We asked nail techs, students, and instructors, what would you improve/change about nail schools? Here are the answers:

Schools need to have people who are experienced and really know how to do nails. They should have an actual nail tech teach the classes; they are the ones who know all the little things that only come with experience.  Passing the state board does not prepare you to work in the field by any means. My nail tech class was taught by a hair stylist who had no idea, other than book instruction, how to do nails. It made the first year pretty rough.

— Alisa Solie, Jagged Edge Salon & Day Spa, Las Vegas


Upgrade products. I know they can be expensive, for sure, but also worth it! Teach the students to take pride in what they use.

— April Abeyta, The Mix Salon and Spa, El Paso, Texas


I think schools should teach more than just traditional nail techniques. They should expand and open their mind to teaching beyond the classroom basics. They should teach how to do 3-D nail art, and also encourage students to create their own nail art, maybe even teach them how to make their own polishes and stencils. There are a lot of nail techs out there, and a lot were never exposed to the deep possibilities of how creative they can get with nail art.

— Elizabeth Fernandes, VLSNails, Boston


I trained at a local college, and the training was awful. I got more training with recognized nail companies. Have better educators; have a session at some point with a nail professional.

— Rita Tailor, Ritzy’s Nail Boutique, Slough, Berkshire, U.K.


I would have to say more training on gel application and e-filing.  We need more theory and hands-on with those two. I’m in school to become a cosmetologist and then I will either train for that field or nails only as an instructor.

— Brandy Franklin, High Maintenance Glam Dolls, Pittsburgh  


A nail technician's profession is constantly changing, and one needs to keep up-to-date with education, art, techniques, and new products in order to stay competitive. Nail tech schools are no different when it comes to a need for re-invention. Oftentimes many students graduate and certify themselves, and yet the training was not sufficient to compete with other professionals. Furthermore, they go through many trials and errors, downfalls, and frustrations when they start work and are unable to deliver durable nail enhancements to customers. If there is something I could do to improve nail tech school, it would be to integrate an internship or mentorship program outside the school. Just as graduating doctors would do prior to graduation, nail school should be no different. Doing so would not only give our graduating students real life work experience rather than just practice, but it would also build their confidence and alliances with other professionals available for local live help and advice. 

— Melissa Loya, Liberty Nails by Melissa, Fort Riley, Kan.


The education the student receives does not prepare her for salon work, and I feel it is a total waste of their time. Most schools focus on passing the test, and that I would change. Services such as e-filing, gels, and gel-polish are not even part of the training. I have written for the Milady nail technology book for years, and although it has improved tremendously, it still is not enough.

— Vicki Peters, Master Nail Technician, KUPA Inc. Technical Specialist, Polish Salon, Brea, Calif.


I would love to see a bit more focus on nail art. Some of us are a bit lacking in creativity and could definitely use help with the added creative jolt from our educators! 

— Tanya Dangl, Barrie, Ontario, Canada


What would I do to improve nail schools?  I would spend more time preparing students for the real world as well as passing the state board — teaching them more of the skills they are going to use to make money.  I would also spend more time on the business aspect, such as teaching how to prepare a business plan and how to start their own business as well as fill their books.  I use NAILS’ Career Handbook as a teaching tool.

— Madelyn Johnson, Nail Tech Instructor, American National College, Houston


Teach the “real-life” world of the professional nail service business in its entirety. I believe it is essential to teach the actual business side of nails as well as theory and practical application. Demand all students perform real-time nail services, because allowing students to stagnate in slow performance and inconsistency for any lengthy period creates a level of mediocrity that makes the tech less than marketable in a competitive industry. A reputable salon/spa will avoid hiring a nail tech they will lose money on in order for the tech to learn how the “real world of nails and business” actually works. It is our duty as educators to educate completely.

— LeVonne King, LeVonne de Spa, Waterford, Mich.


What I would improve about nail schools is having them keep up with trends. I found that a few schools focus way too much on the same old designs and not enough time teaching about what's current. Yes, French will forever be a thing, but nail art with glitter and images etc. is booming in the industry. More nail schools should offer further education for updating skills, not just as a refresher but also for the tech to stay up to date with what’s current in the industry. Class size is another issue. Lots of schools have a 28-person class with a lot of techs coming out feeling like they didn’t get the attention they needed or wanted. I was grateful my school only had eight students, which meant a lot of one- on-one time for learning. That extra time for getting your worked checked over at least twice by the educator because she wasn’t spread thin by a too-large class really made a difference. It helped me gain the confidence to be proud of my work, which has contributed to the beginning of my career that I absolutely love!

— Cynthia Mckenzie- Cook, Modish Nails by Cynthia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


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