Become a Permanent Makeup Artist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Permanent makeup artists inject pigments under the skin to apply eyeliner, lip color, eyebrow shading and color to even the tone of the skin permanently. The process is the same technique tattoo artists use to create a permanent design under the surface of the skin. States regulate permanent makeup artists and may require individuals to obtain a license to practice.

Should I Become a Permanent Makeup Artist?

Permanent makeup artists are responsible for tattooing eye, eyebrow, lip, and skin pigment to achieve the same appearance of makeup. Permanent makeup allows the client to always have a made-up face without applying makeup everyday.

Career Requirements

Education No formal education required; safety/first aid training; bloodborne pathogen training
Licensure and Certification Training and/or apprenticeship program may be required for state licensure; voluntary professional certification available
Salary $30,509 (Median salary for tattoo artists as of 2015)

Sources: Payscale.com

Step 1: Obtain Bloodborne Pathogen Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all workers who will be exposed to blood on the job to receive safety training. The employer must also maintain an exposure control plan that minimizes risks to employees exposed to blood. The training program teaches aspiring tattooists the techniques to handle infectious materials safely and covers hand-washing and waste-disposal methods. State licensing boards require workers applying for a license as a permanent makeup artist to complete bloodborne pathogen training. In addition to training, some states mandate permanent makeup artists to must submit two tests for hepatitis and other communicable diseases.

Step 2: Complete Training or Apprenticeship Program

Permanent makeup artists may obtain training through a course or apprenticeship program. Some states require tattoo artists to complete an apprenticeship program to qualify for licensure, while others consider the completion of a training program sufficient. Program length can vary from 6 months to 300 hours. Apprenticeship programs provide the student with practical experience under the supervision of a licensed permanent makeup artist. State licensing boards may require individuals to submit proof of practical experience in addition to the completion of a training course.

Step 3: Obtain Safety and First Aid Training

Permanent makeup artists may also be required to complete first aid and safety training, such as CPR, to qualify for a state license. Such classes can be found through universities, community colleges, medical centers, and the American Red Cross. They teach students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and prevent and respond to first aid emergencies.

Step 4: Apply for State Licensure

Individuals who meet the state requirements for a permanent makeup artist must submit an application to the state licensing board. Candidates for licensure may be required to pass an examination that includes a practical demonstration of skills. The examination also tests the candidate's knowledge of sanitation and safety techniques and the rules and regulations for tattoo artists in the state to ensure safe experiences for clients.

Step 5: Pursue Certification

The Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals administers a voluntary exam for individuals to become a certified permanent cosmetics technician (www.spcp.org). Once at least 1,000 hours of studying permanent cosmetics has been met, and after a bloodborne pathogens standard class has been completed, active members of the permanent cosmetics community can apply to take the Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional exam.

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