Manicurists and Pedicurists

What Manicurists and Pedicurists Do

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.

Work Environment

Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a nail salon, spa, or hair salon. The job involves a lot of sitting. Those who own a mobile grooming company travel to their clients’ locations.

How to Become a Manicurist or Pedicurist

Manicurists and pedicurists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and then pass a state exam for licensure, which all states except Connecticut require.


The median hourly wage for manicurists and pedicurists was $12.39 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. New types of nail services, such as mini-sessions and mobile manicures and pedicures, may drive employment growth.

Manicurists and pedicurists clean, shape, and beautify fingernails and toenails.


Manicurists and pedicurists typically do the following:

  • Discuss nail treatments and services available
  • Remove nail polish
  • Clean, trim, and file nails
  • Reduce calluses and rough skin
  • Massage and moisturize hands (for a manicure) and feet (for a pedicure)
  • Polish or buff nails
  • Advise clients about nail and skin care for hands and feet
  • Promote and sell nail and skin care products
  • Clean and disinfect their work area and tools

Manicurists and pedicurists work exclusively on the hands and feet, providing treatments to groom fingernails and toenails. A typical treatment involves soaking the clients’ hands or feet to soften the skin in order to remove dead skin cells. Manicurists and pedicurists apply lotion to the hands and feet to moisturize the skin. They also may shape and apply polish to artificial fingernails.

Manicurists and pedicurists use a variety of tools, including nail clippers, nail files, and specialized cuticle tools. They must be focused while they perform their duties, because most of the tools they use are sharp. Keeping their tools clean and sanitary is important.

Some manicurists and pedicurists operate their own nail salon, which requires performing business tasks such as keeping inventory records and ordering supplies. They also hire and supervise workers and sell nail care products, such as nail polish and hand or foot cream. A small but growing number of workers make house calls. Mobile manicure and pedicure services are popular because clients consider them convenient.

Manicurists and pedicurists held about 155,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of manicurists and pedicurists were as follows:

Personal care services 70%
Self-employed workers 27

Manicurists and pedicurists usually work in a nail salon, spa, or hair salon. The job involves a lot of sitting. Manicurists and pedicurists who provide mobile services may travel to their clients’ locations.

Manicurists and pedicurists use chemicals when working on fingernails and toenails, so they often wear protective clothing, including protective gloves and masks.

Work Schedules

Although most manicurists and pedicurists work full time, many have variable schedules and work part time. Schedules may vary according to the type of establishment. For example, a full-service salon may require manicurists and pedicurists to work an 8-hour day. However, a boutique hair salon may require fewer work hours on a part-time basis. Longer work days are not unusual for self-employed workers. Weekends and evenings tend to be the busiest times for manicurists and pedicurists.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of manicurists and pedicurists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and a range of other beauty services.

Postsecondary nondegree award $26,270

Skincare Specialists

Skincare specialists cleanse and beautify the face and body to enhance a person’s appearance.

Postsecondary nondegree award $34,090

For information about training and cosmetology schools, visit

American Association of Cosmetology Schools

Beauty Schools Directory

International Pedicure Association

For information about state licensing, practice exams, and other professional links, visit

National–Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology

Professional Beauty Association


Manicurists and Pedicurists

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Manicurists and Pedicurists,
at (visited ).