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How to Get a Permanent Makeup License

How to Get a Permanent Makeup License

Today, the cosmetics industry is absolutely booming. With the market expected to reach a value of $863 billion by 2024, it’s no wonder that so many people are looking to make their way into the industry. One of the professions that has become popular in the cosmetics industry is permanent makeup artistry, the application of permanent micro pigments onto the skin to recreate the look of day-to-day makeup. Naturally, in order to become a practitioner of permanent makeup, training, education, and licensure are needed.

So, you want to know how to get a permanent makeup license? In short, while requirements vary from state to state, a permanent makeup license can be obtained by attending a permanent makeup program or course, completing the necessary testing, and applying for state licensure.

Below, I’ll walk you through what you need to know in order to get a permanent makeup license and break into the cosmetics industry.

The Step-by-Step Process of Getting a Permanent Makeup License

Applying permanent makeup to those who seek to get it requires a lot of knowledge – applying permanent makeup and pigment to someone’s skin is no easy task. Among a lot of other necessary information, you’ll need to know what equipment is used, application techniques, and safety and health standards. Let’s start from the very beginning of how to get a permanent makeup license.

Permanent Makeup License Overview

Like you read earlier, requirements for practicing and being licensed for permanent makeup vary from state to state. You’ll want to make sure to do your research on what your state requires in order to become a permanent makeup practitioner.

Although practicing requirements and standards vary, it’s recommended for those who seek to practice permanent makeup to receive licensure. That being said, in this article, we will assume that you need to have a permanent makeup license in your state in order to become a permanent makeup practitioner.

Meet the Basic Requirements

Before seeking out a permanent makeup license, you will want to be sure you meet the basic requirements. These of course vary from state to state and may even vary from area to area, but we can generally rely on some basic requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age (some states require you to be at least 18 years of age)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Submit the required documents (sometimes this may be just your identification, or it may be something more like a CPR certification)

Research and Choose a Permanent Makeup Training Program

Previously you read that applying permanent makeup is no easy task, and that much is true. In order to learn all the required and advised information to become a permanent makeup practitioner and get a permanent makeup license, it’s recommended to attend a permanent makeup training program. In these programs, you can typically expect both in-class lectures and hands-on training in clinical environments, which is important!

Choosing a permanent makeup program in order to get a permanent makeup license may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Make sure to do your research and compare training courses and programs to see what the best fit is for you. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to consider some of the following information so you can be sure you’re choosing a good program.

What Makes a Good Permanent Makeup Program?

A “good” permanent makeup program will mean something different for everyone, but when we discuss it, we mean a program that is of quality and covers the necessary subjects in order to get a permanent makeup license.

These are some of the factors you should be on the lookout for when choosing a good, quality permanent makeup program:

  • The program, school or course is approved by your state
  • The program, school or course abides by FDA regulations
  • The curriculum covers the important big subjects, like sanitation and health, patient skills, makeup application, eye and skin anatomy, and equipment use
  • The program is a good fit for you and your schedule
  • Other factors: the program offers financial aid resources and career finding resources

Things like the program being approved by the state and abiding by FDA regulations are generally baseline factors that make a good permanent makeup program, as is the curriculum covering the large important subjects. These aspects are important in looking for a permanent makeup training program, and you should try to attend one that respectively covers them.

Something that varies in a good permanent makeup program is how it’s good for you. To determine if a good permanent makeup program is a good fit for you, you may want to consider some questions like:

  • Does the course timeline fit with my current schedule?
  • Can I afford this program?
  • Am I able to easily travel to this program?
  • Is this program one I can see myself attending for the full amount of time required?

A few other aspects that may make a permanent makeup program good are financial aid resources and career finding resources. Not every program or course will offer these two aspects, but as you can imagine, they’re helpful! Why not make the process easier for yourself? Financial aid resources will help alleviate the burden of paying for the program or course, and career finding resources can help you get to work once you’ve gotten your permanent makeup license.

More Information About Permanent Makeup Training Programs


Another varying aspect of permanent makeup training programs is the cost. The cost of a program may be determined by the length of the program, which we will discuss below. On average, permanent makeup training can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $7,500, although costs may fall outside these ranges.

Remember, there may also be additional fees in permanent makeup programs for things like equipment and books. It may also be helpful for you to factor in other costs of attending a permanent makeup program, like transportation costs.


The lengths of different permanent makeup training programs vary as well. This means the amount of time it can take to obtain your permanent makeup license will vary. Basic training courses offered in permanent makeup can range anywhere from three to six months to complete.

There are some in-depth training programs that have been said to take six months or longer to complete, and a lot of practitioners, instructors and professionals in the industry recommend these longer, in-depth courses.

Additionally, there are shorter courses that may take anywhere from only one weekend to five days to complete. These “crash courses” (as some might call them) aren’t recommended for those who are looking to obtain a permanent makeup license and work professionally unless they already have experience with tattooing or are just needing a refresher.

Courses You May Take

Earlier, we discussed some of the main subjects offered in permanent makeup training programs. Some of these are health and sanitation, patient skills, and makeup application. Like you read, there are additional important subjects that are crucial to learn in order to get your permanent makeup license.

Courses and subjects may be taught in in-class lectures or in clinical environments for hands-on training. Curious what some of the specific subjects and courses are that you may learn in a permanent makeup training program? Here are a few:

  • Procedure Room / Station Setup and Clean Up
  • Sanitation
  • Sterilization
  • Before and After Procedure Photography
  • Needle Selection and Usage
  • Symmetry
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Color Mixing and Color Theory
  • Skin Types
  • Skin Colors and Undertones
  • Technical Permanent Makeup Application
  • Client Consultation

Of course, these are just typical examples. Programs vary, and therefore the courses and subjects may vary; there may be fewer or more courses included in this list in any given program. Remember to do your research and compare programs!

Other Courses and Training

In addition to your permanent makeup program, you may be required to take other outside courses and training. Since permanent makeup practitioners work closely with the body and skin, most of these outside courses are health related.

Bloodborne Pathogen Training

Applying permanent makeup comes with the risk of coming into contact with blood. Because of that, OSHA requires that anyone who may be exposed to blood on the job completes Bloodborne Pathogen and safety Training. In this training, aspiring permanent makeup artists will learn how to safely protect from, handle and dispose of infectious materials. In most states, in order to get your permanent makeup license, you will need to complete bloodborne pathogen training.

First Aid and Safety Training

Additionally, in most states, you’ll need to complete first aid and safety training (like CPR, for example) in order to get a permanent makeup license. Since permanent makeup artists are in such close proximity with people and most always work with people, learning how to respond to first aid emergencies and perform CPR is important.

Finished With Training? Time to Apply for Licensure

Once you have completed the necessary training requirements in order to become a permanent makeup practitioner, you can submit an application for licensure to your state’s board. Licensure typically costs a fee, so be prepared to pay your state’s fees in order to apply for and obtain your permanent makeup license.

When pursuing licensure, you may be required to pass an examination. They may be written, oral, and/or a practical demonstration of skills. Typically, these examinations test the candidate’s knowledge of safety techniques and sanitation, rules and regulations for permanent makeup artists in the state, and practical skills.

Permanent makeup artists can also pursue certification by passing the Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional exam through the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals. This allows the candidate to become a certified permanent cosmetic technician.

More Information on Permanent Makeup as a Profession

Once you have become a professional permanent makeup technician and have obtained your permanent makeup license, there are some additional factors you may want to consider, like licensure renewal, continuing education, and facts about the profession itself. Let’s look more in depth at permanent makeup as a profession.

Renewing Your Permanent Makeup License

In states that require permanent makeup artists to be licenced, renewing that license is also required. Permanent makeup licenses typically need to be renewed every two years. However, some states have been known to require renewal every year, or only every three years.

It’s important for permanent makeup artists to know when their state requires license renewal. The good thing is, once you’ve gotten your initial license, it’s typically a lot easier and faster to renew your license.

Continuing Education Courses

Continuing education courses are offered by a lot of programs and institutions to help permanent makeup artists expand their knowledge of the profession, keep their knowledge fresh, and even to learn and offer new procedures/services.

In some states, continuing education credits are required in order to keep certification and licensure. This varies from place to place. However, permanent makeup practitioners should see continuing education courses as a way to expand and stay up to date on the latest knowledge and keep their work the best it can be.

Continuing education courses for licensed permanent makeup artists can often be found at the same institution training was received at. Sometimes, they are offered at several other institutions or outside sources.

Permanent Makeup Career Overview

When choosing to be licensed in a profession, it’s important to know factors about what it may be like to actually work in the field. Here are some of the factors making up the career outlook for permanent makeup artists.

Career Outlook and Job Prospects

Currently, the number of jobs in the cosmetic industry exceed about 673,000. Many of those jobs belong to permanent makeup artists, and many more jobs are expected to open up as the industry continues to flourish.

Job prospects are expected to grow 13% for the profession from 2016 to 2026, which is more than double the average job prospects for all jobs in the United States.

Permanent Makeup Artist Salaries

As of May 2019, the national average salary for Permanent Makeup Artists in the United States is $65,724 per year. The majority of permanent makeup artists make between $25,000 per year and $61,500 per year depending on hours worked and procedures performed, as well as the location that a permanent makeup artists work.

Permanent makeup artists who work somewhere like a doctor’s office may only make a portion of the money their procedures bring in, or they may work for a salary or hourly wage. On the other hand, a permanent makeup artist who has an independent studio may take in all the money their procedures bring in, but they will have to pay for their business costs and expenses.

Where to Work Once You Have a Professional Makeup License

Most often, the point of getting licensed in a field is to work in that field. So, where do aspiring permanent makeup artists work once they have obtained their license? Some were previously discussed, like doctor’s offices and independent studios.

Reportedly, 37.6% of permanent makeup artists work in salons. However, there are many other places they may work, like:

  • Spa
  • Dermatologist’s Office
  • Doctor’s Office
  • Independent Studio
  • Tattoo Studio
  • Permanent Makeup Training Facility
  • Electrolysis Clinics
  • Massage Clinics

This is by no means a complete list, as professional makeup artists may work in a myriad of places. Keep that in mind when you seek out a place of work as a professional makeup artist.

Consider How to Market Your Skills

Since more than 80% of permanent makeup artists have reported being self-employed, a huge part of them being able to get and maintain clients is to market their skills. Even permanent makeup artists who work for another business or aren’t self employed could gain a lot from marketing their skills and services.

In the age of the internet and digital media, marketing is bigger than ever, and the amount of platforms for permanent makeup artists to market their skills seems almost never-ending. That’s great news! That being said, where do permanent makeup artists market their skills?

Approximately 82% of permanent makeup artists have their own website. Websites are one of the most popular ways for permanent makeup artists to show their services and bring in more clients, closely followed by social media. Social media outlets like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter are all popular and useful platforms for professionals to market their skills and services.

When marketing her or his skills, a permanent makeup artist may include before and after photos of procedures done, a list of services offered, price ranges, and other information like contact information and location.

Consider Professional Networking

Like with a lot of professions, another large component to success in the cosmetics industry as a permanent makeup artist is professional networking. Connecting with mentors and peers and other professionals in the field can help any professional makeup artist build new business opportunities and learn more. Permanent makeup artists can engage in professional networking is by:

  • Joining the Society for Permanent Cosmetic Professionals to get insight on events and career sources
  • Attending continuing education courses and workshops
  • Utilizing LinkedIn
  • Joining the National Tattoo Association to network with other artists and attend the yearly convention
  • Reaching out to former instructors and classmates

Those in the permanent makeup profession have a lot of options and choices when it comes to professional networking. Utilizing them comes with many benefits!


Ready to pursue a permanent makeup license and join the booming cosmetics industry? Great choice! Remember, as discussed previously, a permanent makeup license can be obtained by attending a permanent makeup program or course, completing the necessary testing, and applying for state licensure.

Learn More

If you are interested, here is a link to the Makeup section on Amazon.