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Cosmetic Laser Technician: Job Duties & Requirements

A cosmetic laser technician, or esthetician, typically works in a medical spa using laser therapy for hair removal, skin tightening and other cosmetic applications. Read further to learn about the training and skills required, in addition to the salary and employment expectations, to see if this career is for you.

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Career Definition

A cosmetic laser technician is a licensed esthetician who generally works under the supervision of a medical doctor in a medical spa after completing training to use a cosmetic laser for a variety of skin care applications. The responsibilities of a cosmetic laser technician include evaluating the skin care concerns of a client, conferring with a medical doctor or other supervisor to develop the best treatment plan and applying the laser treatment. Hair removal is a common use of cosmetic laser technology; however, tattoo removal, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, varicose veins and rosacea are also frequently requested services.

How to Become a Cosmetic Laser Technician

Education Needed

There are a variety of certification programs for becoming a cosmetic laser technician, lasting from a few weeks to several months. Cosmetic laser technology is a new and growing field and the industry has yet to set one specific standard of education. Certification requirements vary state-to-state, but coursework may include such topics as hair removal, laser safety, and acne reduction. Previous training as an esthetician is usually necessary; however, in some cases both certifications can be completed simultaneously.

Required Skills

A successful cosmetic laser technician works as part of a team to improve the health and self-esteem of a client. Great customer service skills are required for this occupation as well as attention to detail and the willingness to consistently pursue training to stay current as cosmetic laser technology advances.

Career and Economic Outlook

Due to the relatively recent birth of this occupation and the different types and levels of licensing, salary information varies, but for skincare specialists in general, which includes laser hair removal specialists, the median hourly wage was $13.77 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicts the occupation of skincare specialists to see much faster than average job growth of 40% between 2012 and 2022.

Alternate Career Options

Massage Therapist

These therapists are usually required to complete a training program of at least 500 hours and earn a license or certification, depending on state requirements. Their work involves manipulating clients' muscles to relieve pain or stress, improve blood circulation and increase relaxation. During the 2012-2022 decade, the BLS anticipated much faster than average job growth of 23% for massage therapists and reported an annual median salary of $35,970 or $17.29 per hour in 2012.

Manicurist and Pedicurist

Those who wish to secure employment as a manicurist or pedicurist may complete a nail technician or cosmetology program, passing a required exam for licensure in most states. A faster than average job increase of 16% was anticipated by the BLS, from 2012-2022, for these professionals who clean and shape clients' toenails and fingernails. In 2012, the BLS revealed a median annual wage of $19,220, which relates to $9.24 per hour.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics