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The First of its Kind on the Island [Honolulu Nail Academy school profile]

Honolulu Nail Academy is the only nail school in the entire state of Hawaii. With students from all over the world, the academy even lets aspiring nail techs take some of their lessons online.

 <p>New graduates at Honolulu Nail Academy celebrate completion of the nail tech program.</p>

Honolulu Nail Academy is the only nail school in the entire state of Hawaii. With students from all over the world, the academy even lets aspiring nail techs take some of their lessons online.


When Honolulu Nail Academy (HNA) opened in 2004, it became the only nail school in the entire state of Hawaii. It continues to fill a niche to this day as the sole option on the island for nail-focused training.

Owners Eric and Yuko Ho originally opened the academy because they saw a serious lack of education regarding nails on the island.

“They recognized a need in the training of nail technicians and wanted to share their knowledge and emphasize the importance of proper technique,” says instructor Jessica Taylor.

Most significant was a lack of proper understanding of state rules and regulations for sanitation and disinfection, Taylor adds.

The school filled that void by providing students in Hawaii with the resources to learn from experienced professionals.

“In our curriculum, we continue to exceed the state requirements and teach our students advanced techniques, updates to products, and industry changes,” Taylor adds.

HNA is located in the neighborhood of Waikiki on the island of Honolulu, a strategic spot that makes it convenient for students throughout the state to attend.


Curriculum at HNA is 100% focused on nails, and the school even offers online lessons, allowing students to attend the school part-time.

“They are responsible to read each chapter on their own at home and submit their workbook assignments and quizzes online,” Taylor says.

Those online students then come to class at noon to begin the in personpart of their lessons with full-time students. Full-time attendance is usually from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Taylor, who has worked for the school for over eight years, says the school is always up to date on what’s going on in the industry “The curriculum is being continually updated to reflect the changes in the industry,” she says. “We emphasize both theoretical knowledge as well as a lot of what it is really like when you work in a salon.”

Students at the academy are equipped with the skills to succeed in the business of nails after completing the required 350 hours.

<p>These nails were designed by a student of Honolulu Nail Academy.</p>

Manicuring, pedicuring, acrylic nails, gel nails, wraps, nail art, 3-D art, and waxing are the primary focuses of education at HNA.

“Our students learn within a caring and nurturing environment with the focus on both personal and professional development,” Taylor says. “We are passionate about all aspects of nail technology and our mission is to empower our students with theoretical and practical skills needed to succeed.”

Live demonstrations for every procedure are common while teaching at the academy. Instructors are hands-on in guiding students in their education to ensure they get everything they need out of the lessons.

“We all have a passion for the student’s education, which is always our first priority as well as a professional responsibility to the nail industry,” Taylor adds.

 <p>Every Tuesday and Thursday Honolulu Nail Academy takes appointments from the public for services performed by students.</p>


The student body is just as international as local at HNA, and pupils come from as far away as Japan, Guam, Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Most students are mid-career in different fields looking to change professions.

The maximum number of students per the two and a half month courses is 14, and the school averages  eight to 10 students per session at five sessions per year.

HNA keeps in touch with graduates through a private group page on Facebook, where students are welcome to ask question and, get advice and updates on industry trends.

Students are also provided assistance by instructors in finding work after that graduate from the academy.

“We actually encourage students to apply with our affiliate salon, and we take them to area salons to take tours and apply,” Taylor says. “When the salons are looking for techs, they always contact us, and we get the word out to our graduates through Facebook.”

The student experience isn’t over at graduation as the graduates are  encouraged by instructors to keep contact and continuously update the academy on their progress “They are like family and we will be there for them,” Taylor says.

The school hopes to expand its curriculum in the future to include a wider range of courses, including a medical nail technician class.


School name:  Honolulu Nail Academy

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Owners:  Eric and Yuko Ho   

Square Footage:  800

Opened:  July 2004

Number of Employees:  3

Number of hours to complete the nail course:  350


You Might Also Like Reading About These Other Nail Only Schools:

The Academy of Nail Technology school profile

The Academy of Nail Design school profile

Editor’s Note:  This profile is part of a series spotlighting successful nail programs. To nominate a nail program for an article, please e-mail sree.roy[at]

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