Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing: Fiction vs Fact
One thing is for sure, people have a lot of questions about the Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing. Unfortunately, it can be hard to make sense of all the information floating around.
The diploma is new and a big point of discussion in the industry at the moment so it's important to understand how and where it might affect you, whether you choose to train in the diploma or not.
For the most part (at this point in time), there will be little to no change for most technicians. That being said, let's set the record straight...
Fiction vs Fact: Setting the record straight
Fiction: "The new Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing is compulsory and I won't be able to work as a cosmetic tattooist without it."
Fact: There are no regulations in Australia requiring cosmetic tattooists to have any training or any qualifications, apart from a formal qualification in infection control (i.e. from an Registered Training Organisation).
Fiction: "The diploma lacks content."
Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth. The new diploma is a comprehensive qualification on cosmetic tattooing that is government-accredited and only available through a RTO.
The diploma course requirements show you how much has to be included in the diploma. Each RTO must develop their own content to meet all the requirements (a huge job). A properly constructed diploma that is compliant with all the course requirements will be jam-packed with detailed information and content. Much of it will be available to the industry for the first time.
That being said, the usual rules of buying a course apply. Check out the RTO, the trainers, their reputation, the quality of the work of their past students, and ask about the course. It is easy to create nice social media, but it is hard work to create great course content.
Fiction: "RTO trainers don't need any experience."
Fact: As well as being an accredited trainer (requiring a Cert IV Trainer & Assessor (TAE) qualification), a cosmetic tattoo diploma trainer must have a minimum of three years of experience as a cosmetic tattooist.
That being said, trainers with an RTO will typically have much more than three years of experience.
Fiction: "TAE-qualified trainers (an "accredited trainer") can teach cosmetic tattooing."
Fact: Only if they have a minimum of three years of experience as a cosmetic tattooist. Being an accredited trainer means you are accredited to teach.
Holding a TAE shows commitment to learning how to deliver structured education, but means very little when the trainer is not delivering a nationally accredited training course through a registered training organisation.
Always look for a trainer that has plenty of cosmetic tattoo experience and does work that you like.
Fiction: "You must have the diploma to get insurance."
Fact: Not true, and not even close. Most insurance companies will simply ask if a technician is "suitably qualified" or something to that language.
In the cosmetic tattoo industry, the definition of "qualified" is highly variable, as there is no governing industry body. The diploma of cosmetic tattooing realistically can/will only affect insurance when a lot of cosmetic tattooists have it. Premiums may be reduced for diploma-qualified technicians as a start.
It is always worth confirming with your insurance provider what they require for insurance coverage.
Fiction: "The diploma will never become a requirement because it would be too big a job to get everyone qualified."
Fact: The diploma is a 'stand-alone' qualification (not part of the beauty therapy diploma). This is a major step forward in raising industry standards and provides a benchmark for future regulation.
Regulation usually occurs when there are problems in an industry. When there are a lot of complaints and/or malpractice claims, then the regulators normally step in. The explosion in popularity of cosmetic tattooing and lack of standards means this is more and more likely.
Fiction: "The diploma won't teach you anything new."
Fact: The diploma structure provides a comprehensive structure that allows you to customise your training. You will obtain in-depth knowledge of skin, pigments and consultations, as well as gain skills in running a business and maximising your social media skills.
Only actually doing the diploma will show you how much there is to learn. Check out the course requirements here https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/SHB50321. You can choose if you want to train in brows, lips, eyeliner, scalp micropigmentation and/or 3D nipple areola.
Fiction: "The diploma isn't supported by the industry."
Fact: Change in any industry always meets resistance, particularly from people comfortable with the current situation. The diploma is a huge step forward in improving industry standards and driving greater professionalism across the industry.
Fiction: "You have to pay for and learn about a lot of techniques you are not interested in."
Fact: The diploma allows you to specialise. You only have to do one practical unit if you want to specialise in, say, brows or scalp micropigmentation. Your diploma will then be qualified as follows (example): "Diploma of Cosmetic Tattooing (Scalp Micropigmentation)".
There is a lot of flexibility in how your diploma can be structured, and you can add new skills later to upgrade your diploma.
Fiction: "It will be easy to get RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)"
Fact: There is a lot of new content in the diploma, so even experienced cosmetic tattooists will have to complete most or all of the core units of competency on skin & hair, colour theory and pigments, design and consultation. The same applies to any business units and social media.
For the practical units (eyebrows, lips, eyeliner, SMP, areola) existing knowledge and experience will really help with RPL, with each student needing to be submit evidence to determine if further study or practical training is required.
Fiction: "Instead of a diploma you can do a Certificate IV, one level down in terms of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications."
Fact: Not true. This is currently simply a rumour without any basis.
Fiction: "There is no point going to an RTO for training. You may as well just go to a non-accredited trainer."
Fact: When you go to an RTO, you know the training has to meet accredited standards, and that the college is regularly checked for student satisfaction and compliance.
At an RTO you get a nationally recognised qualification that you know meets a high standard. Too many people are desperately disappointed when they pay thousands of $ for a non-accredited course with a room full of other students and leave with little confidence in any new skills.
Why would you not go to an RTO when there is little difference in course costs?