Electrolysis is a specialization in the beauty field that focuses on eliminating unwanted body hair. Learn about career options and salary info in addition to education programs, courses of study and licensing requirements.
Electrolysis technology involves permanently removing unwanted facial and body hair on various parts of a patient's body. Electrologists insert a sterilized needle or probe into a hair follicle and send a small electric current that destroys the hair's ability to re-grow.
Electrology programs can prepare you for this profession through coursework and hands-on practice with volunteers. Electrologists aren't the same as laser hair removal specialists, although both professionals are skin care specialists.
According to the American Electrology Association (AEA), most electrologists are self-employed in private practices (www.electrology.com). Self-employment in electrolysis technology can include running your own practice in an office or your home or working as an independent contractor at spas or salons. You could also work for employers in doctors' offices or at businesses that provide allied health services or cosmetology services. Some electrologists find that helping raise clients' self-confidence is satisfying work. Other benefits include self-employed independence, the freedom of establishing your own work schedule and having minimal business expenses.
In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that approximately 27% of skin care specialists, including electrologists, are self-employed (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that most electrologists and skin care specialists earned between $17,460 and $51,900 yearly as of May 2012. The BLS predicted that job opportunities for electrologists and skin care specialists could increase 40% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than average for all jobs.
You can find electrolysis technology programs at electrology schools, beauty schools and community colleges. A diploma or certificate program in electrolysis technology is designed to teach you how to safely and permanently remove facial and body hair with electric currents. Programs in electrolysis technology include lectures, audio-visual instruction, lab experiences and clinical practice. Instructors will oversee your work on volunteer clients.
Typical courses cover skin and hair physiology, electrology methods, hygiene, skin diseases, chemistry, anatomy, office management and electrology equipment. You also learn how to safely treat clients with blood-borne diseases. Some electrology programs teach you how to start and market your own private practice.
Some electrolysis technology programs are combined with skin care programs that also teach makeup application and skin care techniques. Some cosmetology programs include electrolysis technology as part of a broader associate's degree curriculum.
Most states license electrologists. The requirements vary depending upon the state, but you typically need to meet some education and training requirements and pass an exam. The licensing boards in many states require a high school diploma or GED.
You can voluntarily seek certification to show your skills and commitment to the electrology profession. The AEA offers the Certified Professional Electrologist credential. You need to pass an exam to get certified and then meet continuing education requirements to retain your credential.