HomeProgrammesBeauty & HairdressingNew Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology

New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology

Level 4

Gain the skills to work in the glamorous world of beauty and manicures with the UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology.

  • UCOL students working on clientsUCOL students working on clients
  • UCOL students working on nailsUCOL students working on nails
  • Buffing acrylic nailsBuffing acrylic nails
  • Nail technology training centreNail technology training centre
  • Working in UCOL's nail salonWorking in UCOL's nail salon
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year full-time (40 weeks)
Part-time option available.
(See Course Hours & Duration for details)

26 Feb 2024 - 29 Nov 2024

Domestic Fees: *

Scholarship info

International Fees:*
$25,00.00 + Student Services Levy $591.00

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

The UCOL New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology will teach you how to perform manicures, pedicures, acrylic and gel nail application, nail sculpture and 3D nail art to a professional standard.

Practical experience

Regular client days are incorporated into the learning process at one of the UCOL nail salons in Palmerston North, providing you with real industry experience, and honing your professionalism, relationship-building skills and teamwork. 

 Course Hours & Duration

This programme runs for 40 weeks, including 6 holiday weeks.

Per week, your learning will include approximately:

Class Time
18 hrs

Lectures, tutorials and/or online recordings, salon practicals, timetable set by your lecturer.
Industry Experience
2 hrs

Practicum, work experience in a beauty clinic.
Study Time
15 hrs

Study in your own time.

You can also choose to study part-time, or possibly by paper. Talk to us about your options with this programme.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Education pathway

Graduates of this qualification may be employed or contracted in positions such as:

  • Nail technician 
  • Nail artist 
  • Brand or product company representative.

 Course Information

Note: As a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, UCOL Te Pūkenga is committed to providing the best learning outcome for you. As part of this, all programmes are currently being reviewed to make them portable, consistent, and closely aligned with the needs of the industry. When published, this course information is correct, but the courses offered may change over time. If you have any questions call an Enrolment Advisor on 0800 468 265.

This programme consists of 120 credits. 

Professional Workplace Standards (15 Credits)
Develop an understanding of the knowledge and skills required to work as a professional nail technician. The course covers:

  • First aid
  • Health and safety
  • Professional standards and expectations
  • In-depth consultation and needs analysis for nail technology services

Nail Technology Science (20 Credits)
Acquire the theoretical knowledge required to safely and independently offer nail technology services. The course covers:

  • The types of micro-organisms and methods of control within the nail salon
  • Contagious and non-contagious nail diseases and disorders, highlighting appropriate treatment plans and/or referral
  • The anatomy of bones and muscles of the lower arm and lower leg relevant to nail technology
  • The structure and function of the nail, relevant to nail technology
  • The chemistry of products used in relation to nail technology

Business Practice (15 Credits)
Develop the skills and knowledge required to successfully establish and operate a small nail technology business. The course covers:

  • Types of businesses
  • Business plans and start-up costs
  • Council regulations for setting up a small nail technology business
  • Employing staff
  • Tax requirements
  • Keeping financial records
  • Stock control and ordering
  • Market research
  • Understanding the market
  • Promoting a business
  • Legislation relating to the selling of goods and services
  • Customer service
  • Communication methods
  • Taking payments
  • Re-booking and retailing
  • Booking systems and technology
  • Cashing up/close of day procedures

Natural Nail Services (15 Credits) (20 Practicum Hours)
Learn to provide a range of natural nail services to meet industry expectations and standards. The course covers:

  • Anatomy related to natural nail services
  • Products, tools and equipment used for nail services
  • Massage techniques for hands and feet
  • Manicure and pedicure techniques and processes
  • Nail shapes
  • Nail and skin analysis
  • Gel polish theory and application methods
  • Consultation techniques
  • Hygiene, health and safety in relation to nail services
  • Client positioning
  • Treatment aftercare and home care recommendations and advice
  • Referring clients
  • Specialist treatment and nail enhancements

Nail Augmentation Acrylic Enhancements (20 Credits) (20 Practicum Hours)
Learn to work to industry professional standards with the liquid and powder acrylic enhancement materials. The course covers:

  • Tip and overlay enhancement services including in-depth consultation
  • Sculptured nail enhancement services to meet client expectations
  • Rebalance, repair and removal services to meet client expectations
  • Current and emerging industry trends in relation to liquid and powder acrylic nail services

Nail Augmentation Gel Enhancements (20 Credits) (20 Practicum Hours)
Learn to provide gel enhancement services to industry standards, inclusive of tips and overlays, sculptured nails and maintenance.

Nail Art Services (15 Credits) (15 Practicum Hours)
Learn to design and provide custom nail art services, using a variety of art media, to meet industry requirements.

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • National Certificate in Beauty Services (Nail Technology)

 Learning Facilities

Learners will use the skills they have learned to practice on real clients at the UCOL purpose-built nail salon.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 2
Equivalent academic achievement
On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

English language proficiency
If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5 with no band score less than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).


For more information about NCEA Credits see the UCOL Te Pūkenga NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international learner applicants.

English language proficiency
International learner applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

Excellent personal presentation is required on this programme at all times. A uniform is provided for learners and this must be worn for all practical classes and clinics.

Learners need to be aware of the physical requirements in meeting industry standards in the nail technology workplace.

As First Aid is a component of this programme learners need to be aware of the demands of carrying out basic First Aid procedures.

Good eyesight, with or without corrective lenses, is required in order to effectively carry out nail technology treatments.

Learners are required to put any special needs or requirements in writing and advise the programme leader prior to the programme start date.

In order to achieve the written components of the programme learners will need to have basic numeracy and literacy skills. To optimise chances of success, 100 per cent attendance is strongly recommended.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL | Te Pūkenga Academic Statute and other relevant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs

Required Kit

  • Nail student kit, full acrylic and gel kit

Learners will be able to purchase this through UCOL

UCOL provides learners with a tunic to wear to all practical classes (approximately $90)

One or two pairs of black, 3/4 or full-length pants (approximately $50 a pair)

One pair of flat, black, enclosed shoes ( approximately $50)

Stationery (approximately $30)

  • Ring binder/s
  • Refill
  • Subject dividers
  • Pens/pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Pen drive


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, and Universal College of Learning Limited, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga is accredited to teach it.