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What is an Online Lesson like?

Where are In-Person Lessons held?

In-Person Lessons are held in the salons of our Mentors, in many locations around the country. Head to our About page to see which Mentor is closest to you. Email us [email protected] before you enrol to confirm the availability of your preferred Mentor at a time that works for you. Alternatively, one of our wonderful Mentors can travel to you by prior arrangement. Email us [email protected] before you enrol to confirm the cost of petrol or flights, travel time, accommodation and food allowance as well as the availability

Can I Complete My Lessons In-Person?

Absolutely. Lessons can be completed online or in-person, at a cost of $49/hour or $349 for an 8-hour day. Occasionally, group lessons will be available, at a cost of $49 for 3-hours. Before requesting in-person lessons, please check where the mentor closest to you is, as the lesson will be held at their own salon. Alternatively, one of our wonderful Mentors can travel to you by prior arrangement. Email us [email protected] before you enrol to confirm the cost of petrol or flights, travel time, accommodation and food allowance as well as the availability

Can I Use My Own Products/UV Lamp For The Course?

You can use your own products as long as they are professional-only or professional-standard. Scrubs, masks, lotions and traditional polishes don't have to be professional-only, just professional-standard as there are no professional-only brands for these. Everything else must be professional-only and not openly sold to the retail market.
Imagine it as if a hairdressing student did her entire course using boxes of hair dye from the supermarket - there is a market for retail products in the industry, but the quality and performance of those products is VASTLY different. For example, the monomer liquid we use ourselves is $220/Litre - but it performs accordingly. The retail brands can't sell something like that to the general population so they create cheaper, lower quality versions. Another example would be if you entered a car race in your family car instead of in a race car - there's a market for family cars and there's a market for race cars but their prices and performance vary greatly.
With your lamp, you must use the lamp that matches your brand of gel polish. Gel feels hard at 55% cured but isn't safe until it's 95% cured. Professional-only brands have labs that test the cure using their lamps and develop lamps that achieve 95% (or develop gels that cure to 95% in their existing lamp). Pigment and other formulaic changes all affect the cure as well, so every single individual colour cures differently and every colour has to be formulated to cure in that brand's lamp. Retail brands don't test as rigorously because they aren't being judged on longevity, they just need the general public to feel like they're doing what a Nail Tech can do.
Once you decide on a gel brand, you'll need to get the lamp that matches it so that you can perform services safely.

Is There a Minimum Age for Students?

We don't have an official minimum but the youngest we have had graduate was 16. Since we don't accept student loans and people use 'real money' to enrol, we usually just give everyone the benefit of the doubt that either they cared enough to work hard and save, or someone believed in them enough to lend them the money. So far this theory has worked out! The only thing we sometimes notice from teens is that they expect a lot more hand-holding than people who've been out of school for a while. As long as you're self motivated and have lots of initiative you will be absolutely fine and will have lots of support from us.

A friend completed her qualification with Monaco a few years ago, but her course was spent in your studio with a class of people. Has this changed?

Yes! We offer both online and in-person class options now. The in-person options are offered from within the salons of Mentors around the country, so that you don't have to travel to Auckland. We've added a LOT of additional online content so that you're familiar with the processes before you attend a live lesson. Previously you would turn up and the first time you ever saw a new technique was right before you did it. The current method is producing more confident Nail Techs. Splitting the course into 3-hour blocks has also meant that no one has to take 3 weeks leave to sit in a room and learn everything at once. You CAN book those live lessons into consecutive weeks, but most people choose to spread them out now, to allow time for the information to sink in in-between lessons. We again find this is producing better Nail Techs.

English is not my first language – can I still attend?

This course is taught entirely in English however you are welcome to have an interpreter with you during live lessons (this would be at your own cost). With your Assessments, most of them are practical. The Theory Assessment is done online so that you can take your time, at home in your most comfortable environment. There is a time limit to ensure that you don't just look up every answer but you can also reattempt it every 12 hours. If that still sounds daunting, you can submit your Theory Assessment orally, with an Educator asking questions out loud in a conversational manner, as if they were a client trying to get advice. You reply in conversation and your Educator will note your score as you go. You can avoid a time limit by agreeing to complete the Assessment in a 'closed book' manner.

How Do I Complete Assessments Online?

The Theory of Nails Assessment is 100% online anyway, so that Assessment is easy. For your Practical Assessments, you will book a time on Zoom, which is a video link with an Educator. You set up your phone to show what you're doing and we monitor you while you work. At the end, we get you to angle the client's nails in such a way as we can see all the criteria we are looking for and we mark accordingly. You have your result straight away.  

What is the significance of the Foundation Certificate in Nail Technology?

This is our highest qualification. The alternative is to study individual topics, sit their relevant exams and get recognition that you've done them. This is totally acceptable if it is enough to achieve your goals, but we would consider you to be a manicurist or similar, not a Nail Technician. Someone with the Foundation Certificate in Nail Technology has in depth knowledge of all areas of Nail Technology, has shown competence and has demonstrated experience. These are the people we recommend for jobs, media work and the like because we know they are the most knowledgeable and experienced.

When can I start?

As soon as you enrol! You are given access to online content within 2 business days of enrolment and can book lessons in as soon as next week.

When are the lessons?

You can see a schedule of available online lesson times here (scroll down near the bottom) You can also choose to attend one-on-one in-person training, scheduled at your own convenience, and dependent on mentor availability).

Do we need to log hours?

Yes-ish - You are required to attend all lessons before the end of your 12 month study period.  

Are Evening Classes Available?

Absolutely, our class times are super flexible.

Can We Work On Each Other During Lessons or For Our Portfolios?

Sure! Use the Students and Graduates Facebook Group to coordinate this.

Do we need to submit a portfolio?

For some modules, yes. This will be specified on the Course Overview page for each Module.

What is a Portfolio?

A collection of images of your work, showing us that you have practiced outside of class.

Are there exams?

Yes, you have a standard that you need to reach, and we measure that standard via 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, getting better and better each time. When you do eventually achieve an 80% feedback rating, you become eligible to receive recognition on your Certificate. 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. Check out our Terms and Conditions for more information

What qualifications do I receive?

When you meet the criteria of the Foundation Certificate of Nail Technology, you will receive a certificate from Monaco Nail Academy. 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?

You can pick and choose the Modules you are most interested in as long as you meet the prerequisites for each Module. This means you can focus on the topics you enjoy. You won't be awarded the full Foundation Certificate in Nail Technology but you will be able to work within your chosen area/s.

What is important to Employers?

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.

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 Get My Certificate On The Last Day?

You can actually receive your certificate when you complete your first module. It acts as a record of learning, showing which modules and assessments you have completed - as you complete a Module, you receive a sticker to show what you have achieved.
You can find links to order your certificates and stickers here.

Can I Get a Certificate if I Just Do Gel Polish?

The requirements to receive a certificate for any Module are listed on the enrolment page for that Module. With Gel Polish as an example, first, you need to have completed The Theory of Nails and passed the respective Assessment. Next, you complete the Manicures and Pedicures module (which includes submitting a few examples of your work) and then book your Manicure Assessment, either in-person or online. Once you reach a passing grade of 80% on both Assessments you will be awarded a certificate and be able to provide Manicure services for clients.

I Have a Learning Disability – How Will This Impact My Assessments?

Most of the Assessments we require you to pass are practical, and very relaxed. You chat to your client while completing a full service. It feels like you're just working in a salon. The Theory Assessment is done online so that you can take your time, at home in your most comfortable environment. There is a time limit but you can also reattempt it every 12 hours. If that still sounds daunting, you can submit your Theory Assessment orally, with an Educator asking questions out loud in a conversational manner, as if they were a client trying to get advice. You reply in conversation and your Educator will note your score as you go. You can avoid a time limit altogether by agreeing to complete the Assessment in a 'closed book' manner.

Is the Course NZQA?

No. We've looked into offering NZQA Courses and while we don't rule it out as a future option, the fees associated with being an NZQA provider would require us to quadruple the number of students in each class to cover them. While NZQA is not a requirement in New Zealand for Nail Techs, we choose to keep our class sizes smaller instead, and our qualification is still recognised nationwide. None of our Graduates have had issues getting Health Licenses or Wholesale Accounts.

How many people will be in my lesson?

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 Nail Academy Product Support' available to all Nail Techs and Beauty Therapists. 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.
  • VIDEOS - There are lots of free videos on our YouTube channel, in the Videos Tab of our Novice/Grads Facebook Group. You can also purchase our online modules for extra help.
  • EMAIL - You can email us [email protected] at any time
  • PHONE - Phone us 09 574 5573 during office hours 8am-4pm Monday-Friday

Is a workbook provided?

A comprehensive online workbook is included with every module.

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, this can mean in some cases having to pay to make up missed sessions. If you do have to call in sick though, please use the Students and Graduates Facebook Group. We have different educators on different days and all of them work from their own salons so there is no shared phone line. If you post in the Facebook Group, anyone who needs to see it, will. No one wants a PM on their day off.

What is a ‘Module’?

We split our course into sections or blocks based on topic and call each topic a 'Module'. You can choose to complete them consecutively or spread them out over up to a year.  

Is it OK if my Partner/Sister/Child Sits in With Me During Lessons?

Generally, no. If you have learning difficulties that require assistance from a caregiver or interpreter, please call us to discuss prior to enrolling as we will always find a way to work around this if it is absolutely necessary. Additionally, your models will not be able to bring their children into the room with them for safety reasons.

Will Online Training Be Enough?

Yes! We have lots of wonderfully successful graduates from our online programmes. Online students still have live lessons with an educator, it's just on video chat. As an example, teaching in person, I am able to show a student how to move her file 2cm and suddenly get a better result. If we are online, I do the exact same thing, but I show you with my own file on my own hand and then as you mimic my movements I can correct you if needed.  

What is Remote Mentoring/the Virtual Classroom?

Our Virtual Classroom is a video-based classroom. You tune in with a link we provide using the camera on your phone. We can see what you're doing. You can what we're doing. We can see your mistakes and show you in real-time how to fix them. To get the best out of your experience, I would suggest getting an Octopus Tripod from Trade Me (they're under $5), attaching your phone to it, and attaching the Octopus to your overhead desk light so that your phone camera is facing down over your workspace. Make sure your phone can be plugged into its charger from your desk and that you have a good wifi signal. If you live near another student - get together at the same house/salon and stream in together! It was a big deal for us to start offering online training to beginners because we firmly believe that you can't learn nails without an educator looking over you to see your mistakes and correct you in real-time. In saying that, we've become acutely aware over the last couple of years, how many people are enrolling in really dodgy online training, super quick in-person training OR just going for it with no training, purely because they can not get to training they can afford. We believe this is the middle ground.  

Do I need prior experience?

For the full Foundation Certificate, no, not at all. For some individual modules, there will be prerequisites listed on the enrolment page.

Can I get a Student Loan?

As we are a private training school and not associated with NZQA, we do not accept Student Loans for our courses. However, you can enrol in one module at a time in order to spread out costs and then pay via Afterpay or LayBuy, both of which allow for interest-free payment plans.

Can I come and meet you first?

Yes, but we don't have a set office or classroom for you to see. Our team members all work from their homes and/or salons around the country, so you would be meeting with a Mentor in their salon. If you're wanting to see what lessons are like, we highly recommend enrolling in our 2-Week trial. There are also recorded online lessons on our YouTube Channel that you can watch for an idea of what these are like.

How do I sign up?!

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

When Do I Have to Pay My Fees By?

Payment is made online as part of the enrolment process.

Is There Somewhere Cheaper I Can Get Products?

We are the sole distributors of Be Creative Nail Art products in New Zealand and import them from the UK, so this brand is the cheapest possible with us. There are 3 distributors of Artistic Nail Design products in New Zealand, including us, but we have a Price Match Guarantee - If you find any of our products available from authorised NZ distributors at a cheaper price, we'll permanently match the price. There are lots of other brands you can choose to use too and we will always give unbiased education so that if you choose not to use the same brands as us, you still have the knowledge to use others. We don't recommend using products or brands that are sold on EBay or other international sites, or that are available to the general public without proof of qualification.  

What Products and Tools Do I Need to Buy?

We have recommended Kits for each module (see them here).  

Do You Provide a Kit?

Kits are optional at Monaco - you can add them to your Cart with your Course fees, but you don't HAVE to. For lessons you do need to supply your own product but it doesn't have to be product we sell, it just has to be professional-only. 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.  

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/Our 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 Neighbourly
  • 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!

Will You Find Me a Job Once I’m Qualified?

We can definitely help, but this is not something we do regularly. Out of everyone who has ever completed our qualification over the last 10 years, we know of roughly 5 Graduates who have actively looked to work for someone else after qualifying - everyone else chose to work for themselves, either from home, in a commercial space or renting a table in a salon. We can however help you with whichever path you choose. We had 3 Graduates get employment with Leah Light Nails and Beauty Studios and we also get salons regularly asking us to help them find staff - we post these job opportunities in our Novice/Grads facebook group, which you will get access to after you enrol.

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!)

What products do you use for demonstrations?

We choose to use Artistic Nail Design's Lacquer, Gel Polish, Dipping, Acrylic, Hard Gel and PolyGel Systems during all lessons, combining these base systems with many other brands depending on which product we feel is best for the job. We do sell Artistic products 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.

Do you offer courses outside of Auckland?

We have Mentors all around the country. You can see their locations here.

Can I Use a Practice Hand Instead of Getting Models?

No, we specifically don't allow Practice Hands to be used during lessons because doing so would discourage you from putting effort into finding models and the learning experience on a Practice Hand versus a human is vastly different. There are some steps you just can't do, and it's also surprising how much the heat of a human hand affects the products we use. If you can't find a model, you will need to work on your own nails but this is limited to 20% of all classes and is designed as a back up if a model doesn't show up, not as a default.

Do I need to book models?

You are required to have models for most lessons for the most realistic learning experience. You can see exactly when models are required on the Lesson Guide for each Module, found here. 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. A sheet giving tips on finding models can also be found on this page. You are welcome to share models with a fellow student if they are studying the same topic and live in the same area as you. You do one hand each, taking a lot of pressure off your timing. Use the Facebook Group to communicate with other students and coordinate sharing.

Will I Have Enough Experience to Start Working Straight Away?

Absolutely. When you finish your practical classes, 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, evidenced by the exams and portfolio submissions you need to do.

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.