Picture of techs practicing manicures and pedicures
Feel stuck in a career rut? Use these 5 tips to take your nail profession to the next level.

Those first years out of nail school are full of promise and thrill when embarking on a new career. But over time, the luster can fade, and it's easy to become complacent in a job that was once so exhilarating. Fear not! There are always ways that you can transform your career into something that once again ignites your passion. Whether you take a class, find a mentor or learn a new technique, before you know it, your spirit will be sparkling as bright as your nails!


Become an Educator:
One way to take your career to the next level is by becoming an educator for a nail manufacturer. At first glance, it might seem super glamorous, between teaching classes, traveling to trade shows and being recognized as an expert in your field — and it is all that, but it's also a lot of hard work and commitment. But the payoffs in terms of professional- and self-growth can make it all worth it.


Take a Medi-Pedi Course:
Are you amazing at performing pedicures? Do you pride the way in which you care for your clients' feet? Then you may want to consider becoming certified in medical pedicures. This advanced training sets you up to care for every type of client, but specifically those who are compromised (i.e., have a chronic illness, such as diabetes) or are elderly. Once certified, many mani-pedi technicians work alongside podiatrists or in conjunction with them as a resource to which podiatrists can send their patients. Do your research to find the best course for you. Look for well-established and recognized programs, such as the North American School of Podology

Person doing a pedicure on a client

Compete in a Nail Competition:
Believe it or not, nail competitions are an amazing way to take your career to the next level. Not only do they help you build your application proficiency, but they also increase your service speed and allow you to charge more in the salon if you're an award-winning nail technician. Often, the hardest part is competing the first time, when nerves and self-doubt can be the biggest obstacles. But if you break it down, it makes it a much easier challenge to tackle. Start by finding a nail competition that's convenient for you; there are online competitions as well as in-person ones that are often associated with trade shows. Then, find a category that you're most comfortable in. Categories include hand-painted art, 3-D designs, salon-style nails, the traditional “competition” style nails and more. Make sure to read all the rules carefully before the competition, and practice beforehand. Then, see what happens; you might surprise yourself! If you need additional help, judges are always there to offer advice and support — even veteran competitors are often willing to share their experiences with you. The more you practice and compete, the better you'll do and the more fun you'll have!

Students learning how to do manicures

Expand Your Knowledge:
Are you stuck in a service rut where your clients all want the same things? So that's what you give them — day in and day out. But your clients also only know what they know. Perhaps it's time to give them more options. For example, if everyone in your salon/area is offering nail extensions with tips, maybe you should expand your skills to offer sculpted nail extensions? This custom service takes a bit longer, but it's also a premium one that you can charge more for. Do you like art, but only feel comfortable with a couple of designs? Take an art class that will allow you to recreate all those amazing designs you see on social media. The key is to find both a hole in the market and an area in which you're interested, then look for a class (either online or in person) to expand your skills.


Find a Mentor:
Whether you're new to nails or are a veteran in the field, it can always be beneficial to find a strong mentor to help sharpen your skills. The best mentor is someone who is open and willing to listen and answer your questions. You want someone experienced, but also patient, humble and helpful. Whether you're looking to compete in nail competitions, need advice about starting your own salon or just want to boost your marketing capabilities to attract more clients, a quality mentor can help you navigate unchartered waters and avoid unnecessary mistakes. Utilize the nail community at trade shows, on social media or even within your salon to find someone who can guide and share their experiences with you.