Student Information Q&A

Hello to all our students, graduates and customers!

Q. What are Essential Nails courses?

Essential Nails courses are home study courses based around the famous Nail Trainer practice hand* which facilitates the main thing you need when learning nails: Practice Practice! Practice! You watch a lesson on line, copy what you see on your own Nail Trainer. When you’re happy with your work, you unclip the nails and send them to us on special ‘progress cards’ for assessment and certification.

*Some courses, such as the Manicure and Pedicure are carried out on clients and you send in photographic evidence for the assessment process.

Q. What courses do you offer?

  • Gel Nails (also called Gel Tip & Overlay or Gel Extensions).
  • Acrylic Nails (also called Acrylic Tip & Overlay or Acrylic Extensions).
  • Manicure & Pedicure. (Also incudes associated spa treatments and techniques).
  • Gel Polish. (UV cured polish).
  • Nail Art.
  • One Stroke Art.
  • Acrylic Art.
  • Freehand Art.


Q. Are your courses just ‘theory online’.

No. The video lessons and tests are delivered to your mobile, tablet or laptop via our on-line Academy. You watch these lessons and copy what you see using the tools and products. You create nails on the Nail Trainer hand and send them to us on special cards for assessment and certification. You learn a practical skill, not just theory. You will learn the correct techniques similar to what you would learn in a classroom.

Q. How do I get qualified? How do I get a certificate?

You have to sign up for the tools & products, assessment & certification options and you will need a Nail Trainer practice hand. Work through the videos, answer the question papers, create your nails and send them in for assessment. If you pass we issue your certificate.

Q. How many certificates are there?

The are separate certificates for each of the courses. So currently 9 in total.

Acrylic, Gel, Gel Polish, Manicure, Pedicure, Nail Art, One Stroke Art, Acrylic Art, Freehand Art.

Q. Are your certificates recognised? Can I get insurance?

Yes. Essential Nails graduates and the certificates awarded are recognised in the industry and accredited by The Beauty Guild. They will enable you to get insurance if you want to start working in a salon or start your own business doing nails.

Q. What if I get stuck?

You have a student coach available on the end of the phone or by email or social media messaging who will be happy to help. If you get really stuck then you can attend our HQ for face to face help. However, we have solved 99% of issues that students come across many times over by coaching over the Internet and exchange of nails by post.

Q. Is it best to work from home or in a salon?

That comes down to whether you want to work full time or at times that suit you. If you are looking for a full time wage then a salon is better as it will have an established clientele. If you want a flexible work style working from home or mobile is the way to go. You can work as much or as little as you want, depending on the number of clients you take on. Different ways of building a career is an exciting subject and one it’s a great idea to give us a call on this as we have years of experience helping new nail techs get started. There’s no obligation or cost, we’re here to help people build great careers. 01440 844 860. 

Q. What should I expect to earn once qualified?

Working from home or mobile or a combination of both is very popular as a way of generating additional income. If you take on say 10 clients, which is very doable, they will require on average 2 nail treatments a month. Depending on the treatment you will charge £20 - £40 for each service so £400 to £800 per month, less your costs, which will be about 10% of that. 

If you work in a salon it depends on whether you are employed on a fixed salary or rent a desk from the salon owner and you get the income from ‘your’ clients. There’s a lot of variations on the salon mode so again, giving us a call for a friendly chat is a really useful way of learning about the topic.   

Q. How long has Essential Nails been teaching nails?

Essential Nails invented the Nail Trainer hand in 1997. It was the first company to create practical distance learning courses based around the Nail Trainer. It has trained approximately 2,000 students per year since 2010.

Q. If I don’t get on with the course can I return it?

Yes, you can change your mind and return the course for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Any tools and products used or missing will be deducted from the refund.

Q. Can I transfer my course to someone else?

Yes, but there is a charge, unless transferring to a family member. Please contact us for more information if you wish to do this.

Q. I don’t have access to the internet, can I get a DVD version of the course?

Yes you can. DVD’s are available, and they come with a paper version of the tests, so it can all be done without access to the online academy. Please contact us if you want to take up the DVD option.

Q. I used to have an account with prior to February 2019, do I need to open a new account now?

Yes you do. The website and systems were all updated in February 2019. Please register for a new account on this website to continue to receive support, assessment and certification for the courses you have and to buy any tools and products you need.

Q. I’m doing an Essential nails course, but have not had time to complete it. I’ve seen there is a cut-off date to complete the courses. What is this date?

For all students completing DVD based courses enrolled prior to February 2019, there continues to be no time limit. Complete the course in your own time and send in your work for assessment when you are ready. Online delivered video courses where you have enrolled after February 2019 have to be completed in 12 months. See ‘Time limits’ below.

Q. Will I be able to buy tools and products as I learn, and after I’ve graduated? 

Yes, please use the new website to purchase the items you need. You will find the products you are most likely to need for your course under the 'Vital Supplies' drop down: Nail Trainer Nails (refit packs), tips, glues, basic Gels and Acrylics.

Q. What is ‘Aspire’ How do I join? 

Aspire is a rewards program for our graduates. Once you join you will enjoy a 10% discount on all nail products. 

You have to have passed one of our courses and received your certificate, simply send us an email to with the subject line "Apply my Aspire discount", include your details. We'll check your course graduation, and switch your account over to Aspire.

Q. What are the channels for student support?

Email to telephone 01440 844 860 and via our Facebook and instagram pages. We will be live on the phones, and respond to emails and messages within 4 hours, Mondays to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Q. Can I still pay monthly?

The monthly payment plan is available for full courses. It is not currently offered for products. You can of course use the widely available monthly finance options offered by Paypal and others.

Q. What are the shipping options available for new orders?

Orders over £30 are free. Small shipments are sent Royal Mail, 1 to 3 day delivery. Extra charges apply for next day, next day before 12 and Saturday delivery. The cut-off time for next day delivery is 12 noon.

Q. Can I buy products from Ebay and Amazon?

There are many counterfeit products on these platforms, none of which perform as well as our genuine product. This is under review at the moment, but we would urge all students to only buy from our website, thus ensuring delivery of a genuine product that we can support. Any assessment work sent in using counterfeit products will be returned unmarked.

Q. Time limits: Are there any time limits on completing the course?

Yes. You have 12 months to complete the course starting from the purchase date of the course. All support is free during that period. Should you need extra time to complete the course, the time can be extended by 12 month increments for an additional fee of £49.95.

Q. Can I get replacement or additional certificates?

Yes you can. These can be ordered on the website, either in PDF format for  downloading and printing at home, or for a hard copy in the post.

There is a charge of £12.95 for this service.

Q. Where do I send my work for assessment?

Please send your completed course work to: Essential Nails, Manor Road, Haverhill, CB9 0EP.