How Much Does Nail Tech School Cost?

How Much Does Nail Tech School Cost

A majority of salons and spas prefer to hire people who have completed formal training at a nail tech school. If you’re interested in working in a spa applying tips or even fake nails, you could think about attending nail tech school.

As a nail technician, it will fall within your purview to trim, repair, and extend natural nails. Other tasks include inspecting the skin, cuticles, and nails of each hand and taking care of any necessary maintenance.

If you’re really interested to learn how much does nail tech school cost read this article completely and ask in the comments if anything is unclear to you.

How Much Does Nail Tech School Cost?

The minimum number of hours needed to finish a nail technology program varies from state to state, so the details of a typical program will depend on the school you choose, the courses it offers, and the area in which it is located.

The cost of going to school for nail technology could be anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000. But on average, you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $3,500. Costs for books and labs are not included.

After a lot of research, we’ve put together a list of the tuition costs for some of the best universities in the country.

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools says that the more you pay for your education, the more advanced it will be. During a program, you might spend as much as $10,000.

Think about Empire Beauty School’s popular Nail Tech Course. We’ve heard that it could cost as much as $27,000. That will depend on the school.

School Price Range
Academy of Nails and Esthetics $2,495 (with supplies)
Elaine Sterling Institute $14,900
Milan Institute $15,700
Ogle School $16,600
Dorsey School of Beauty $14,900
Mississippi Institute of Aesthetics Nails & Cosmetology $24,600
Paul Mitchell Schools $16,000
Universal Spa Training Academy $11,400

Nail Tech Schools Overview & Offered Courses

To become certified, you must have your high school diploma/GED and be at least 18 years old.  You will need to pass the school’s course and pass your state’s licensing exam. 

Students will have two options:  either passing a certificate course in nail technology or pursuing an associate’s degree in cosmetology.

These programs will be offered through community colleges, for-profit colleges, vocational schools, and private beauty schools.

While each school will have its own course layout, the fundamentals should be the same.  Successful students will learn about manicures, pedicures, applying nails, the anatomy of the hands and feet, and treating disorders. 

Students will also learn about basic products, safety in the workplace, and sanitation methods.  Refer to our chart below for a sample from a local college.

The average school will last anywhere from 300 to 800 hours; again, this will depend on your local state laws.  Depending on if you’re part or full-time, this can be anywhere from three to 12 months.

Acrylic Nails
Fabric and Sculpting
Light-Cured Gels
Manicures and Pedicures
Massage Techniques
Nail Care Chemicals
Nail Care History
Nail Care Tools
Nail Design and Art
Nail Disorders
Nail Extensions
Product Knowledge
Safety and Sanitization

What Are The Extra Costs?

In many cases, your school may need that you purchase textbooks for each of your classes. You may spend anywhere from $25 to $200 for a standard textbook, depending on the field of study.

Since many nail tech programs place a focus on hands-on learning, you will need to invest in tools to help in your laboratories.

The materials made accessible to students will vary from class to class. The typical range for the cost of classroom materials is $10-$200. In certain laboratories, the textbook may not be the sole source of information.

Sometimes you have to pay to take the state licensing exam. The costs will be set by your own state.

To maintain your license in the future, several states mandate that you take CE courses.


  • Obtaining a license to practice in your state may need a certain number of hours of training. The necessities will change from state to state. It is common practice for prices to increase proportionally with the number of hours required. Take care not to record hours that aren’t necessary.
  • Be sure to verify the school’s legitimacy by looking into its accreditation status. Accredited schools have been developed by an accrediting agency and shown to meet the minimum requirements set by the state.
  • The BLS reports that a nail technician’s median annual income is $19,340. The market for this industry is anticipated to grow by 16% in 2022.

How Do I Cut Cost On Nail Tech School?

It’s important to compare at least two and preferably five different schools before deciding on one. To avoid wasting your time and money, research the school’s accreditation status.

You might consider purchasing used textbooks from places like Amazon or instead of buying them new from the school bookstore. This alone might result in cost reductions of up to 90%.

Do your research on possible financial aid options including grants and scholarships. The government and private sectors both provide financial aid to students thinking about entering this field.

You may be eligible for financial aid if you are enrolled in a school that has been recognized or authorized by the state. It’s possible that this approach might reduce the total cost of higher education. You should file out the FAFSA even if you don’t think you’ll be eligible.

The financial aid office at each institution will operate autonomously. Get in touch with this department to learn more about financial aid for higher education.

To choose the right school, you may want to use a school comparison website like NEOC.

Don’t just base your decision on tuition price, since more expensive schools may provide better opportunities. Examine whether or not the additional cost is warranted. It’s possible, for instance, that lab fee aren’t required at your school, but that they are at another.

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