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New 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 UCOL's 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

21 Feb 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$6702.00Scholarship info

International Fees:*

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.

UCOL's 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 UCOL's nail salons in Palmerston North or Masterton, providing you with real industry experience, and honing your professionalism, relationship building skills and teamwork. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations:

This programme involves work experience, practicum placements or an internship. We therefore highly recommend you are vaccinated for COVID-19, as the Government’s mandates mean that many workplace providers will require you to be vaccinated before working with them. Work experience hours are an essential part of this programme. If you are not vaccinated, you will have very limited access to placement or work experience opportunities, which will affect your ability to complete this programme successfully.

You can see more information on this on UCOL's Covid-19 page, and on the Ministry of Health's website.

Here's a little 20 second snapshot:

 Career & Study Outcomes

Education pathway

This qualification may lead to higher level qualifications in beauty, including:

New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy

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

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

 Course Information

This programme comprises 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 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
  • Leglislation relating to 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)

 Industry Connections

Our students have opportunities to be involved in some of the region's premier events including:

  • Miss Teen Manawatū
  • Miss Manawatū
  • Evento
  • Youth Underground

 Learning Facilities

Students will use the skills they have learned to practice on real clients at UCOL’s 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


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

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

English Language Proficiency

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

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteriaapply.

 Advice & Guidance

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

Students 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 students need to be aware of the demands of carrying out basic First Aid procedures.

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

Students 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 students 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 Academic Statute and other relavant 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 Textbook   

  • The Art and Science of Beauty Therapy, EMS Publishing (approximately $65) (Wairarapa Only)
  • Milady Standard Nail Technology textbook (approximately $160)  (Manawatū)

Please go to to order this book.  It will be delivered to the UCOL information Centre at no additional cost and can be collected from there at your convenience.

Required Kit

  • Nail X student kit, full acrylic and gel kit, including lamp (approximately $754.37)

Students will be able to purchase this through UCOL. 

UCOL provides students 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 Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.