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.
Step 1: Obtain Bloodborne Pathogen Training
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all workers who will be exposed to blood on the job must receive safety training. The employer must also maintain an exposure control plan that minimizes the 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, permanent makeup artists must submit to tests for hepatitis and other communicable diseases in order to meet some states' licensing requirements.
Step 2: Complete Training or Apprenticeship Program
Permanent makeup artists may obtain training through a course or apprenticeship program. Some state licensing boards require a tattoo artist to complete an apprenticeship program to qualify for licensure, while others may allow students to qualify after the completion of a training program. The required length of the program can vary; for example, Arkansas requires a 6-month apprenticeship, while Missouri calls for at least 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 or the American Red Cross. They can teach permanent makeup artists 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, which helps to ensure the public's safety when obtaining services from a permanent makeup artist.
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.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide employment data on permanent makeup artists specifically, this profession is listed among personal appearance workers. The career outlook for this category was 21.9% for the 2010-2020 decade. PayScale.com reported that tattoo artists earned a median salary of $41,125 as of December 2013.
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