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Cosmetic Laser Technician Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a cosmetic laser technician. Learn about job duties, education requirements, licensure, job outlook, and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is a Cosmetic Laser Technician?

Cosmetic laser technicians are skincare specialists who focus their careers on performing laser treatments. These can include laser hair removal, tattoo removal, and reductions in age spots or freckles. Technicians may also offer related skin treatments, like skin tightening, skin resurfacing and skin rejuvenation. Additionally, because using laser technology for medical purposes can be dangerous, technicians must be experts in laser safety.

Take a look at the table below to see an overview of this career.

Training Required Certificate programs and courses for laser cosmetics
Key Responsibilities Laser hair removal, skin and facial muscle tightening, wrinkle reduction, cellulite reduction
Certification Required Certification is required by many states
Job Growth (2018-28) 11% for all skincare specialists*
Median Salary (2018) $31,290 for skincare specialists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Programs Are Available for Cosmetic Laser Technicians?

Because laser treatment for cosmetic purposes is a new and evolving career field, you can find training options more easily at private, for-profit schools. Hospitals and medical clinics also provide training on cosmetic laser machines for their nurses. While becoming a cosmetic laser technician doesn't require a specific degree, becoming a nurse requires at least an associate's degree if not a bachelor's degree.

A few community colleges do offer certificate programs for medical estheticians that include a course or courses on lasers for cosmetic treatment. Standalone laser courses may be available as well. Course content includes such topics as laser and tissue interactions, skin anatomy and pathophysiology, types of medical lasers and laser safety.

Is Certification Available?

Two certification options are available from The International Commission for Hair Removal Certification (ICHRC)--but only for laser hair removal, not other laser cosmetic procedures. These include the Certified Laser Hair Removal Professional (CLHRP) or a Certified Pulse Light Hair Removal Professional (CPLHRP). Both the CLHRP and CPLHRP exams consist of 100 questions and must be retaken every five years. The Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal reports that one of these certifications is necessary to work in Florida, and other states may reflect similar requirements.

Where Could I Work?

Dermatologists' offices, plastic surgery clinics, medical spas and facilities that use lasers for body hair removal are among your potential employers. Specific figures for cosmetic laser technicians are not available, but skin care specialists as a broad category held approximately 50,740 jobs in the U.S. as of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expects a 11% increase in employment from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). Ordinary population growth, the popularity of skin treatments for medical purposes and improvements in laser technology as a cosmetic tool are expected to be the factors driving growth.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Body-hair removal is a popular use of laser treatment and likely to be one you perform frequently. Other treatments include skin and facial muscle tightening, wrinkle reduction, cellulite reduction, age spot removal, varicose vein removal, tattoo removal and relief of Rosacea. Pre-treatment, you consult with clients about their needs, evaluate their skin condition and consult with a nurse or physician about the best approach toward providing care.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

Though exact salary stats are not available for cosmetic laser technicians, they are available in related fields. According to Payscale.com, medical estheticians in the 10th-90th percentile earned $27,000-$71,000, and skin care specialists earned between $30,000 and $50,000, as of November 2019.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of focusing your career on providing laser treatments, you could work as a general esthetician. These professionals provide a wide range of skin care treatments, including facials, waxing and makeup application. In all states except Connecticut, you must complete a training program and pass a licensure exam to become an esthetician. Another option is to become a hairdresser. Their services include hair cutting, coloring, styling and shampooing. You need to complete a state-sanctioned cosmetologist training program and pass a licensure exam for this job.