Congratulations on your choice to become a certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) in Australia and/or New Zealand. In addition to basic requirements listed, there are four (4) major considerations that will help you secure your position and practice as a permanent cosmetic professional. It is important to note, that unlike other nations, because pigments fade over time, permanent cosmetics in Australia are considered a semi-permanent procedure. As a result, the Australian government prohibits ever advertising the procedure as permanent.
Basic requirements: The basic requirements for becoming a cosmetic tattoo specialist include:
- Age: You must be at least 18 years of age to apply (also to receive) permanent makeup.
- Citizenship: You must be an Australian citizen or resident.
- Emergency Care Certification: You must have current certification in first aid, CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), as well as and a current blood borne pathogens certificate.
Once an individual meets the minimum requirements, the next step is to understand regulations in your territory, and complete the tattoo certification and licensing process listed below.
Strict regulations for infection control have been developed throughout the different territories of Australia by the Legislation Reform Working Group (LRWG), a subcommittee of the National Public Health Partnership (NPHP) Group, for anyone performing a “skin penetration procedure” or an “infection risk procedure,” in order to minimize the risk of blood borne diseases and infections. Many of these regulations are identical to one another per territory, while others are specific to the region. They include:
- Maintain A Code Of Practice – To help manage infection control standards all territories are required to maintain a Code Of Practice that specialists abide by to assure public safety. This code is usually regulated through licensing and inspection, and can include: a. Construction of the facility. b. Utilization of single use tools and instruments. c. “After care” instruction. d. General hygiene. e. Handling and disposal of bio-hazardous waste. f. Immunization and protective equipment. g. Skin sterilization and antiseptic use.
- Licensing – Cosmetic tattooing is referred to as an invasive Body Art procedure. Although there is no specific laws governing the Body Art industry at the Commonwealth level, licensing (such as a Public Health Risk Activity (InfectionControl) Business License) to perform the procedure is essential.
- Strict Age Requirements In Place – Some territories focus heavily on age requirements and restrictions for receiving and applying permanent makeup procedures. An infraction can be punishable by fine, closing of the business, or in some cases, imprisonment.
- Regular Inspections – Facilities that offer permanent cosmetics must undergo approval by local council or region based cosmetology boards through licensing. Regular inspections of these locations is required to ensure the health, safety, and protection of the clients.
- Certification Display – After licensing is complete, most facilities are required to display certificates of approval in their establishments to prove their professional capacity. It is highly recommended that perspective clients review these certificates before committing to a location.
For more information on territory specific regulations (including New Zealand) for permanent makeup click: Australian Capitol Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, New Zealand. Also click link for more information about ACT Infection Control Practices.
The most important consideration that will determine your qualifications as a permanent cosmetic specialist, is your amount of experience and education through training. Although there are technically no official minimum qualifications or requirements, the National Public Health Partnership (NPHP) requires that at the very least, all managers, specialists, and employers, train their beginning employees on the strict safety measures during procedures, and the hygienic standards of the premises.
It is also important that they learn about the potential for dangers and risks associated with cosmetic tattooing such as infection, allergies, disfigurement, the transmission of disease (such as hepatitis, herpes, and HIV), and even death. Specialists should supervise extensively during this process and no procedures should be done alone until an employee has fulfilled these responsibilities to the specialists’ complete satisfaction. In order to verify, an LA [local authority] enforcement officer may request an interview with new specialists to establish their competence. With increased popularity of permanent makeup, comes the increased possibility of insufficient procedural training. Proof of insufficient training can lead to exorbitant fines and possible imprisonment.
One fundamental way to assure your training is adequate, is by taking on an apprenticeship with a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional (CPCP). Even if you do not participate in a formalized training course, an apprenticeship is essential. A decent program should last for several months, if not a couple of years, because it is here that artists receive their most important “hands on” training. The program should provide instruction on several basic skills including equipment use, autoclave sterilization and packaging, ink preparation, proper disposal of hazardous materials, proper workplace health standards, infection control measures, and book keeping.
Learning from a qualified CPCP is imperative, as they will take the necessary time and make sure they supervise all procedures until you are ready and well trained. To find a worthwhile apprenticeship, you can either apply for one with your present certified employer, or attend an accredited cosmetic permanent makeup school. If you choose to attend school, make sure the program has a well rounded curriculum that include studies in skin analysis and anatomy, permanent makeup methods and techniques, inks and pigments, equipment and sterilization, health risks and ramifications, and design and makeup artistry. Be sure they have a good reputation, and that you feel confident with their teaching methods. Communication is essential, so make sure your concerns are addressed and your development is encouraged. Also be sure that your choice includes continuing education classes in the future. Methods and techniques are rapidly changing and its important that you grow with those changes as well. Your apprenticeship will be critical and will determine the course of your entire permanent makeup experience.
Accreditation and Certification:
Although there presently is no mandatory requirement at a nation level, the best and most highly recommended next step after an apprenticeship/mentorship is acquiring official accreditation and certification. Becoming a certified or “accredited” cosmetic tattoo professionals ( ACTP), also known as a certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) establishes your authority in the industry. Not only will it help you gain a loyal clientele and grow your business, it will also significantly increase the amount of money you can earn. Most importantly though, certification will create confidence in your clients knowing that they are in safe and qualified hands. The two most notable and well respected institutions for accreditation in Australia and New Zealand are:
NOTE: Both are membership programs but they provide insurance and constant up-to-date news and developments regarding the beauty industry. They will also help you locate and find certified apprenticeships in your area. Training, apprenticeship, and membership costs are all included in the links above. Most beneficial though, is the fact that their course qualifications are internationally recognized. This means that certifications and accreditations through these institutions will allow you to work outside your country of origin, if you choose.
The next most important consideration when becoming a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional (CPCP) in Australia and/or New Zealand, is acquiring a license for your person or your business to perform the procedure. License types may vary, but are required in order to maintain a high set of safety and health standards for the sake of public well being (eg. Infection Control Activity License). Licensing requirements and costs for these licenses vary with location, and are generally overseen and distributed by the local council of that location.
To Apply For A License – Contact your local council:
You will need to provide details about yourself and the facility, as well as pay a registration fee. This fee might sometimes be annual. Some applications for licensing may also require a photo and/or fingerprint submission in order to run background checks. The location will usually be inspected before you get your license, and you can only work in the area where you are licensed. When approved, you will get a certificate of registration (or license). You must follow any local bylaws and requirements for hygiene, safety, and cleanliness at your facility. You must display a copy of your certification (or license) and any bylaws prominently at your place of business. If you fail to do so, you could be fined by local authority enforcement officers.
Overall, the information provided here is your stepping off point, and should give you an excellent head start with your long terms goals and lucrative career in permanent makeup. The permanent makeup certification and licensing process will present you with many challenges and will be a lot of hard work, but in the end, the effort you make and the time you put in now, will earn you a rewarding lifelong career.