How to Become a Cosmetic Laser Technician

Cosmetic laser technician may not be the first career that comes to mind when looking for a new profession but there is no reason that it shouldn’t be. As a cosmetic laser technician you would have a current and exciting job that is growing in leaps and bounds yearly. The work you would be performing would include laser hair removal, skin and facial tightening, wrinkle reduction, cellulite reduction, and permanent tattoo removal. In this profession you would help people become more comfortable with their bodies, and in some cases you would help them get rid of tattoos that are now considered mistakes. Depending on where you live you may also help gang members regain their lives by ridding them of gang related tattoos that would otherwise haunt them for the rest of their lives.

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Salary Details and Job Outlook:

The outlook for cosmetic laser technicians is very good. Between the years of 2012 and 2022 there is an expected 40% growth which is incredible. You would be hard pressed to find another career path that is growing as quickly. The annual wages for most cosmetic laser technicians falls around $29,000. While this may not sound like much you can rely on being in high demand and with experience you can negotiate higher wages. You may need to begin at $29,000 but over time you will be able to bring in more and with the high growth percentage you will have your pick of work place.
What type of schooling or training is required?

Due to the fact that the field for cosmetic laser technicians is fairly new you may have to do a bit of searching to find a school or program. The best bet is to look into private schools that offer the training you need. If by any chance you’ve already completed a nursing program you could potentially pick up cosmetic laser training through a hospital or medical clinic. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to be a nurse to become a cosmetic laser technician it is simply one way of achieving the training needed.

There is no specific degree required to become a cosmetic laser technician. If you did decide to go the nursing route then you can expect 2 to 4 years of schooling to acquire an associates or bachelor’s degree. Nursing can open a whole new arena of job opportunities but is not for everyone. If nursing is not for you then there are a few other options available.

Other opportunities for training can be found through community colleges that offer certificate and licensing program. These courses are usually offered for medical estheticians but do include the training you need for cosmetic laser treatments. It is also possible to find standalone training with a bit of research. In your training you can expect to learn about laser and tissue interactions, skin anatomy, pathophysiology, in depth knowledge on the types of medical lasers, and very important laser safety.

What types of certifications are available?

There are generally two main types of certification available. The first is from the International Commission for Hair Removal Certification, also referred to as the ICHRC. This certification will only cover laser hair removal and no other cosmetic laser techniques. Even so, this can be a helpful certification to add to other training or other work you may already do or plan on doing.

The second options are the Certified Laser Hair Removal Professional, called the CLHRP, and the Certified Pulse Light Hair Removal Professional certification, referred to as the CPLHRP. Both of these certifications will require passing an exam. The test will include 100 questions and even once passed it is required to take it every five years. In some cases you will be required to have one of these certifications because the state requires it. However, even if it is not absolutely necessary it can be helpful for your career to attain one.

Where will I find employment?

It may seem like your options are limited but in reality there are an abundance of work opportunities available. Some of the most popular work places include dermatologist offices, plastic surgery offices, and spas including medical spa facilities. At these spas the customers will most likely be looking for laser hair removal and other simple cosmetic laser procedures that can be completed quickly.

What sort of duties can I expect?

The most popular of the cosmetic laser treatments is laser hair removal. The majority of your customers will be looking to have this done. Other popular options include skin and facial muscle tightening, and wrinkle reduction. Customers always want to look their best and usually that includes looking younger so expect to meet with customers wanting age spot removal, varicose vein removal or reduction, and cellulite reduction.
Before beginning laser treatments you will do a pre-treatment. During the pre-treatment you will meet with your customer and discuss their needs and desires. You will do a thorough evaluation of their skin conduction and in some cases consult with a nurse or other physician about how to proceed with the procedure and future care. This will vary depending on the treatment but don’t be surprised to need to occasionally discuss and meet with other professionals.

A deeper look at expected salary:

Earlier we touched on expected wages. The number listed was for the most basic training. If you broaden your field and pursue work as a dermatologist you can make as much as $80,000 annually or more. At the high end some make upwards of $300,000. This could be good reason for continuing schooling and getting an advanced degree.

If you simply want to work as a medical esthetician you will make anywhere from $21,000 to $50,000 a year. A skin care specialist can make slightly more at $70,000 on the high end. As you can see how much you earn will depend on how much schooling you wish to complete and which area you are interested in working in.

Keep in mind that the more services you can offer your clients the greater your versatility and ultimately your income. You will be more in demand for employers and in some cases may find great job satisfaction because you will be able to perform a wide range of duties.

What is the best complementary training?

Whether you’ve decided becoming a cosmetic laser technician isn’t for you, or you are looking for complementary training, these are a couple of the best options.

Massage Therapist – This may sound like an unusual option but the fact is that you will still be working with people and their bodies. You will be helping your customers to feel healthier and in many ways this profession crosses over with the work of a cosmetic laser technician and you will find that your clients will often see you for both services. There is a training program required for becoming a massage therapist and it usually includes at least 500 hours of training.

Manicurist and Pedicurist – The manicurist and pedicurist training is a great complement to many beauty professions including cosmetology and the cosmetic laser field. It is simply another service you can offer your customers. Your customers care about how they look and part of that often includes caring for the nails. You will need to complete nail technician training or a full cosmetology program before you can work as a manicurist or pedicurist. Ideally if you’re going to go this route you may want to consider the full cosmetology training.

Additional benefits

If you’re still uncertain if becoming a cosmetic laser technician is for you it might be helpful to think of some of the fantastic benefits. Some of the greatest aspects of becoming a laser technician is that many of your clients will begin to feel like friends. Often they will need to see you for more than one treatment and as they continue to come in you will get to learn more and more about them and their life. Depending on the type of training you’ve had and how broad it is you may even see some of your clients for a wide range of services. As you build your client base and they are pleased with your services they will continue to come to you, often for years.

It is also helpful to remember that becoming a cosmetic laser technician is rewarding. You are helping your customers become their best version of themselves. You will help them to gain confidence and to feel better in their skin. Many of your clients will come to you with worries such as sun damage, acne scars, dark spots, etc. You are the answer that will help them love their appearance again. It can be highly rewarding to see the smiles on your customers faces when they gain the appearance they want.

Becoming a cosmetic laser technician can be hard work but it can also be infinitely rewarding. With each new customer you are given the opportunity to help improve a life.

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