Nail Technician Schools in California
Now may be the perfect time to become a nail technician in California. Not only is it considered the 9th most beauty-obsessed state in the country, but it's also experiencing more than double the national anticipated growth for manicurist jobs. Read on to learn about becoming a nail specialist in the state, including everything you need to know about getting and maintaining your California nail technician license.
Browse our directory of nail technician schools in California, or skip ahead to learn about the state's nail technician licensing requirements and job outlook.
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Chula Vista, CA 91911
13266 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
2822 F Street Suite H
Bakersfield, CA 93301
731 West Shaw Avenue Suite A
Clovis, CA 93612
780 Loughborough Drive
Merced, CA 95348
75-030 Gerald Ford Drive Suite 203
Palm Desert, CA 92211
3100 Mchenry Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350
Asian-American International Beauty College – Accredited
Westminster, CA 92683
Inspire Academy of Barbering and Cosmetology – Accredited
Stockton, CA 95203
International College of Beauty Arts & Sciences – Accredited
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Mixed Institute of Cosmetology and Barbering – Accredited
Sacramento, CA 95823
San Francisco, CA 94103
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How to Become a Nail Technician in California
- 400 education hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 2 years.
- 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for manicurists in California is $26,940 ($12.95/hour). This is higher than the national average of $25,770 ($12.39/hour).
- There is a predicted 21% job increase between 2016–2026 for manicurists. This is higher than the expected national growth of 10%.
To qualify for a California nail technology license, you need to have:
What to Expect From a Nail Technician Program in California
Time to complete a Nail Technician program in California
A California nail technician program—also called a manicurist or pedicurist training program—must provide at least 400 hours of technical instruction and practical training.
Technical instruction in a nail technician training program includes demonstrations, lectures, class participation, and exams. Nail technician training programs are divided into the following subjects:
Check the accreditation of a training program before enrolling. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology offers a list of approved schools.
Can You Be Licensed Via a Nail Technician Apprenticeship in California?
Manicurist apprenticeships aren't permitted in California.
California Nail Technician Licensing Requirements
To perform manicures, pedicures, and other nail services for a fee, you need to pass the California State Board examinations or the National Interstate Council (NIC) examinations and receive your state license after completing your training.
The exam is split into two portions: a written part and a practical part, which you'll take on the same day. You'll need to submit an application to take the exam and receive your license. You'll also need to pay the exam and licensing fee. The cost of the exam and your initial license is $110 total.
The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has two permanent testing sites. One is in Fairfield (Northern California), and the other is in Glendale (Southern California). The practical portion of the exam must take place at one of these two sites. You may be able to reschedule the written portion of your exam to another location. The California manicurist licensure exam is available in English, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish. If the exam isn't available in your native language, you may be able to bring an interpreter.
When preparing to take the California State Board examination, visit the California state licensure exam website to ensure you have up-to-date guidelines. This is important, as some exam criteria are routinely updated. For example, in 2021, updates to the guidelines meant disinfectant sprays will no longer be allowed at the testing site. Instead, test candidates are expected to bring EPA-registered disinfectant wipes.
California Nail Technician Licensure Reciprocity
If you're licensed as a nail technician in another state and are in good standing, you may be eligible for licensure reciprocity when you move to California. If your out-of-state license was active for three of the last five years and you have no disciplinary action or criminal convictions on your record, you may be granted a California manicurist license without having to take the examinations.
Nail Technician License Renewal in California
License renewal period
Continuing education required
You need to renew your California nail technician license every two years. Renewing your license doesn't require any additional continuing education hours. The cost to renew your California manicurist licensure is $50 for two years, as long as you renew your license before it expires. If you renew your license after it expires, the cost to renew is $75.
Nail Technician Salary in California and Projected Job Growth
Average yearly salary for Nail Technician in California
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for manicurists and pedicurists in California $26,940 ($12.95/hour) as of 2019.
California has the country's highest employment of manicurists and pedicurists, and the number of these jobs is increasing. Positions are expected to grow by 21% from 2016-2026, compared to 19% in the greater U.S. from 2019-2029.
Contact the California State Board of Nail Technology
Resources for Nail Technicians in California
California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology
BarberCosmo is the central resource for all information about the beauty field in California. Here, you can find all information about exams, licensure, and all other rules and laws associated with your career.
Associated Nail Professionals (ANP)
This is a membership-based organization offering liability insurance, discounts, resources, educational materials, and website hosting for nail professionals.
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA or DOSH)
This state agency sets and enforces safety standards; provides outreach, education, and assistance; and issues permits, licenses, certifications, registrations, and approvals.
California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP)
Administered through the California Department of Public Health, this program collects information on hazardous or potentially hazardous ingredients in cosmetic products and makes this information available to the public.
National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC)
NIC is a collection of state licensing boards. It promotes standardization of regulations in cosmetology fields throughout the U.S. and Guam. NIC also develops and maintains licensure examinations for cosmetology fields, including the National Nail Technology Practical Examination (PDF).
Professional Beauty Association (PBA)
This organization provides paying members resources, support, advocacy, and connections to grow their careers. Members include stylists, makeup artists, manufacturers, freelancers, salons, spas, employees, beauty schools, and students.
Professional Beauty Federation of California (PBFC)
This organization works on behalf of California's beauty industry to promote and raise the field's professionalism through public relations and image-building activities.