As a manicurist in Texas you will have the opportunity to work in a career field that offers flexibility and the chance for artistic expression, while at the same time making your clients look and feel their best. Whether serving an affluent clientele in Houston, a trendy crowd in Austin, or cowgirls in Amarillo, as a licensed nail technician in Texas you will be rewarded for your creativity and expertise.
To qualify for a manicurist license through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation with approval from the Texas Advisory Board on Cosmetology, follow these four steps:
|Complete the Manicurist School Requirements in Texas|
|Register for Your Exams and Licensure|
|Pass the Written and Practical Manicurist Examinations|
|Develop Your New Career While Maintaining Your License|
Step 1. Complete the Manicurist School Requirements in Texas
To legally do nails in Texas you will need to complete a nail technician program consisting of at least 600 hours of coursework and training. Enroll in one of the licensed cosmetology schools in Texas (search Inquiry by License Type – Cosmetology Schools) that offers nail technician courses.
By law, nail technician schools must offer programs that include:
- 320 hours covering procedures – manicure, pedicure, oil manicure, hand/arm massage, application of polish, buffering, nail extensions, nail repair work, and removal of stains
- 100 hours covering bacteriology, sanitation, and safety – rules, laws, methods, hazardous chemicals, safety procedures, and ventilation
- 80 hours covering professional practices – professional behavior, ethics, salon procedures, hygiene, grooming, and public relations
- 70 hours covering arms and hands – major bone functions, skin structure, growth, regeneration, muscles, nerves, and types of afflictions or diseases
- 15 hours covering manicurist orientation, laws, and rules
- 15 hours covering manicurist supplies, tools, and implements
Step 2. Register for Your Exams and Licensure
You will need to pass a written and practical examination to be eligible for a manicurist license. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has contracted the administration of these examinations to the testing company PSI.
To apply for these exams you will need to submit a Cosmetology License by Examination Application, indicating the Manicurist Specialty. You also have the option of applying for these exams online under the heading Cosmetology Manicurist.
Option for a Temporary Nail Technician Permit
To be eligible for a temporary permit, you must apply online and pay for a temporary manicurist permit. As soon as you pass your manicurist practical exam you are eligible for a temporary permit to begin practicing immediately. This is valid for 21 days and will allow you to work as a manicurist while the Department processes your full two-year license.
Option for an Esthetician-Manicurist Specialty License
Texas offers a unique license for those who are interested in combining the fields of esthetics and manicuring with its Esthetician-Manicurist Specialty License. The esthetician-manicurist job description would allow you to do your clients’ make-up and apply beauty creams while also permitting you to perform normal nail technician procedures. You can apply for this type of license using the same forms and procedures as a normal manicurist, however you will encounter a few additional requirements:
- You will need to complete an additional 600-750 hours of esthetician courses in addition to your original 600 hours of manicurist training
- You will need to pass a written and practical exam that includes aspects of both esthetics and manicuring
If you are already a licensed manicurist in another state you may be eligible for a Texas manicurist license based on reciprocity. This may be the case if your home state maintains licensing requirements similar to Texas – namely at least 600 hours of manicurist curriculum and the passage of both written and practical exams. Depending on what state you are from, you may be allowed to substitute for a lack of clock hours with work experience. Texas does not recognize out-of-state manicurists who were trained through an apprenticeship.
If you meet these conditions, you can complete a License by Reciprocity Application and submit it to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Step 3. Pass the Written and Practical Manicurist Examinations
Once the Department of Licensing and Regulation has determined you meet the nail technician license requirements it will send you an eligibility postcard with information that you can use to create an account with PSI and register for your exams.
You can begin preparing for the exams right now with PSI’s Manicurist License Examination Candidate Information Bulletin.
The written exam is offered in all of the following cities, with those offering the practical exam also indicated:
- Amarillo – also offering the practical exam
- Austin – also offering the practical exam
- Corpus Christi
- Dallas – also offering the practical exam
- El Paso – also offering the practical exam
- Fort Worth
- Houston – also offering the practical exam
- McAllen – also offering the practical exam
- Midland – also offering the practical exam
- San Antonio – also offering the practical exam
Once you have passed these exams the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will send you a license application form. When you have returned the application along with the licensing fee to the Department you will be issued your manicurist license.
Manicurist Written Exam
You will need to take this exam first. The questions are sourced from the following six main categories. You will have 100 minutes to complete the exam:
- Sanitation, disinfection, and safety – 27 questions
- Client consultation and analysis – 8 questions
- Manicure and pedicure – 7 questions
- Nail tips and nail wraps – 7 questions
- Gel and acrylic nails – 6 questions
- Regulations and licensing – 5 questions
Manicurist Practical Exam
You will have 90 minutes to complete the practical exam, and you will need to bring your own materials as detailed in the Candidate Information Bulletin. You will also need to bring a friend who is at least 16 years old to act as a model. You will demonstrate the following procedures to a professional evaluator:
- Disinfection and set up and disinfection – 10 minutes
- Manicure service using your model – 25 minutes
- Nail tip application on one nail of your model’s hand – 10 minutes
- Nail wrap on one nail of your model’s hand – 15 minutes
- Acrylic nail application on one nail of your model’s hand – 20 minutes
- End of exam disinfection – 10 minutes
Step 4. Develop Your New Career While Maintaining Your License
Nail technician jobs can be found virtually anywhere in Texas. This field offers stability and an opportunity for you to be artistic while also making your clients look great.
The Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan area offers one of the nation’s highest average manicurist salaries as compared to other metro areas in the United States.
Some of the best-recognized nail salons in Texas include:
- Whispering Waters Day Spa in San Antonio
- Hiatus Spa and Retreat in Austin, Dalla, and Plano
- Isle Pedispa in Houston
- Rumor Has It Day Spa in Houston
- Posh Nail Spa in Dallas
- NV Salon and Spa in Fort Worth
You will need to renew your manicurist license every two years, and doing this will mean completing continuing education. Before the end of each two-year renewal cycle you will need to complete four hours of continuing education from an approved provider. This will need to include one hour of education that relates to sanitation and three hours of education that relates to topics covered in your initial nail technician training program.
As you develop your career further you may be interested in renting your own space in an existing nail salon or day spa. Doing this will allow you to work for yourself, keep all your profits, and generally be more independent. This is often the step entrepreneurial nail technicians take before opening an independent salon. To rent out your own space you will need to complete a Mini-Salon License Application.