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Permanent Makeup Training And Certification Requirements In The United States

Congratulations on your choice to become a certified permanent cosmetic professional (CPCP) in the United States.  Here you will find the basic requirements for becoming a tattoo specialist, and the five (5) major considerations that will help you secure your position and practice as a permanent cosmetic professional.


Basic requirements: The basic requirements for becoming a tattoo specialist include:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Education: You must have a high school diploma, or a GED (General Education Development) certification.
  • Emergency Care Certification: You must have current certification in first aid as well as CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and a current blood borne pathogens certificate.

Once an individual meets the minimum requirements, they must complete the tattoo certification and licensing process listed below.

1. Certification: It is important to mention that certification, except for a handful of exceptions,  is NOT mandatory in the United States.  That said, if you are serious about becoming a permanent cosmetic professional, certification is by far, the most important factor listed here. Firstly, it gives you authority as a professional in your field. Authority, as with anything, is extremely important when building a clientele and your career, and it gives your clients the peace of mind that they are in good hands. This is especially important when dealing with something as sensitive as cosmetically altering facial features and overall appearance. Certification will also enable you to charge according to your qualifications, talents, and experience. Its an acknowledgment of your commitment, and an education that no one can take from you. Two of the most well respected resources for certification in the US are:

american academy of micropigmentation


2. Apprenticeship: Training in the field is an extremely important aspect of any career or occupation.  The best way to learn is by watching and doing alongside a talented and respected CPCP.  The American Academy of Micropigmentation (AAM), one of the most respected  resources for cosmetic makeup certification, acknowledges that even though specific training isn’t mandatory in most states, it is highly advisable for an individual to complete an apprenticeship. Not only does it help sharpen your skills and talent, and help you begin building an invaluable network of peers,  it also fast tracks your path to licensing, certification, and a career. You may already be an apprentice, or have access to a facility that offers it. In case you need help, The AAM offers a complete list of certified instructors who sponsor apprenticeships for new and aspiring tattoo artists.

3. Follow State-By-State Cosmetic Permanent Makeup And Tattoo Regulations: With expanding popularity of cosmetic makeup throughout the country, many states are adopting or refining new guidelines , requirements, and regulations to help distinguish those who are specifically skilled and knowledgeable of the fundamentals of permanent cosmetics from those who fraudulently pass themselves off as proficient and certified. Although Micropigmentology is specialized,  regulations and requirements for tattooing are designated by each state. Because of this, its imperative that you understand your states specific requirements and regulations: State Specific Permanent Makeup & Tattoo Regulations.

permanent makeup training

4. Understand General FDA Cosmetic Requirements For Tattoo Artists And Permanent Makeup Facilitys: Although cosmetic certification is not mandatory in most states, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does set strict standards and safety requirements for cosmetics,  pigment contents, devices, and products,  in order to ensure public safety. The FDA also addresses concerns and takes action when necessary. Some of these concerns include the types of inks used and allergic reactions, the tattoo removal process, and outbreaks of infection and contamination. Managing and maintaining these standards and concerns, and constantly checking up on the FDA banned list of substances,  is the sole responsibility of the specialist. The consequences for not adhering to  FDA regulations could result in serious fines and potential jail time. It could also put people at risk of serious injury and even death. To get more information about FDA cosmetic tattoo requirements, and/or report any adverse reactions, concerns, or problems with removal, you can contact MedWatch, the FDA’s online problem reporting program. Or call 1-800-332- 1088. You can also contact the Consumer Complaint Coordinator of your state here: CCC by State.

For other general information, be sure to check out the: FDA Permanent Cosmetic Search  

5. Acquire An Operation License From The Department Of Health: Whether you plan on being a specialist as part of another organization, or are looking to own your own permanent cosmetic makeup business, its imperative that you understand and comply with your states Department Of Public Health regulations regarding hygienic conditions for equipment,  the facility, and the specialist themselves.  Visit your state specific Department Of Public Health in order to comply with state standards for cosmetic permanent makeup and acquire your operation license.  Again, the specialist and facility is responsible for managing and maintaining these standards at all times to ensure public safety.

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 contribute towards a rewarding lifelong career.



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