Nail Technology

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Are you creative? Do you have artistic ability that you want to apply to nails? Have you the patience to become a successful nail technician? There are a few courses available that might suit you and help you on your career path.

What is nail technology?

A nail technician is responsible for the grooming and appearance enhancement of fingernails and toenails. Nail technicians provide manicures and often may paint different designs, apply gel nails and extensions. 

What third level courses are available?

Colleges in Ireland offer courses in the following courses in this area:

  • Beauty and Body Therapy with Nail Technology (PLC)
  • Nail and Beauty Care (PLC)
  • Nails Technician and Salon Administration (PLC)
  • Nail Technician with Eye & Brow Treatments (PLC)
  • Nail Technology (PLC)
  • Nail Technology with Eyelash and Eyebrow Treatment (PLC)
  • Photographic Make-up and Nails Technician (PLC)

Studying Nail Technology in college 

The majority of courses offered are PLC courses and are either Level 5 courses but you may also find courses that are Level 4 or Level 6. Courses will normally be 1 year in length, depending on the exact course you choose. There is also a course that is 13 weeks long. There are other courses offered by beauty schools but here we will look at courses in relation to Further Education in colleges around Ireland. All courses will allow you to develop the relevant skills and knowledge needed to work in the area and to build a career in nail technology. 

As seen from the list of courses offered above, the majority of courses are paired with another area within the beauty industry such as eye brow treatment or make-up, for example. In a nail technology course you will combine practical and theoretical work. Courses are generally quite intensive. 

Areas you cover may include sculpted gel nails, sculpted acrylic nails, manicure and pedicure, airbrush nails, nail art, 3D nail art, electric file and hand and foot treatments. Some courses will implement the business side should you aim to open your own salon and provide you with the opportunity to study modules such as business design and salon design as well as delving into the anatomy of both the hands and the feet. 

Career Options

There are a few different options you can take in the area of working as a nail technician. You can work in a  salon set up, set up a salon of your own or you can freelance. As well as this you can pair nail tech with another area in the beauty industry such as eyelash extensions, for example, or continuously add to your certificates to develop your career and increase knowledge and experience in order to work towards your own business. 

Skills and qualities that are helpful in this area include artistic ability, creativity, excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills, customer service, strong time management skills, organisation skills, a business mind, patience and the ability to keep up to date on new trends, skills and knowledge that may emerge. It is also important to build trust with your customers and ensure you listen to their requests and meet their expectations. 

As mentioned above, other courses available may be provided in beauty salons or beauty schools aside from PLC courses. 

Related Jobs

  • Nail technician
  • Nail Art
  • Salon owner
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Beautician
  • Hairdresser
  • Hair Stylist
  • Makeup artist 
  • Massage Therapist
  • Spa owner

Further Study

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Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

Some courses may require interviews or portfolios upon applying and getting a space on particular courses. Like many courses in the beauty industry, natural skills and artistic ability can often be focused on rather than results. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • Fingernails grow an average of 3.5 millimetres per month
  • Nails are made up of keratin, the same as your hair is made up of keratin 
  • Men’s nails tend to grow faster than female nails


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