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What They Do

Manicurists and Pedicurists Career Video

About This Career

Cleans and shapes customers' fingernails and toenails. May polish or decorate nails.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Personal Care Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Cleans and sanitizes tools and work environment.
  • Applies undercoat and clear or colored polish onto nails with brush.
  • Maintains supply inventories and records of client services.
  • Shapes and smooths ends of nails, using scissors, files, or emery boards.
  • Prepares nail cuticles with water and oil, using cuticle knives to push back cuticles and scissors or nippers to trim cuticles.
  • Prepares customers' nails in soapy water, using swabs, files, and orange sticks.
  • Removes previously applied nail polish, using liquid remover and swabs.
  • Uses rotary abrasive wheels to shape and smooth nails or artificial extensions.
  • Schedules client appointments and accepts payments.
  • Assesses the condition of clients' hands, removes dead skin, and massages hands.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Nail Technician (Nail Tech) — Applies and decorates false nails and nail extensions, whilst consulting on the general health and well being of the client's hands and feet.


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  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733