What Qualifications Do I Need to be a Laser Tattoo Removal Practitioner?

What Qualifications Do I Need to be a Laser Tattoo Removal Practitioner_
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The laser tattoo removal industry attracts potential practitioners from several different professional backgrounds: tattoo artists, nurse practitioners, electrologists, plastic surgeons, cosmetologists, massage therapists, dermatologists – even first-time entrepreneurs new to the aesthetics industry. Because these people are already certified in particular areas of medicine or aesthetics, they’re unsure of what qualifications (if any) they’ll need to become a laser tattoo removal practitioner. 

While laser regulations vary by state, it’s crucial to understand what your current profession qualifies you to do. In this blog, we’ll address understanding your qualifications for laser tattoo removal if you’re certified in other areas.  

FIRST: Understand your position. What does your state already qualify you to do? What (if any) additional training, certifications, or licenses will you need?

SECOND: Determine who, if anyone, you need to bring in or coordinate with. Do you need a Medical Director? Who can you list as your Medical Director?

If you’re certified in ____, understand your “Scope of Practice.” 

“Do I need a license to fire a laser?” is probably one of the first things you’ll ask yourself when researching your path to becoming a laser tattoo removal practitioner. The answer will likely depend on the “Board of (insert your profession here).” and its definition of “Scope of Practice.” 

For example, if you’re a nurse researching how to start performing laser tattoo removal, consult the Board of Medicine AND the Board of Nursing. Both may state that you need a medical director, but the onsite or offsite requirement may allow you to do more. In even more loosely regulated states, if the Board of Nursing considers laser tattoo removal treatments within a nurse’s scope of practice, you may not need a medical director (MD or DO). 

Electrologists, estheticians, and cosmetologists looking to do laser treatments should also look into their “Scope of Practice.”

What if I’m a non-MD/DO physician? 

If you’re a chiropractor, dentist, optometrist, or other non-MD/DO physician, you should consult your regulatory board to see if your governing body considers laser-use within your scope of practice. We’ve seen that non-MD/DO physicians experience more difficulty proving the “Scope of Practice” argument to their boards. But, it’s always worth calling and presenting your case to find out for yourself.  

After sorting out whether you need a license, it’s time to determine who in your state can qualify as a medical director for your clinic. 

Nurse Practitioners, do your research! 

Nurse Practitioners (NP) could potentially satisfy the medical director requirement in many states, depending on their scope of practice and prescriptive authority. Some states will show that an NP has full prescriptive authority, indicating they can serve as a medical director for a laser clinic. Others may show NPs have limited prescriptive authority, typically requiring them to find a physician to serve as a medical director. 


“Research ways to meet your state’s requirements, and don’t forget to use “Scope of practice” to your advantage. If you need a medical director, make sure to operate under a professional who can delegate laser tattoo removal treatments. Consider alternatives for medical directors if your state allows it. 

Boards of Nursing and Medicine don’t always align, so always triple-check your paths to market while following the rules.” 

– Justin Arnosky, VP of Clinical Education for Astanza Laser / Director of New Look Laser College

Training and Certifications Available through New Look Laser College 

Each New Look Laser College student should understand their state’s laws regarding laser tattoo removal practitioners before attending a course. NLLC students earn three certifications upon completing our training course: Certified Laser Specialist (CLS) Certification, Laser Safety Officer (LSO) Certifications, and Advanced Laser Tattoo Removal Certification. Our team of tattoo removal training experts is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding laser regulations in your state. To learn more about finding laser laws in your area, click here or below to watch the pre-recorded webinar, “Tips for Researching Laser Regulations in Your State!”


Click to watch the webinar, "Tips for Researching Laser Regulations in Your State"