Nail Technology Schools in Pennsylvania

If you hope to become a nail technician—also called a manicurist and pedicurist, nail specialist, and nail tech—Pennsylvania may be the place for you. As of 2020, Pennsylvania was the eighth most popular state for tourism, thanks to its history and modern amenities. So, you could be doing the nails of people from all over the country.

Browse our directory of nail technology schools in Pennsylvania, or skip ahead to learn about the state's nail technology licensing requirements and job outlook.

Browse All Nail Technology Schools in Pennsylvania

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4026 Woodhaven Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154

Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

5100 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16509

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage Therapy, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training
The Beauty Institute – Accredited

344 Stroud Mall Road Suite 308
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

(732) 389-1400
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training
The Beauty Institute – Accredited

9902 East Roosevelt Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19115

(215) 490-9811
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Makeup Artistry, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

369 Schoonmaker Avenue
Monessen, PA 15062

(724) 684-8270
Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1980 Edinboro Road
Erie, PA 16509

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology

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Barber and Beauty Academy of Pennsylvania

3849 -C Union Deposit Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Barber School of Pittsburgh – Accredited

5056 William Penn Highway
Monroeville, PA 15146

Belle Institute

6534 Castor Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19149

Bucks County School of Beauty Culture Inc – Accredited

1761 Bustleton Pike
Feasterville, PA 19053

DeRielle Cosmetology Academy

44154 Railroad Avenue
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Fountain of Youth Academy of Cosmetology – Accredited

5824 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

KAT Beauty School – Accredited

2522 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132

Laurel Business Institute – Accredited

11 East Penn Street
Uniontown, PA 15401

Laurel Technical Institute – Accredited

2370 Broadway Avenue
Hermitage, PA 16159

Laurel Technical Institute – Accredited

11618 Cotton Road
Meadville, PA 16335

Laurel Technical Institute

200 Sterling Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146

Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School

833 Metro Drive
Lebanon, PA 17042

Queen Beauty Academy

6133 Colgate Street
Philadelphia, PA 19111

Shears Cosmetology School – Accredited

50 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17015

The Salon Professional Academy – Accredited

415 D Orchard Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601

The Salon Professional Academy – Accredited

130 West Main Street Suite 106
Collegeville, PA 19426

York County School of Technology

2179 South Queen Street
York, PA 17402

Nail Technology Schools Near Me

Check out the Nail Technology schools these cities in Pennsylvania have to offer.

How to Become a Manicurist in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Nail Technology Careers At a Glance
  • 200 education hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years by January 31.
  • 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for manicurists in Pennsylvania is $20,200 ($9.71/hour). This is lower than the national average of $25,770 ($12.39/hour).
  • There is a predicted 12% job increase between 2016–2026 for manicurists. This is higher than the expected national growth of 10%.

Pennsylvania has standards you must meet to become a nail technician, including:

  • Being 16+ years old
  • Having finished10th grade (or its equivalent) OR received training from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, unless you're a veteran or aged 35+
  • Completing at least 200 hours in a licensed school of cosmetology

You must also be open about any criminal record you may have. This record may not automatically bar you from getting your nail technician license in Pennsylvania. Still, there is a lengthy list of convictions that could result in you being denied licensure. The umbrella categories of these crimes are:

  • Assault, including reckless endangerment
  • Falsification and intimidation, like crimes of violence, kidnapping, and burglary
  • Forgery and fraudulent offenses, such as forgery or deceptive business practices
  • Inchoate (attempted or planned) crimes
  • Theft and related offenses

What to Expect from a Nail Technician Program in Pennsylvania

200 Education Hours

Required to earn a nail technology license

To earn your nail technician license in Pennsylvania, you need to spend 200 hours training in a state-approved school of cosmetology. You can confirm with the state board that your school is approved.

Your coursework should prepare you for your exam, including topics like:

  • Safety: Sanitation, accident prevention, and client privacy and communication
  • Nail structure and analysis: How to identify health and nail conditions that may affect treatment
  • Professional services: Massage, manicure/pedicure, tools, and more
  • Nail enhancements: Tips, gels, acrylics, etc.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Pennsylvania has determined up to 40 hours of nail technician training in professional practices, sciences, and practical skills review can be completed remotely.

Pennsylvania Nail Technician Licensing Requirements

Pennsylvania's licensure steps occur in what may seem like an unusual order:

  1. Turn in your licensure application
  2. Be notified if you're eligible for your license and approved to take your exam
  3. Schedule your exam
  4. Take your exam
  5. Assuming you pass and have completed all other requirements, be granted your license

You apply for your license via the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). To make sure you have everything you need before spending time and money to apply, click on their "application checklist" option near the top of the page. Answer the questions that follow to get to the right checklist for your situation. Assuming you're a first-time applicant who hasn't been licensed in another location, you need to have the following ready to submit with your application:

  • Notarized and sealed Cosmetology School Affidavit from each cosmetology school you attended
  • Criminal history records check from each state you've lived, worked, or studied in over the past five years
  • Proof that you've completed 10th grade (or the equivalent), passed the GED, or are a veteran or aged 35+ and exempt from those requirements
  • Cosmetology school transcripts
  • Headshot including your head and shoulders
  • Valid identification
  • $10 application fee
  • $93 exam fee submitted to Pearson Vue C/O Dasher Inc, which must be paid by money order, cashier's check, or company check

Pennsylvania is unique because they only require nail technicians to pass a theory exam. You don't need to do any nail treatments as part of your testing. The test involves 60 scored and 15 unscored questions, including:

  • 30% to 40% over rules, regulations, and safety
  • 15% to 20% over nail structure and analysis
  • 30% to 40% over professional services (e.g., specific procedures, equipment, and massage)
  • 12% to 18% over nail enhancements

Apply to take this exam on the Pearson Vue website. The earliest you can take it is once you've completed 150 education hours, and you won't be issued your license until you've fully completed your training.

If you need testing accommodations as per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you can request accommodations ahead of time. You need to include documentation of the disability from a diagnostic professional and information about accommodations you've had in the past. If approved, your accommodations will be tailored to your needs.

If you don't pass the exam, you may retake it. You'll owe the full $93 each time you retake.

Pennsylvania Nail Technician Licensure Reciprocity

Pennsylvania has nail technician license reciprocity agreements with most states, except:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • West Virginia

If you're currently licensed in one of those states, you'll need to pass the Pennsylvania nail technician exam to get your license. If you're licensed in any other state, you may be able to waive the exam.

Nail Technician Licensure Renewal in Pennsylvania

2 Years

License renewal period

0 Hours

Continuing education required

Nail technician licenses must be renewed by January 31 every two years—you'll be assigned an even or an odd year—and applications are completed on the PALS site. The window to apply for renewal opens 30-60 days before the expiration dates, and you should apply early to make sure you can handle any hiccups that may arise before your license expires.

Pennsylvania Nail Technology Careers


Average yearly salary for nail technology in Pennsylvania

As of 2019, Pennsylvania nail technicians earn an average of $20,200 ($9.71/hour). The number of these jobs is expected to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028.

Contact the Florida State Board of Nail Technology

Pennsylvania Department of State

Resources for Nail Technicians in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology
Part of the Pennsylvania Department of State, the board's website contains information about Pennsylvania cosmetology laws, licensure, and more.

Nail Technology

How to Become a Nail Technician in Your State