Understanding who needs Licensing

In the rapidly growing field of non-invasive and invasive aesthetics, there's often confusion surrounding who needs licensing and who doesn't. Let's dive into the essentials and debunk common misconceptions about licensing for practitioners. 

Licensing Requirements
Licensing requirements for aesthetic practitioners vary depending on the nature of the services provided and the jurisdiction in which they operate.
Professional Licensee
A professional licensee is an individual certified to practice in a specialized field, such as medical professionals, cosmetologists, estheticians, and massage therapists. They meet regulatory standards and maintain licensure at a state regulated level. This license type does not permit travel or use across multiple cities.
Non-Professional Licensee
A non-professional licensee is an individual certified to perform services such as body sculpting, permanent makeup (PMU), lash extensions, artificial nails, and hair removal. They meet regulatory standards and maintain licensure through the National Medspa Association (NMSA). This licensure permits them to work within their residing state and allows for travel abroad with an appropriate travel visa extension.
Invasive Endorsement License
The Invasive Endorsement License is specifically for medical professionals who hold a CMA/CCMA, phlebotomy technician certification, or a higher medical degree. This endorsement extends their medical credentials, enabling them to perform aesthetic invasive services such as Botox, dermal fillers, IV hydration, and other aesthetic injectable treatments. Typically, their primary certifications do not cover aesthetic treatments. A medical director must oversee these services, and the National Medspa Association (NMSA) can recommend one for individuals who do not already have one.

Why Licensing Matters:

Licensing isn’t just a bureaucratic requirement – it’s a crucial safeguard for both practitioners and clients. Here’s why licensing matters:

Client Safety: Licensing ensures that practitioners have undergone proper training and adhere to established standards of practice, reducing the risk of complications and adverse outcomes for clients.

Professionalism: Obtaining a license demonstrates a practitioner’s commitment to professionalism, ethics, and accountability, instilling confidence in clients and colleagues alike.

Legal Compliance: Operating without proper licensing can result in legal consequences, including fines, penalties, and even legal action. By obtaining the necessary licenses, practitioners can avoid legal pitfalls and protect their practice.

Entry Level Professionals who offer basic services or trainings which includes but not limited to:

Body Sculpting – Body Sculpting includes various treatments such as LED Light Therapy, Cavitation, Low Level Laser Lipo, Low Level RF, Vacuum Therapy Enhancement, Body Wrapping, Wood Therapy, Ice Sculpting, Infrared Therapy, and Lymphatic Stimulation.

Brows- Brows services encompass Brow Lamination, Henna Brows, and Brow Threading.

Lash Extensions- Lashes services typically include various options for eyelash extensions.

Vaginal- Vaginal services may include treatments such as V-Steaming.

Tanning- Tanning services cover Basic Tanning procedures.

Hair Removal- Hair Removal services consist of Sugar Waxing and Strip Waxing treatments.


Education Prerequisites:

  • 17 years of age
  • 16-hour CE Training (Minimum of 2 days, includes online training modules)
  • Certification of Completion

Business Prerequisites:

  • EIN
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Business Insurance
  • Resellers License (only if products are being sold)

Master Level Professionals who offer basic services or trainings which includes but not limited to:

Body Sculpting: (LED Light Therapy, Cavitation, Low Level Laser Lipo, Low Level RF, Vacuum Therapy Enhancement. Body Wrapping. Wood Therapy, Ice Sculpting, Infrared Therapy, Lymphatic Stimulation, Em-Sculpting, Cool Sculpting and Cryotherapy)

Brows: Brow Lamination Henna Brows, Brow Threading

PMU (Permanent Makeup)- Microblading, Micro-Shading, Scalp Pigmentation, Powder Brows, Areola Micropigmentation, Lip Pigmentation, Stretch Mark Camouflage, PMU Eyeliner

Lash Extensions

Vaginal: V-Steaming, Vaginal & Facial HIFU

Tanning: Basic and Advanced Tanning

Artificial Nails:  Acrylic, Gel, Powder, Encapsulation

Hyaluron Pen: Lip Fillers, Fat Dissolvers, Enhancement Fillers, Dermal Fillers

Aesthetics: Carbon Laser Facial. Plasma Fibroblast, Chemical Peels

Hair Removal: Sugar Waxing, Strip Waxing. Hard Waxing, Laser Hair Removal, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light

Oral Care– Teeth Whitening, – Tooth Gems

Body Piercing- Ears, Nose, Facial. Genitals


Education Prerequisites:

  • 17 years of age
  • 16-hour CE Training (Minimum of 2 days for Level I Services)
  • 32-hour CE Training (Minimum of 4 days for Level II Services, includes online training modules)
  • Certification of Completion


Business Prerequisites:

  • EIN
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Business Insurance
  • Resellers License (only if products are being sold)

Medical Professionals who offer invasive aesthetic services or trainings which includes but not limited to:


Cosmetic Injections: Botox, Botulinum Toxins, and Neurotoxins, Mesotherapy, Dermal Fillers, Lip Fillers, Enhancements, Fat Dissolvers

IV Hydration: IV Drip, Vitamin Boost, Energy Boost, Heart Health, Inflammatory Support, Immunity Boost, Weight Management

Education Prerequisites:

  • 17 years of age
  • 16-hour CE Training (Minimum of 2 days for Level I Services)
  • 32-hour CE Training (Minimum of 4 days for Level II Services, includes online training modules)
  • Certification of Completion


Business Prerequisites:

  • EIN
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Business Insurance
  • Resellers License (only if products are being sold)

Determining WHAT LICENSE IS NEEDED

The National Medspa Association (NMSA) has established a tiered licensing system to ensure practitioners meet the necessary standards for their scope of practice. Here’s a breakdown of the licensing requirements for Levels I, II, and III:
Level I: Non-Invasive Aesthetics
One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that non-invasive services such as body sculpting, lash extensions, PMU etc. don’t require licensing. In reality, regulations that require all individuals performing aesthetic procedures to obtain proper licensing in conjunction with a certification of completion.
Level II: Intermediate Invasive Aesthetics
A common misconception is that a certification of completion is the only credential needed to perform aesthetic services. However, a certification alone does not constitute a legal document that permits the rendering of paid services to clients. This myth is often perpetuated by unlicensed individuals. Proper licensure, in compliance with state and national regulations, is necessary to legally provide aesthetic treatments.
Level III: Advanced Invasive Aesthetics
NMSA for aesthetic services not covered under medical licenses. Training: Extensive accredited training and clinical practice to ensure high standards of safety and effectiveness. Oversight: Medical spas operated by medical professionals must be overseen by a medical director. Practitioners need an endorsement license from the NMSA to cover aesthetics such as Botox, IV therapy, and cosmetic fillers, which are not covered under medical certifications.

LICENSING PROCESS

  • Notarization

    The first step in the licensing process involves gathering and verifying applicants' contact and business information through notarization. This ensures the authenticity and accuracy of the details provided.

  • Mandatory Course

    The second step in the licensing process involves completing a series of mandatory courses designed to equip practitioners with the essential knowledge and skills needed to provide safe and effective services.

  • Business Resources

    To further streamline the licensing process, the NMSA offers a comprehensive set of business resources to assist practitioners in gathering and submitting the necessary documents efficiently.

  • Apply

    Once all required documents are gathered and organized, the next step is to formally apply for your licensure. The NMSA provides comprehensive support to ensure your application process is smooth and efficient.

  • Approval/Denial

    The 5th step is the approval/denial process; applications are reviewed within 5-7 business days, with approval notifications sent for completed submissions, while denials occur only due to missing documentation, which can be resubmitted for reevaluation.

  • Shipment/Delivery

    The final step is shipment; upon approval, the licensing package will be mailed to the address provided on the notarization form, taking 7-10 business days after approval, with shipments made via USPS.

common Misconceptions

Despite the importance of licensing, several misconceptions persist in the aesthetics industry. Let's address some of the most common ones usually spread by unlicensed individuals.

Licensing Not Required for Non-Invasive Services
One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that non-invasive services such as body sculpting, lash extensions, PMU etc. don’t require licensing. In reality, regulations that require all individuals performing aesthetic procedures to obtain proper licensing in conjunction with a certification of completion.
Only a certification is needed
A common misconception is that a certification of completion is the only credential needed to perform aesthetic services. However, a certification alone does not constitute a legal document that permits the rendering of paid services to clients. This myth is often perpetuated by unlicensed individuals. Proper licensure, in compliance with state and national regulations, is necessary to legally provide aesthetic treatments.
Licensing is Optional for Aesthetic Services
A common misconception is that licensing is optional for performing aesthetic services. In reality, operating without proper licensure can put any business at significant risk of fines and shutdowns. Legal compliance with licensing requirements is essential to avoid these severe consequences and ensure the legitimacy and safety of the services provided.

Types of Facilites

Aesthetic facilities include Non-Invasive, Medical and Hybrid Spas.
Each caters to different client needs, ensuring a comprehensive beauty and wellness experience.

Non-Invasive Spa 

Non-Invasive Spa Facility A Non-Invasive Spa facility offers beauty and wellness services without surgery, operated by skilled and licensed providers. Services include body sculpting, lash extensions, permanent makeup (PMU), artificial nails, and hair removal. 

Medical Spas: Operated by medical professionals and overseen by a medical director, medical spas offer treatments like Botox, IV therapy, and cosmetic fillers. While medical injectors are governed by the medical board, their licenses may not cover all aesthetic services. An endorsement license from the NMSA can fill this gap, ensuring comprehensive coverage for aesthetic treatments.

Hybrid Medspas: These establishments combine medical and non-invasive treatments. Practitioners must navigate regulatory requirements from both the medical board and the NMSA to ensure all services meet professional and safety standards.

Zoning and Location

Selecting a location can be exciting, but understanding the proper formalities is crucial for aesthetic practitioners. Zoning laws divide land into districts with specific building and usage rules. 

Business owners needn’t handle zoning themselves; leaseholders typically manage this. Some leases may require professional occupations to obtain permits.

We encourage professionals to opt for suite-style facilities that don’t need zoning or partner with flexible leaseholders. NMSA doesn’t assist with zoning; it’s the licensee’s responsibility to manage lease stipulations.

Facility license

Facilities that operate with only one licensee will be considered a single licensed facility. These facilities are operated/owned by a single member entity such as a Sole Proprietor or LLC company.

These facilities are required to obtain Articles of Incorporation through their Secretary of State.

Additionally, each licensee will be provided with a Facility License and Facility Number at the time of applying for the NMSA Official License. Both documents should be displayed prominently on the wall of the workplace, along with an Accredited or Licensed Window decal on the door of the establishment. There will be no additional cost for obtaining the facility license, as this is incorporated into the licensing fees. Members will have instant access to download a copy of their facility license upon purchase. An official copy will also be mailed.

Facilities operating with only one licensee are classified as single licensed facilities. These establishments are owned or operated by a sole proprietor or an LLC entity. 

To comply with regulations, these facilities must acquire Articles of Incorporation through their Secretary of State. 

Upon application for the NMSA Official License, each licensee will receive a Facility License and Facility Number. Both documents should be visibly displayed within the workplace, accompanied by an Accredited or Licensed window decal on the establishment’s door. 

There is no extra cost associated with obtaining the facility license, as it is included in the licensing fees. Members can instantly download a copy of their facility license upon purchase, and an official copy will also be sent by mail.

Facilities operating multiple locations with three or more licensees are categorized as Dual/Franchised licensed facilities. These establishments operate at two or more locations, overseen by multiple licensed member entities such as a Partnership, LLC, or Corporation company.

To comply with regulations, these facilities must acquire Articles of Incorporation through their Secretary of State.

For facilities operating at two or more locations with three or more members, we recommend contacting the NMSA to receive a Dual/Franchised Facility & multi-member discount.

Additionally, each location will be provided with only one facility license. Individual Occupational licenses will be required for each working member.

The Facility license will be provided to the owner who holds the maximum company shares. The business owner with the maximum company shares must apply on behalf of each facility.

All licensing documentation should be prominently displayed on the wall of each facility, along with an Accredited or Licensed Window decal on the establishment’s door.

There will be an additional cost for the second location and every subsequent location. Each official facility license copy will be mailed to each individual location.