Congratulations on your choice to become a certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) in the United Kingdom (UK). In addition to basic requirements, there are four (4) major considerations that are necessary to get in order before you get started, that will help you secure your position and practice as a permanent cosmetic professional.
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.
- 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 complete the tattoo certification and licensing process listed below.
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, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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.
3. 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 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 the UK are:
- In collaboration with CIBTAC (Confederation Of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology).
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 (26 countries). 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 the UK, is acquiring a license for your person or your business to perform the procedure. Under the Local Gov Act (1982), licensing is required in order to maintain a high set of safety and health standards for the sake of public well being. It is a criminal offense to practice Micropigmentation without a license, or to be in breach of the relevant bylaws. A license for semi-permenant skin pigmentation is all encompassing, and also includes tattooing, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis, and acupuncture. Licensing requirements and costs for these licenses vary with location, and are generally overseen and distributed by the local council of that location.
- England And Wales (Excluding Greater London) – A license is required for both the CPCP and the business location itself, to perform any tattoo permanent cosmetic procedure. Licenses are granted by your local council and are based on your business location or where you plan to provide services.
- Greater London – A Special Treatments License (STL) is required for both the CPCP and the business location itself, to perform any tattoo permanent cosmetic procedure. Special Treatment Licenses are also granted by your local council and are based on your business location or where you plan to provide services. Send a copy of your application either in person or by mail to the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. This is unnecessary if you apply online. License renewal is required every 18 months or so.
To apply for a license, you will need to provide details about yourself and the facility, as well as pay a one time registration fee. Some applications for licensing may require a photo and/or fingerprint submission in order to run background checks. This criteria is set by the local council and it varies from area to area. Click on the link and input your postcode: To Find Your Local Council. To help you find your postcode: Postcode Finder.
If approved, you will get a certificate of registration (or license). You must follow any local bylaws and HSE (Health and Safety Executive) requirements relating to staff hygiene and the safety and cleanliness of your facility and equipment. The location will usually be inspected before you get your license, and you can only work in the area where you are licensed. 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 reward you with a fulfilling lifelong career.