Nail A New Career

The nail technician program at Clary Sage College is one way to obtain career training without breaking the bank

By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Education | Issue: May 2009

Erica Wright and Ella Malone, students in the nail technician program at Clary Sage College, get hands-on experience with clients.

“In this economy, we are seeing a lot of people who need career training, but do not have the time or money to invest in several years of school,” says Sara Harper, admissions representative for Clary Sage College in Tulsa. “This includes people who need a better job to make ends meet, as well as those in retirement who need extra income.”

The nail technician program at Clary Sage College is one way to obtain career training without breaking the bank, and without requiring a great deal of time. The program takes only 5 months to complete. “When you’ve completed the 20-week program and passed the State Board licensing exam, you are licensed and able to earn excellent pay,” says Sara. “The nail technology field is booming. We have more employers asking for nail techs than we have graduates to give them.”

In addition to those in need of a good job, a group that Sara encourages to consider pursuing this diploma is those who are interested in cosmetology, but are not 100 percent sure what they want to do. Enrolling in the nail technician program allows these students to work in the field and make client connections with less risk than committing to the year-long cosmetology program.

“I meet with a lot of high school graduates and working adults who want to go into the field of cosmetology, but don’t want to jump into a huge commitment that could cost them money if they change their minds,” says Sara. “I always encourage prospective students to start small until they are absolutely certain. If they complete the nail technology program and decide they want to go for cosmetology, their nail courses will transfer; they will not need to retake those classes.”    

In the nail technician program at Clary Sage, students learn how to do it all: manicure, pedicure, acrylic, hot oil, overlay, paraffin, gel, sculpture, hot stone, nail art and charms, French, airbrushed, and hand and foot massage. They study nail structure, nail esthetics, nail sanitation and nail hygiene, in addition to cosmetology law, marketing, business administration, and product knowledge. Classes meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and start every six weeks. The next round of classes begins June 1, 2009.

“The first three weeks of the program are what I call Beauty Boot Camp,” says Sara. “You really cover the basics and do a lot of hands-on activity with other students, staff and mannequins.”

The next 17 weeks includes one hour a day in class learning theory through illustrative textbooks and lectures. “We have great instructors and small class sizes, so it is very easy for students to get the attention they need,” explains Sara. The rest of the day is spent working directly with clients. “We have great walk-in business at Clary Sage, and we encourage students to invite their family and friends. They do a lot of networking and are really able to develop their clientele here.”

One of the most important aspects the program emphasizes is employability. By the end of the five months, students are well-versed in networking, customer service and all skills related to nail technology. Upon receiving their diploma, graduates are able to work in a variety of settings. “Clary Sage has a phenomenal lifetime job placement program. We focus on employment from day one, helping students constantly develop their talents, portfolios and resumes,” says Sara. “Graduates easily obtain jobs in nail salons, spas and upper-end salons, which are in high demand of quality nail technicians right now. We see a lot of people work out of their homes as well.”    

Continuing education is another option at Clary Sage. Students have the option of auditing certain courses after graduation. “If we begin offering a class that we did not offer when a student was enrolled, he or she can sit in on the class for free,” says Sara.

Federal financial aid and scholarships are available. Call Clary Sage College at

(918) 298-8200 or go online to to learn more about becoming a nail technician, or about enrolling in one of their other programs – cosmetology, esthetics, master instructor and massage therapy.

For more information, contact

Clary Sage College

3131 S. Sheridan
Tulsa, OK 74145
(918) 298-8200

Sheryl Sowell Profile Picture

About Author Sheryl Sowell

Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.

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