In the fall of 2008, Jamestown, N.Y.-based nail tech Grace Almleaf responded to a want ad for a licensed nail tech placed by Jamestown Podiatry Associates. At her second interview, the doctors asked her if she was willing to obtain a Medical Nail Technician certification before coming on board. She said yes, and just a few months later donned a white coat to begin working for the busy practice. We asked her to tell us a little about life in a podiatry office.

What is a typical workday like for you?
My days begin at 7:45, with patients starting at 8 a.m. I work until 4:30 and generally stay on the clock until 5 p.m. to do patient notation from my day. I see between 18 and 22 patients per day, with a goal of eventually seeing 32 patients per day. My duties include routine nail care, which is a basic foot exam, scheduled nail clipping, debridement of calluses and corns, and enucleating of porokeratotic tissue (removing the painful core under a callus). I check patient medications, test diabetics for neuropathy, and recommend and schedule removal of ingrown nails as needed. I check the skin condition below the knee for a host of conditions, with a special concern for pre-ulcerative conditions, as the doctors here are associated with the wound care clinic at the local hospital. We also have an in-house orthopedic shoe program that I refer diabetics with neuropathy to. I basically serve as the doctors’ right hand in the office.

How is the environment different from working in a salon?
The environment is very different from the salon. We observe client confidentiality, while salons are usually more personal and easygoing. I wear a white lab coat and scrubs, with Easy Spirit closed-toed shoes. There are regular staff meetings, instead of drinks after work, etc.

What kind of on-the-job training have you received?
On-the-job training takes place every day. I am constantly learning new things, and the doctors I work for are fantastic teachers and skilled practitioners and surgeons.

What did you learn in the MNT program?
I learned the basics in the program with a special emphasis on sterilization techniques. The program really is a win/win for the ambitious nail tech out there who is willing to go the extra mile to raise the bar in our profession.

What are the rewards of working in this environment?
The rewards are as varied as the people and personalities of each nail tech. For me it is an opportunity to change and grow while working within my profession. It’s a chance to go deeper in nail care, and to work days only with no nights and weekends. For me that is the best reward, as I have paid my dues, so to speak, working nights and weekends all these years. If you are already a successful nail tech, the money will probably be about the same or a little less. If you are just starting out in the business, you may make more.

Get With the Program
Founded by nail industry specialists Dr. Robert Spalding and Janet McCormick, the MediNail Learning Center offers two certificate programs. The Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) program is an online, three-module course that serves as a prerequisite for the Medical Nail Technician (MNT) program. MNT training is intended for a medical setting only, such as a podiatrist’s office or medical spa. The MNT is trained to assist the physician in his or her podiatry practice as well as perform cosmetic and medical pedicures on patients. For more information, go to


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