How to Become a Nail Technician in Australia

Becoming a successful nail technician in Australia requires training and certification, giving you the skills you need to follow your dreams. To get qualified, you’ll need to undertake a certificate or Diploma level course, choosing the option best suited to your needs and career objectives.

Each course will prepare you for a rewarding career through education and valuable, hands-on experience.

The question is, which is best, and how long will it take to complete?

Read on to explore nail industry training pathways, work and study options, skill development and salary potential.

What is a nail technician? 

A nail technician is a professional specialising in the care and creative transformation of toes and fingernails. You will find them working at beauty therapy salons, spas, nail salons & bars and home-based businesses across the country. Qualified nail technicians can manage a variety of in-demand tasks, including:


A manicure, derived from the Latin words for hand care, involves filing, buffing and shaping nails, cleaning cuticles and applying artificial nails, polish or other visual enhancements. Treatment may include soaking the hands or using a paraffin wax dip to moisturise and soften the skin.


Like a manicure, a pedicure aims to file, buff and shape toenails, clean cuticles and enhance the appearance of feet through nail polish or art. A pedicure often includes a foot bath and scrub to soften and remove hard, dead skin on the heel and ball of the foot.

Nail Enhancements

Nail technicians apply acrylic, gel, Shellac and dip powders to enhance the appearance and style of natural nails. Like all good professionals, nail technicians use their expertise to select the most suitable product for each client and nail type.

Nail Art

Creative technicians unleash their inner artist (and create a name for themselves) using sparkles, stickers, polish, delicate brush strokes and other decorative nail elements.

Nail Maintenance

A large part of the nail technician’s role is to provide ongoing nail maintenance for clients, including refills and fresh polish, to keep them looking red-carpet-worthy.


Hand and foot massage is offered with most nail treatments to increase blood flow and circulation, relax muscles, and help clients unwind.

Hygiene and Safety

Nail technicians train to provide a clean, safe treatment space that meets industry standards and best practices.

Do you need a licence or qualification to become a nail technician in Australia? 

You don’t need a licence or qualification to become a nail technician in Australia, but completing a nationally recognised nail training course will give you the skills and hands-on experience needed to provide high-quality treatments and stand out in the workforce. 

Getting qualified in Australia

Nail technician qualifications are pretty straightforward. The quickest way to get qualified is to enrol in a certificate course, like our Certificate III in Nail Technology [SHB30315]. 

This certificate will arm you with the practical skills and knowledge covering key areas of nail technology, including:

  • Basic manicure and pedicare services
  • Acrylic nail enhancements
  • Creative nail art 
  • Using electric file equipment for nail services
  • Apply cosmetic tanning products or business marketing, depending on your chosen study method
  • Salon safety and hygiene standards
  • Product recommendations and beauty industry trends
  • Salon business skills

Choose from a blended delivery method, combining face-to-face learning with online training, or study solely online, joining a weekly virtual classroom. 

Queensland residents may be eligible for the Certificate III Guarantee, which can make training more affordable for nail technology students. 

Alternatively, you can enrol in a Diploma of Beauty Therapy [SHB50115] to maximise your skills across nail technology, beauty therapy and salon management.

How much do nail technicians earn in Australia?

The average salary of a beauty therapist in Australia is $55,000 per year. However, this number is only an average and may change depending on your work hours, place of employment and location. 

And in good news, there will be plenty of work to keep you busy. The beauty therapy industry is thriving across Australia, and job growth for nail technicians is predicted to increase by 12.2% across the next five years.

What skills do I need to become a nail technician?

In-demand nail technicians possess a broad range of skills, allowing them to do their best work and positively interact with clients.

The top 6 skills you need as a nail technician include:

Great Communication

Strong communication skills are essential for nail technicians, from chatting with clients to understanding their needs. When you communicate effectively, you can listen and respond appropriately, assists with treatments, answer questions and tackle any problems that may arise. 

Technical know-how

Nail technicians must be proficient in various nail care and application techniques, including manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails and gel nail extensions.

Artistic flair

From high fashion nails to the creative and kooky, an eye for design will help to wow your clients and make an impression among your peers. 


As a nail technician, your hands and eyes are your most important tools. Practice and patience are required to help you refine your motor nail technician skills and keep your clients safe from harm.

Time management

Good time management is a non-negotiable in this line of work. You’ll need to know how to prioritise tasks and sometimes work with multiple clients to adhere to appointment schedules and keep things flowing.

Business skills

Having good customer service skills and an understanding of business processes will help you handle billing and admin, and give you a competitive advantage in marketing.

How long does it take to become good at nails? 

Students often ask this question, and the answer depends on a few factors. Choosing a well-rounded certificate course in nail technology with a registered training institution can fast-track your skill development and theoretical knowledge to get you job-ready in 6 months.

Attention to detail is essential, and the more you practice, the better you will become—that’s why we encourage students to volunteer their time with friends, family and relevant businesses to hone their skills. 

Begin your career as a qualified nail technician at Demi

Our expert team of advisors can help you choose the right course, get enrolled and explore flexible payment solutions. 

Picture of Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith

Sandra owns her own successful nail salon in Grange, Brisbane. Her highly commended career involves winning the overall Champion for INJA competition in 2017, the Overall Champion Emendee trophy in 2019, a 1st place win in the NZ nail competition and two 1st place wins in Antalya (Turkey) World Cup Nail Championship in 2021.

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