Micropigmentation is the process of placing very small granules of pigment under the skin. The primary reason for performing micropigmentation is usually cosmetic enhancement, although this procedure may also be a medical correction. Organizations such as the American Academy of Micropigmentation consider micropigmentation to be a specialized skill rather than a specific occupation.
The salary expectations of a micropigmentation artist depend directly on the specific techniques the artist is able to use. The Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals (SPCP) advises that micropigmentation artists be skilled in all three micropigmentation techniques. This includes performing the procedure with the hands, a traditional tattoo machine and a rotary machine. Micropigmentation artists also need expertise in cosmetic design, sterilization procedures and marketing skills.
The typical education for a micropigmentation artist consists of a short period of formal training followed by a longer apprenticeship. The majority of practitioners have two weeks or less of formal training in micropigmentation, according to the SPCP, with the tuition averaging about $2,500. An apprenticeship with an experienced micropigmentation artist typically lasts for six months to a year. Micropigmentation artists should not expect significant income until they complete their apprenticeship.
The Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) expects the employment of estheticians to grow at a much faster rate than most other occupations. Estheticians and other skincare specialists are the occupations most likely to perform micropigmentation. The BLS projects that these occupations will grow by nearly 38 percent from 2008 to 2018. The salary expectations for entry-level micropigmentation artists is especially favorable, while experienced practitioners can expect increased competition from advancing micropigmentation specialists.
The average cost for a micro-pigmentation procedure was about $500 in 2006, according to the SPCP. Skilled practitioners charge about $200 an hour and typically include one touch up in the cost of the procedure. Micropigmentation typically requires an additional touch up every four years. An established micropigmentation artist performs about 11.6 procedures each month, providing an average gross income between $55,000 and $80,000 per year.