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Laser Hair Removal Rules and Regulations By State 

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Have you ever wondered why laser hair removal regulations vary so drastically across the United States? With rules ranging from no oversight to strict physician-only restrictions, it seems puzzling how procedures using the same technology could be controlled so differently from state to state.

Allow us to clear all doubts you have by answering all the essential questions surrounding the laser hair removal requirements of every state. 

What are the laser hair removal requirements by state?

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Laser hair removal requirements differ significantly by state. Many states require direct supervision by a medical professional like a doctor, nurse, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who oversees the facility and staff. 

Some states allow operation under cosmetology or esthetician licenses with additional certification or training. More lenient states are the ones that allow estheticians, cosmetologists, nurses, physician assistants, and electrologists. 

New York stands out as the only state with no regulations on laser hair removal. On the contrary, others stick to a “physicians only” policy. 

For your convenience, we took the time to sum up the laser hair removal requirements for each U.S. state in this table:

StatePhysician SupervisionSpecific LicensureMandated Training HoursEligible Providers
AlabamaRequiredNo16 hoursNurses, PAs, Electrologists
AlaskaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
ArizonaRequiredYes40 hoursNurses, PAs, Estheticians
ArkansasRequiredNo16 hoursNurses, PAs, Electrologists
CaliforniaRequiredNoVariesEstheticians, Nurses
ColoradoRequiredYesVariesEstheticians, Nurses, Doctors
ConnecticutRequiredNo600 hours for Medical AssistantsPhysicians Only
DelawareRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
FloridaRequiredNo30 hoursElectrologists, Nurses, Doctors
GeorgiaNot RequiredYesVariesNurses, PAs, Estheticians, Cosmetologists
HawaiiNot RequiredYes600 hoursElectrologists
IdahoRequiredNoNonePhysicians, Nurses, Estheticians
IllinoisRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
IndianaRequiredNo64 hoursPhysicians, Electrologists
IowaSometimesNo40 hoursElectrologists, Estheticians, Cosmetologists
KansasRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
KentuckyRequiredNoVariesNurses, Electrologists
LouisianaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
MaineRequiredNoNonePhysicians, Electrologists
MarylandRequiredNoNonePhysicians, Nurses, PAs
MassachusettsRequiredYesVariesElectrologists
MichiganRequiredNoNonePhysicians, Nurses, PAs
MinnesotaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
MississippiRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
MissouriRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
MontanaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
NebraskaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
NevadaNot RequiredYes75 hoursEstheticians, Cosmetologists
New HampshireRequiredNoNonePhysicians, PAs
New JerseyRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
New MexicoRequiredNoVariesNurses, Estheticians, Electrologists
New YorkNot RequiredNoNoneNone
North CarolinaRequiredYes30 hoursElectrologists
North DakotaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
OhioRequiredNoVariesNurses, Cosmetic Therapists
OklahomaRequiredNo30 hoursElectrologists, Nurses
OregonRequiredYes64 hoursEstheticians
PennsylvaniaRequiredNoNoneAny Qualified
Rhode IslandSometimesNoNoneElectrologists
South CarolinaRequiredNo16 hoursNurses, PAs, Electrologists
South DakotaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
TennesseeRequiredNoNonePhysicians, Nurses, Electrologists
TexasRequiredYes40 hoursVaries
UtahRequiredNo16 hoursNurses, Estheticians, Electrologists
VermontNot RequiredYesVariesElectrologists
VirginiaRequiredNoNoneNurses, PAs
WashingtonRequiredYes450 hoursEstheticians
West VirginiaRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only
WisconsinRequiredNo6 hoursEstheticians
WyomingRequiredNoNonePhysicians Only

Continuing Education Requirements

  1. Colorado

Laser technicians must complete 6 hours of continuing education on laser theory and safety every 2 years when renewing their license.

  1. Georgia

Laser practitioners must complete continuing education credits in laser theory and safety every 2 years when renewing their license, but the specific number of hours is not defined.

  1. Hawaii

Electrologists must complete 4 hours of continuing education every 3 years when renewing their laser hair removal license.

  1. Iowa

Those certified to perform laser/IPL hair removal must complete 4 hours of continuing education in laser/IPL theory and safety every 2 years.

  1. Massachusetts

Electrologists need to complete continuing education credits to maintain laser electrolysis approval, but the specific hours are not indicated. Additional laser training courses can count as CE credits.

  1. Nevada

Licensed estheticians must complete continuing education when renewing their advanced esthetics license every 3 years, but the specific hours are not stated.

  1. Oregon

Estheticians with advanced certifications must complete 6 hours of continuing education every 2 years when renewing their certificate.

  1. South Carolina

All laser hair removal delegates must complete continuing education on laser procedures.

  1. Wisconsin

Aestheticians must complete 6 continuing education credits in laser treatments every 3 years when renewing their laser hair removal license.

What are the requirements for laser hair removal?

The requirements for laser hair removal primarily focus on oversight, training, and safe operating procedures. According to Dr. Soni, the core prerequisites for safely and effectively performing laser hair removal focus on oversight, training, equipment, and protocols.

  • Medical Oversight – Supervision by a doctor, medical director, or delegating physician is required in most states to oversee the facility and staff.
  • Formal Training – Mandated hours of training on laser physics, skin biology, safety protocols, clinical techniques, etc. are typically required for anyone operating the laser. Popular ranges are 16-40 hours initially.
  • Facility & Operating Permits – States often require inspections, operating certificates, building code compliance, and written policies and procedures to ensure a safe professional environment.
  • Patient Screening – Thorough health histories, skin typing, physical exams, and consultations must be performed to determine candidacy and customize treatment plans.
  • Safety Standards – Protective eyewear for patients and operators, controlled treatment areas, posted warning signs, and emergency planning are compulsory.
  • Treatment Protocols – Precise protocols should be developed and followed for sanitization, laser settings/parameters, application techniques, pain management, and pre- and post-care recommendations.
  • Record Keeping – Documentation of health history, signed consent forms, treatment parameters, adverse events, and other details in secure patient charts is standard practice.
  • Continuing Education – Renewal of licenses and certificates often requires proof of regular continuing education credits in laser theory and safety.
  • Practitioner Credentials – Ideal credentials are board-certified dermatologists, plastic surgeons, or technicians with certificates from accredited national laser training institutes.

Can an esthetician do laser hair removal?

The ability of an esthetician to perform laser hair removal depends significantly on state regulations. Some states prohibit it entirely while others allow it with training and physician oversight.

In restrictive states like California, New York, and New Jersey, regulations completely forbid estheticians from providing any laser hair removal services. Only licensed medical professionals can legally operate lasers for hair removal in these states.

  • Other states permit estheticians to perform laser hair removal but have varying requirements. For example, Arizona allows estheticians to treat the entire body with physician supervision but no extra certifications.
    Whereas in Georgia, Texas, and Florida certification is mandatory for estheticians along with required training hours and physician oversight.

Overall, regulations run the gamut from total bans to conditional allowances under medical supervision to autonomous practice with training. The best practice for estheticians is to thoroughly research their state’s specific laws and work within their allowed scope of laser hair removal while emphasizing patient safety.

Can a cosmetologist do laser hair removal with their license?

In most states, cosmetologists cannot legally perform laser hair removal with only their cosmetology license. Additional training, certification, and/or supervision by a medical professional is typically required due to safety concerns and potential risks of the procedure.

  • Around 20 states, including California, Ohio, and Virginia, have laws specifically limiting laser hair removal to being performed by physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other designated medical personnel.
  • A number of other states require estheticians to have specialized laser certification and training beyond just a cosmetology license in order to legally perform laser hair removal.
    Some examples are Florida, Oregon, and Texas which mandate additional laser hair removal training and certification for estheticians through their state boards.
  • Additionally, some states require supervision by a physician or other medical professional for non-medical personnel like estheticians to perform laser hair removal legally. The level of required supervision ranges from general oversight to direct, on-site observation.
  • However, a small handful of states, like New York, currently have very minimal laws in place regarding who can perform laser hair removal procedures. However, the trend is toward increasing regulation of laser hair removal for consumer protection.

What type of license do I need for laser hair removal?

Excluding physicians, these are the only licenses that you will need to acquire to perform laser hair removal. Again, what license you need still depends on the state.

Esthetician License 

In a few states, an esthetician’s license allows the performance of laser hair removal. Estheticians receive training in skincare, makeup, waxing, and other cosmetic services. Some states mandate estheticians complete supplemental laser and light-based therapy training and certification.

Electrologist License 

Electrologists specialize in permanent hair removal techniques. Some states require they pursue additional laser hair removal training and certification to offer those services.

Laser Technician/Specialist 

A number of states have specialized laser hair removal licenses and certifications separate from the esthetics field. 

These typically involve completing a state board-approved program covering both classroom instruction in laser physics, safety, skin biology, etc. as well as hands-on training and supervised practice. 

Common minimum requirements are 24-40 hours of education and performing 100+ treatments under supervision.

Medical Licenses 

In states restricting the practice to the medical realm, licenses like nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or registered nurse allow laser hair removal administration. A medical director’s license provides oversight.

What is the licensing process for laser hair removal?

Licensing and certification requirements depend on the state you’re in. As such, it is important to check the regulations for the specific state where you plan to practice. 

  • In Texas, laser hair removal technicians must be certified by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
    There are four levels of certification: Apprentice-in-Training, Technician, Senior Technician, and Professional. Each level has specific education, training, and experience requirements.
  • In Florida, only certain licensed medical professionals (electrologists, nurses, physician assistants, doctors) can perform laser hair removal. They must also complete additional training and certification requirements. 

Most states require the completion of an approved training program, ranging from 30-40 hours of instruction in topics like laser physics, skin typing, treatment protocols, safety procedures, etc. Hands-on clinical training experience is also usually required.

After completing training, individuals generally need to apply for state certification or licensure, which may involve passing exams, paying fees, and undergoing a background check. Certifications must be renewed every few years with proof of continuing education.

FAQs

Who can perform laser hair removal in New York?

In New York, laser hair removal is unregulated, so anyone can perform it. The state has tried unsuccessfully to regulate it. There are currently no training or licensing requirements.

Who can perform laser hair removal in Florida?

In Florida, only electrologists, ARNPs, PAs, and physicians trained in hair removal can perform laser hair removal with physician supervision. They must complete additional training and certification.

What are the California laser hair removal laws?

In California, only physicians, PAs, and RNs can perform laser hair removal under physician supervision. Others like medical assistants cannot legally do it. Training requirements apply.

Do you need a license to do laser hair removal in California?

Yes, in California you need to be a physician, PA, or RN to perform laser hair removal. Others like medical assistants cannot legally do it. Specific training and licensing is mandatory.

What are the laser hair removal regulations in New York State?

New York is the only state with no regulations on laser hair removal. Anyone can perform it despite efforts to regulate it. No license or training is required.

What are the laser hair removal certification requirements in Washington State?

In Washington, only licensed medical professionals like physicians can perform laser hair removal. Estheticians cannot legally do it. Mandatory licensing and training apply.

What are the laser hair removal requirements by state in Louisiana?

Only physicians or non-physician delegates under a physician’s direct supervision can perform laser surgery or treatments

Parting Words

laser hair removal equipment

Laser hair removal regulations are complex and inconsistent across the U.S. states. Our advice is to thoroughly research your state’s requirements before offering treatments or risk penalties. 

Consult experienced medical directors and legal counsel to ensure full compliance. Ultimately, proper licensure protects technicians and the public.

At Ethos Spa, Dr. Soni closely oversees each treatment for optimal safety and results. We offer complimentary consultations to determine if laser hair removal is right for your needs and customize plans accordingly. Contact us today to learn more about our laser services.

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