Whether walking along the seashore at Virginia Beach or going for a night out to a show at Theater IV in Richmond, the ladies of Virginia want their nails to look their best. As a nail technician, it will be your duty to finesse, sculpt, file, and paint your clients’ nails, while at the same time offering them any additional TLC they need.
Stability and career flexibility are just two of the reasons why many of today’s young professionals are choosing to pursue careers in manicuring.
To earn a nail technician license in Virginia you will need to meet the requirements set by the state’s Board of Barbers and Cosmetology. Follow these four easy steps to learn how:
|Complete Formal Nail Technician Education and Training|
|Pass the Virginia Nail Technician Written and Practical Exams|
|Obtain Your Nail Technician License|
|Start Your Career as a Professional Nail Technician in Virginia|
Step 1. Complete Formal Nail Technician Education and Training
Your first order of business will be to complete education and training requirements, which means graduating from a program offered through one of Virginia’s nail technician schools. The Department of Professional Occupation Regulation maintains a list of approved manicurist schools in Virginia, where you will find a choice of over three-dozen programs located in these cities:
- 7 in Richmond
- 3 in Virginia Beach
- 2 in Vienna
- 2 in Harrisonburg
- 1 in Chesapeake
Your nail technician courses and practical training must be at least 150 hours and cover the topics of:
- Manicures and pedicures
- Sculptured nails
- Nail wraps
- Individual removals
Option to Complete an Apprenticeship
You also have the option to complete an apprenticeship in place of the formal nail technician school requirement. You will need to arrange your apprenticeship through the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. The training you complete as part of your apprenticeship must total at least 2,000 hours.
Step 2. Pass the Virginia Nail Technician Written and Practical Exams
Next you will need to pass the nail technician written and practical exams, both of which are administered by the Ergometrics/National Testing Network (NTN). As you near the completion of your manicurist training program you will be eligible to apply for testing with NTN. Either apply online or by submitting a hard copy Examination and License Application to NTN.
When applying, you also have the option to submit an Application for a Temporary Permit, which will allow you to practice as a nail technician for up to 45 days. A temporary permit is valid between the time you pass your exams and the time it takes the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to issue your full manicurist license.
To prepare for these exams you should consult NTN’s Virginia Nail Technician Exam Candidate Information Bulletin. Both the written and practical exams are offered at testing centers in the following locations:
- Virginia Beach
Nail Technician Written Exam
You will have 120 minutes to complete the written exam, which is comprised of 95 multiple-choice questions that cover the following subjects:
- Sanitation, safety and infection control – 31 percent
- Nail services – 29 percent
- Virginia State Laws and Regulations – 20 percent
- Tools, equipment and implements – 9 percent
- Product knowledge and chemistry – 8 percent
- Anatomy and physiology – 3 percent
Nail Technician Practical Exam
You will need to bring a mannequin hand and all necessary supplies to complete the following procedures for your practical exam:
- Disinfection and initial set up -10 minutes
- Blood spill procedures demonstration – 10 minutes
- Manicure – 15 minutes
- Nail tip – 20 minutes
- Nail wrap – 20 minutes
- Sculptured nail – 20 minutes
- Polish – 15 minutes
- Disinfection and clean up – no time limit
Step 3. Obtain Your Nail Technician License
Once you have passed your tests with a minimum score of 75 percent you can log into your account with NTN, print a licensure application and send it to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. After your application and fee are processed you will be issued your nail technician license.
You will need to renew your license every two years, and the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation will notify you as your expiration date approaches. Each renewal will extend your license for an additional two years.
In general, if your education and examinations were equivalent to the nail technician license requirements in Virginia you would be eligible for in-state licensure (150 hours of training and passing scores on both written and practical examinations).
If needed, you can supplement a lack of 150 hours of nail technician education with six months of work experience. If you lack any of the required tests you will need to take these as an out-of-state applicant through NTN.
If your out-of-state qualifications are equivalent to the manicurist license requirements in Virginia you can submit an Application for a Licensure by Endorsement as a nail technician directly with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
Step 4. Start Your Career as a Professional Nail Technician in Virginia
Congratulations, once you have your license in hand you can apply for nail technician jobs anywhere in Virginia. Remember, professionals who work at Virginia’s top nail salons were once new licensees before they moved up to high-end establishments like:
- 21 Nail Lounge in Arlington
- Red Nails in Richmond
- Nail Studio and Day Spa in Reston
- Deluxe Nails and Spa in Virginia Beach
One of the benefits of pursuing a career as a manicurist is that your success is dependent on your own artistic abilities and client interactions. You may find that at some point in your career you are compelled to start your own business and open a nail salon of your own!