything you need to know to succeed. So, make sure they are professional and committed to the apprenticeship process.

As you can see, the time it takes to qualify as a nail technician is dependent on lots of factors. But however long it takes you to qualify, enjoy the process!

Studying for a new career is exciting, and even on a part-time course, it won’t be long before you’re a fully qualified nail tech living your dream career.

Good luck!

Wrapping Up

As you can see, nail tech school’s durations range quite briefly. Hopefully, you have a clearer view of the question “How long is nail tech school” to complete your training!

If you are passionate about taking the nail technician exam to become a nail tech in the U.S., make sure to refer to our free nail technician practice test to help you efficiently prepare for the exam

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