About the Nail Care Program

Work in a salon or spa as a manicurist and launch a rewarding career in nail care. This career path offers real-world training in nail care including hand and foot treatments, nail designs and nail repairs. You will take classes specifically designed to help you pass both the practical and written portions of the California State Board of Cosmetology licensing examination for manicurists.

Licensed manicurists are able to perform many nail care services including:

  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Acrylic nails
  • Gels
  • Artificial nail tips
  • Nail wraps
  • 3D nail art
  • Nail repairs

All students who complete the nail care program at SMC earn a Department Certificate and become eligible to take the California State Board of Cosmetology licensing exam for manicurists.

To qualify to take the California State Board of Cosmetology exam for manicurists, you must complete a minimum of 400 hours of training. Santa Monica College offers many opportunities to fulfill your training hours as you work toward your license. 

Our nail care program is available for full- and part-time students.

Degrees and Certificates

Department CertificateDepartment Certificate More information on the Department Certificate

Gain skills quickly with this short term program, then leverage them to get ahead in your career.

Estimated Timeline:
1 year or less, 18 units or less

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Department Certificate - Nail CareDepartment Certificate

9+ units

The Nail Care program provides students with professional-level skill in manicures, pedicures, nail tips, acrylics, gel nails, and 3-D nail art. Additionally, students will become proficient in health and safety procedures commonly practiced in salons and spas. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to take the State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering/NIC Manicure licensure exam.

PDF FileView Requirements for the Department Certificate

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Potential Career Options

Click on any job title to learn more.

Job Title Typical Education Median Wage
Manicurists and Pedicurists A High School Diploma or More $22,290

Learn more about becoming a manicurist and pedicurist.