Here are a few of our most popular questions. For more information, or if you need support, feel free to give us a call or email.


When can I start?

Soon! A new intake begins every 5 weeks.

How long is the course?

There are 4 Modules of 4 days each for a total of 16 days of training. You can do the Modules across consecutive weeks or spread them out over up to 12 months. You do also need to complete a Portfolio in your own time.

Alternatively, Basic Gel Technology is 6 days of training over a 2 week period.

How Many Lessons Are There?

16 Days broken into 4 Modules of 4 Days each.

When are the lessons?

Foundation Certificate Classes run Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday. Classes run from 9am-5pm.

Basic Gel Technology Classes run Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, again from 9am-5pm.

You can also choose to attend one-on-one training, scheduled at your own convenience.

Do we need to log hours?

Yes and no – Rather than hours, you are required to attend all lessons and to submit a portfolio of work before the end of your 6 or 12 month study period.

If you are unable to attend a lesson for any reason, you will need to complete this one-on-one at a cost of $80 per hour.

How Many Days of Training is Each Module?

In the Foundation Certificate, each Module is 4 full days of training, 9am-5pm. There are 4 Modules altogether for a total of 16 Days training by the end of your course.

Are Evening Classes Available?

No. We used to offer evening classes but our weekend classes proved far more popular so we decided to focus on offering more of these instead.

I Was About to Enrol But The Date I Want Has Disappeared - Why Is This?

Our classes have extremely limited numbers. When a class fills up, it is removed from the website. We often hear from people disappointed when a class fills up before they can enrol, so do make sure you enrol ASAP. We accept payment plans of 6 equal monthly installments to make it easier to enrol sooner.

How do I find you?

The first minute of this video will show you -


How many people will be in my class?

We try and keep our classes as small as possible, but what is important to us in our student-tutor ratio. We will always have at least 1 educator for every 8 students.

What help and support will be available to me? (The answer is HEAPS!)

The thing we are most proud of here at Monaco is the level of support we offer not just our Novice Trainees but all Nail Techs throughout New Zealand.

  • FORUM - We have a Pro-Only Facebook Group called 'Monaco Pro' available to all NZ and Australian Nail Techs. As a trainee you will get immediate access to this page once your enrolment is accepted. It is a wonderful community and means you can ask any question at any time and have full access to the entire Australasian Education Teams for all of the brands we teach with. It means if we are busy, someone can help - although we do monitor the page all day. We also have a second group just for Novice Trainees and Graduates where you can get more specialised support and extra special discounts.
  • NAILING THE BASICS - Once a week, one of our Educators hosts a half hour Live Stream on the Novice-Only Facebook Group, teaching new techniques and refreshing old ones.
  • RESOURCES PORTAL - You have full, 24 hour access to every single hand out, step-by-step and tutorial we offer, through No more lost or damaged handouts!
  • MORE (FREE!) TRAINING - You can request to repeat any of our Modules for free during your study period, whether because you struggle with a particular technique or just want a refresher. Spaces are limited for all classes so it pays to book in advance.
  • MENTORING - Need some alone time with us? Book in for one-on-one mentoring with one of our Educators. Mentoring sessions are $80 per hour. Once you book in, it is entirely up to you what we use that time for! We can work on a technique you struggle with, practice your exam, or play with some designs you found on Pinterest!
  • EMAIL - You can email us at any time
  • PHONE - Phone us 09 574 5573 during office hours 8am-4pm Monday-Friday

Who are the tutors?

The Monaco education team is lead by Managing Director Penny Lawler, currently the most highly qualified Artistic Nail Design Educator in New Zealand and holder of 19 awards, including Runner Up Nail Technician of the Year 2015/2016.

Joining Penny is a team of highly skilled technicians with a wealth of knowledge ready and waiting for you. You can view their Bios on our Meet the Team page and you can see a full gallery of their work over on our Facebook page in this album here.

Is a workbook provided?

A comprehensive online workbook is included with our Salon Start Up Package.

Alternatively the online workbook can be purchased for $59 or a 450-page hard copy is available for separate purchase for $99 here.

Is there a dress code?

Dress code is 'smart casual' - we ask you to dress professionally and comfortably as you will be sitting for a period of time. Also consider that it is difficult to regulate room temperature for all preferences so you may want to bring warmer or cooler clothing accordingly. Note also that in your assessments you are graded on personal presentation.

What happens if I can’t attend a lesson?

If you cannot attend a lesson, please give as much notice as possible. Missed lessons will need to be rebooked one-on-one at a cost of $80.00 (inc GST) per hour although we will endeavour where possible to fit you in with another intake at no charge.

From our Terms and Conditions -

  1. Attendance at all lessons is compulsory.
  2. Missed classes for any reason including illness will be treated with the same terms and conditions as a 'Cancellation' (see T&Cs). We understand you can't plan for your illness but neither can we, and with small class sizes a refund resulting from your illness would mean up to a 25% loss for us.
  3. If you really cannot attend a lesson for any reason, it will need to be rebooked one-on-one at a cost of $80 per hour inc. GST.
  4. If you cannot attend a lesson without advance warning, please use the Novice/Grads Facebook Group to advise of this. We have different educators on different days and no phone line in the classroom so if you post in there anyone who needs to see it, will.
  5. Classes must be completed in order. If time or Educator availability does not allow for rebooking missed classes before subsequent lessons, you will also need to rebook the subsequent lessons until you are able to catch up to your group.

Do Classes Have a Wide Range of Ages?

This is a question we get a lot! Monaco Nail Academy is definitely not 'just' a place for young people and that's one of the things we love about it. The youngest person to Graduate so far was 16 and the oldest 58. At a guess we would say the average age is anywhere between 28-38.

What is the Student Dynamic Like?

Since we don't accept Student Loans, the people who complete our course have to really want to be there - they've either saved up, got a loan or got financial help. This means the people who end up enrolling are passionate, determined and hard working - a wonderful group of like-minded individuals who support each other endlessly.

Who Do I Call If I Am Sick?

We can't stress enough that this should be a last resort. As per our T&Cs, you have to complete classes in order and this can mean in some cases having to pay One-on-One to make up missed sessions. If you do have to call in sick though, please use the Novice/Grads Facebook Group. We have different educators on different days and no phone line in the classroom so if you post in here anyone who needs to see it, will. No one wants a PM on their day off

What's a 'Module'?

A Module is basically just a 4-Day section of the training. We split our course into blocks of 4 days each and called them 'Modules' so you could choose to complete them consecutively or spread them out over up to a year.


What products do you use in class?

We choose to use Artistic Nail Design's Gel Polish, Acrylic and Hard Gel Systems during all Novice classes, combining these base systems with many other brands depending on which product we feel is best for the job. Our sister-company, MonacoPro, does sell these brands online as well.

The application procedures for each brand differ slightly so while we attempt to teach you in the most non-brand specific manner possible, we won't be able to troubleshoot any issues you have with other brands.

Is this course 'brand neutral'?

We are acutely aware of the number of people looking for 'product neutral' courses. We do our very best to teach you in the most brand-neutral manner possible, however we have chosen to teach with Artistic Nail Design products as our core system. Through years of experience we have come to regard these as the highest quality, most reliable, and best value products on the market. We have the choice to align ourselves with any brand and choose Artistic.

As you gain experience post-graduation you will learn that the application methods of different brands vary greatly, so while there are some courses that claim to be 'brand neutral', you will still be learning with a specific brand and focussing primarily on the methods required for that brand. We will do our best to give you a wide, well-rounded education that can be applied to any brand you wish to use in future. Most brands offer a 1-day 'cross over' course to make sure you understand any differing prep and application steps if you decide to change (although we think you will like Artistic!)

Our view is that by starting your career with Artistic Rock Hard products, you're lucky enough to be joining a revolution that we as experienced Nail Techs were very excited about. This is the first time in history that a combined Acrylic and Gel System has been created, both stemming from the same molecule and therefore chemically interchangeable. For us, we came about this post-graduation but for you, you start your career with more knowledge and better products than any of us had access to. Throughout the course you will learn exactly why this is the most exciting development in the industry in YEARS - and why we think it is worth sharing.

Do You Provide a Kit?

We supply all product used during class, while many of the schools that do supply take-home kits require you to use your own product during class.

Using our product during class means when you do buy product you make money off all of it instead of using it up on free models. You will get to know what you like and don't like, decide what you need and don't need, and learn how to choose suppliers and product and how to order for yourself - something no one else teaches!

It's worth noting that all of this is reflected in our pricing - after you remove kits from the equation and look only at price versus the number of hours of training you get, we are one of the cheapest courses available in New Zealand.

If included product is really important to you, our 'Salon Start Up Package' includes your training as well as $500 worth of product and several other bonus trainings.

The product for this package is put together by our team on a case by case basis after calling you to discuss what your priorities are.

As an example, if you plan on working part time from home we might recommend stocking up on 2 x Base Coats, 2 x Top Coats, 2 x Prep, 5 x 240 Grit Files, 5 x 180 Grit Files, 5 x 180 Grit Buffers, 6 Colours and a bottle of Correction Gel because we know that cashflow will be tight to start with and you don't want to run out of basics.

But if you are planning on working full time and already do so in a different area of the beauty industry, then we might recommend that we give you 1 x Base, 1 x Top, 1 x Prep, 2 of each file and buffer and 11 colours, which would also come to $500.

You'll have a member of our team on the phone so you can add and subtract as you wish, with their recommendations based on many years of salon management.


Do I need to bring models?

You are required to bring models to many lessons for the most realistic learning experience although we also work on each other occasionally. You can see exactly when models are required on the Course Planning Sheet found in the Novice/Grads Facebook Group.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the model has reasonable expectations about the service she will receive. Lessons are planned to give you plenty of time to practice but some application methods will be more difficult than others and in some cases you may not complete the full set.

From our Terms and Conditions -

  1. You are expected to source your own models for all classes that require them. When you enrol, you will be granted access to the Novice/Grads Facebook Group run by Monaco Nail Academy. Within this group, Course Plans are kept in the Files Tab.
  2. Course Plans list the dates and times models are required
  3. A sheet giving tips on finding models (including from out of town if you are travelling for your course) is also provided.
  4. You only need one model between two students - use the Facebook Group to communicate with other students and coordinate sharing. Space does not allow for exceptions to this.

What if I can't get models?
  • Ask your friends and family first – they are more reliable and more likely to be honest with you!
  • Go on Facebook and advertise on your local community pages. Search terms such as –
    • ‘Grapevine’
    • ‘Buy Swap Sell’
    • ‘Trade’ or ‘Trading’
    • ‘Pay it Forward’
    • Your suburb or city name
    • ‘Mum’ (for parenting groups, all Mums need pampering!)
  • Create a Facebook page and post your work regularly, calling for models each time
  • Create a public Facebook event detailing what you need and when. Invite your entire Facebook friends list and encourage your friends to invite their friends by offering a free cuticle oil to anyone who refers a friend.
  • Advertise on
  • Approach local kindys, schools, women’s gyms and other female-centric businesses and ask to advertise in their mailers or to give a half price appointment once you’re qualified to any one of their staff members who helps out as a model
  • Approach the Women’s Refuge or Ronald McDonald House – they definitely deserve pampering!
  • Approach Look Good Feel Better and Dress for Success
  • Put flyers on Uni Noticeboards and Community Centre Noticeboards
  • Ask EVERYONE. The check out girl at Pak n Save might be dying to have her nails done!

Remember you only need one model between 2 students. Pair up with a peer and make plans to share the model-finding responsibilities.


Is there Homework?

There is no homework for each individual lesson, however there is work you will need to complete at home within your 12 month Study Period. If you are completing the Foundation Certificate in Nail Technology (Modules 1-4) you will be required to submit photos of 14 prescribed clients within a year of your start date of Module One. If you are attending Basic Gel Technology you will be required to submit photos of 12 prescribed clients within 6 months of your start date.

The requirements for these submissions are outlined in the link below.

You can submit your Portfolio here -

How do I submit my prescribed client pictures?

Easy! Click the link below and then click Start. This details everything you need to submit. When you have put your portfolio together, upload it to the site and send it through!

Can We Work On Each Other For Homework

Sure! Use the Novice/Grads Facebook Group to coordinate this.

Do we need to submit a portfolio?

Yes. For the Foundation Certificate in Nail Technology, a photographic portfolio of 14 clients is required to be submitted within a year of the date of your first module. The required photos are outlined in your workbook which you will receive on your first day of class.

For Basic Gel Technology there are 12 submissions and a 6-month limit.

Click below to submit your portfolio -


Are there exams?

We like to think we have redefined the word ‘exam’ here at Monaco. Yes, you have a standard that you need to reach, and we measure that standard via 4 moderated assessments. However, these assessments are not pass-or-fail exams. We don’t expect you to break records on your first go.

Each time you do an assessment, we go through it with you, one on one, give you feedback, and send you away to practice again. You can do each one as many times as you want, free of charge, getting better and better each time. When you do eventually achieve an 80% feedback rating, you become eligible to receive your Certificates. That doesn’t mean you need to stop doing them though – you are still welcome to re-do assessments as many times as you like, to build confidence and get that invaluable feedback.

We take full responsibility for getting you where you need to be. That's why we have so much support and so many extra lessons available to you.

The assessments are -

  • Written theory (Done from home, 100% online. Click here to take a look)
  • Practical Gel Polish
  • Practical Hard Gel
  • Practical Acrylic

From our Terms and Conditions -

  1. There are four Assessments - Theory, Practical Gel Polish, Practical Liquid and Powder and Practical Hard Gel.
  2. You can repeat each assessment as many times as you like, for free.
  3. The Theory Assessment is to be completed from home via this link. By accepting these terms you also accept the terms on the first page of the Assessment.
  4. Practical Assessments can only be repeated by applying for a Free Repeat Class of Module Four or by attending scheduled Assessment Sessions. These will be advertised in the Novice/Grads Facebook Group and nowhere else.
  5. The pass mark for each Assessment is 80% with no exceptions
  6. All Assessments must be passed within your 6 or 12 month Study Period (the 6-12 months from Course Commencement), with no exceptions.
  7. We anticipate that most students will attempt the Practical Assessments around three times before passing. The pass mark is high and the feedback given at the end of each Assessment is designed to guide you through your practice. It is for this reason we recommend sitting Assessments as soon as you are able, even if you do not feel ready. Even if you get a low mark, you will learn something.

What qualifications do I receive?

When you meet the criteria of the Foundation Certificate of Nail Technology or Basic Gel Technology, you will receive a certificate from Monaco Nail Academy. If you complete any Advanced classes before you complete the requirements of your certificate, these certificates will be withheld until you complete your qualification.

Our certificates are recognised nationwide. We also have graduates working across Australia.

What can I do with my qualifications?

Many of our graduates choose to work from home as an extra income. You can do this, or you can open a salon, apply for salon-based jobs, work on a mobile basis, or freelance on photoshoots and film sets - you could even work on a cruise ship! You will be fully qualified and ready to work - in fact we encourage you to start working on understanding friends and family as you learn each new skill rather than waiting for graduation.

Do I have to do both Gel and Acrylic? Are there shorter courses available?

Yes! Our Basic Gel Technology Course is only 6 days long and covers only gel-based services.

Based on demand, it is only run occasionally so please do get in touch via to register your interest. We'll let you know when the next one is scheduled.

What do I need to look for when choosing a course?

We surveyed a group of New Zealand salon owners to find out what is important to them when employing new staff.

  • 82% said Quality. They don’t care how fast you are as long as you are GOOD. With high pass rates and repeated practical assessment, Monaco Nail Academy will make sure you reach these standards long before we send you out into the big wide world.
  • 18% said Variety of Skills. NZ Salon Owners would prefer a staff member who can do Acrylic, Gel and Gel Polish rather than one who could only do one or two of these services. This is why we don’t offer Acrylic-only or Gel-only courses. By the time you finish, you will certainly have a preference – but you will also understand the chemistry behind the products, how they adhere to the natural nail, and exactly why we recommended doing both in the first place. It’s easy to rank techniques by popularity. Tip application and Acrylics are more common, Sculptured Nails and Hard Gel services hold more prestige, and Gel Polish trumps all right now, accounting for 70% of nail services in New Zealand. If you want to excel in the industry however, you need to have a sound knowledge of all disciplines. Some clients will demand one of the other no matter what is most common, and for other clients, some services will frankly just work better for them.
  • 0% said Speed. As in, being able to get a client in and out the door. We will help you with tips and tricks to pick up your speed but our focus will always be on quality, not quantity.
  • 0% said NZQA Credits. We’ve spent a great many hours researching, planning, and ultimately deciding not to offer NZQA. We work within the industry both nationally and internationally and have close relationships with a large number of salon owners. We feel like we have tailor-made a course that fits the industry in New Zealand and internationally and sets you up for success.

It’s interesting to note that in the comments section of our survey, a huge number of salon owners said their highest priority was attitude, something we didn’t think to include. The overall belief was that skills and techniques could be learned but a bad attitude would go nowhere. Loyalty, work ethics and listening skills were also mentioned.

Do I need NZQA to get a job?

Definitely not. In a recent survey of New Zealand salon owners, 0% of those surveyed said NZQA credits were a priority when employing new staff. When asked specifically to talk about NZQA, salon owners were nonchalant. In fact, I can quote one as replying to the question ‘How do you feel about NZQA’ with ‘Ho hum, really’! It would appear (and we agree) that NZQA isn’t everything. While it’s nice to have NZQA credits on your Record of Learning, not all industries prioritise those credits over all others. In the New Zealand Nail Industry, the quality of your work, variety of skills gained, and your overall attitude rank higher on their wishlists than NZQA credits (which to be honest, don’t actually appear on their wish lists at all.

Can I Really Do The Theory Assessment At Home?

Absolutely! We have a lot of students with anxiety and/or learning difficulties and still more who are just plain busy. Being able to do the assessment from home made perfect sense. It's 100% online and you will find out immediately if you have passed. Click here to take a look.

I heard that you don't actually need a certificate to do nails in New Zealand - is that true?

Not quite - requirements differ between city councils. So in Auckland for example you do need to be qualified, but it doesn't need to be NZQA.


Do I need prior experience?

No, not at all.

How much does the course cost?

$699 per Module for four Modules. You can book and pay for all Modules for a combined price of $2,499.

One on One Training is available for $1299 per Module

We accept direct payment via Cash, Eftpos and Bank Transfer. We can also accept Q Card, which you can apply for here as well as Farmers Finance Card. Please note that Farmer Finance Card and Q Card payments incur a 3% surcharge.

Can I get a Student Loan?

As we are a private training establishment, we do not accept Student Loans for our courses however we do partner with Q Card and Farmers Finance Card to offer finance options. You can apply for a Q Card here - once your Q Card arrives, come in and use it just like an Eftpos card.

Can I come and meet you first?

Of course! Email us and we'll arrange a time for you to meet with one of our educators.

How do I sign up?!

Click the 'Enrol' link next to the course you're interested in, phone (09) 574 5573 or email

What Happens if my Intake Doesn't Fill Up?

If an intake only has one enrolment (which is uncommon - at the time of writing this our Modules are fully booked two months ahead but Winter is always quieter) then you have the option of paying an additional fee to complete your training one on one, or to defer to another intake. If there are at least two enrolments, class will go ahead.

When Do I Need to Enrol By?

ASAP - It's first come first served so when classes are full they are full. Where there is space, you can enrol right up until the minute class starts.

When Do I Have to Pay My Fees By?

From our Terms and Conditions -

Course Fees

  1. Once your enrolment is processed, you will receive an invoice via email. Your place in the course will be held for 48 hours to allow for payment after which, if unpaid and if we are unable to contact you, your enrolment will be reversed and the place made available for someone else. At this point you will receive an invoice for $99 to cover the administration costs of processing and then reversing your enrolment so it is very important that you only enrol when you are 100% ready and have the full fees available to you. As we run at very small class sizes and therefore at small margins there are no exceptions to this as we cannot risk turning away other enrolments while we wait for full payment nor can we absorb the costs of the time it takes to process unfounded enrolments.
  2. Temporary Clause - When you complete this enrolment form, a confirmation screen will appear advising that you can pay 7 days prior to the course. Please note that this is incorrect - you do need to pay within 48 hours of enrollment to secure your place on the course. NO terms other than those listed on this page apply to this course. We are working with our web team to amend this error.
  3. Payment can be made by bank transfer to Monaco Nail Artists Ltd, ASB 12-3233-0616846-05 with your invoice number as a reference. Other forms of payment can be accepted by prior arrangement. Call (09) 574 5573 to request another option.

Payment Plans

  1. Payment Plans can be arranged for Option Three at a rate of 6 monthly payments of $739 each month. Alternatively you can book and pay on a module-by-module basis as per Option One.
  2. Any missed payments will result in immediate withdrawal of the Payment Plan and full payment will be required within 48 hours to keep your place. Failure to do so will result in cancellation terms listed above being enforced without exception.


Do you offer courses outside of Auckland?

We do, occasionally - but most of our Novice Classes are run in Auckland. We do try and make these classes easy for out of town students to attend though - they are run Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday. Additionally, you have a year to work your way through all 4 Modules, so you can space trips to Auckland out a bit.

Do I Have to Complete All of My Training with the Same Educator?

We have different Educators that specialise in different Modules so it is very unlikely that you will have the same Educator for your entire course.


Is There a Lot of Work Out There for Nail Technicians?

There is definitely enough work out there. Most people work for themselves by choice but if you're wanting to work in a salon that's great - salon owners are starved for staff because so many people want to work from home - good salon workers are hard to find. If you do choose to work from home, again there are plenty of clients to go around, but of course you do have to put in the work to promote yourself.

Will I Have Enough Experience to Start Working Straight Away?

Absolutely. When you finish your course, you will have all the knowledge you need, but may still have some practice to do in some practical areas. We work extremely hard to make sure by the time you graduate you do so with an exceptional skill level.

How Can I Join the Student Directory on this Site?

The Student Directory at is just for our Students and Graduates - this is where we refer the MANY media enquiries we get. To be included, go to the Files Tab of the Novice/Grads Facebook Group and find the file called Graduate Salons. Complete it and email to

If you're not a Monaco Novice, there is a separate directory you can join at

View our Courses

Welcome to Monaco

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