The Lash Pros Dilemma: Licensed vs Certified Lash Tech

According to Yahoo Finance, the eyelash business is booming, and it’s set to hit a whopping $569.8 million in growth by 2027. With this growing demand, tons of people are getting into the eyelash game, wanting to offer lash services and extensions. But, to get started in this gig, you gotta go through some solid training that covers everything about lash extensions and related services. Now, in this ever-changing field, whether you go for a license or certification is a big deal. Ultimately, the choice between becoming a licensed vs certified lash tech depends on an individual’s goals and the regulatory requirements in their area.

licensed vs certified lash tech
There are many factors to consider when choosing between a lash tech license and certification.

What does it mean to have a lash tech certification or lash tech license?

Obtaining an eyelash extension certification signifies that you have undergone training at an accredited institution and successfully passed an examination, demonstrating your proficiency in applying lash enhancements.

For those pursuing a career as a lash technician, this is a frequently asked question. An eyelash extension license is acquired through the cosmetology board of a particular state, enabling a lash technician to practice legally within that state.

To obtain an eyelash extensions license in a specific state, the lash technician must take additional steps, such as applying to the state’s cosmetology board and meeting their specific criteria.

Licensed vs Certified Lash Tech: Main Differences

licensed vs certified lash tech
Image Source: The Lash Lounge
  1. Licensed Lash Tech

  •  A licensed lash tech typically refers to someone who has obtained a state or local government license to perform lash extension services.
  •  Licensing requirements vary by location, but they may include completing a state-approved training program, passing written and practical exams, and meeting health and safety standards.
  •  Having a lash extension license usually implies that the lash tech has met specific regulatory standards and can legally offer their services in their jurisdiction.
  1. Certified Lash Tech

  • A certified lash technician is someone who has completed a training program or course in eyelash extensions and has received a certificate of completion from a training provider.
  • Certification is often obtained through private training schools, beauty academies, or lash extension product companies.
  • Certification programs can vary widely in terms of content, duration, and quality. Some may offer comprehensive training with practical skills and theory, while others may be shorter and less rigorous.

It’s important to note that while licensing is a legal requirement in some places, certification is not always mandatory but can be seen as a mark of professionalism and skill.

Licensed vs Certified Lash Tech: Which Is Right For You?

Whether you should pursue certification or a license depends on your specific career or personal goals and the requirements of your chosen field. Both certification and licensing serve to demonstrate your competence and expertise in a particular area, but they have distinct differences.

licensed vs certified lash tech
Your career goals and the requirements of your chosen field can be a factor when choosing between a lash tech license and certification.

Lash Tech License

  1. Mandatory Requirements

Licensing for lash technicians is mandatory in many jurisdictions. The requirement is typically in place to protect the safety and welfare of the public by ensuring that individuals offering eyelash extension services are qualified and meet specific standards.

  1. Legal Requirements

To become a licensed lash technician, individuals must adhere to specific educational, training, and examination requirements established by a licensing board or government agency. These requirements may vary by location but often include completing a formal training program, passing written and practical exams, and meeting health and safety standards.

  1. Continuing Education

Licensed lash technicians may be required to participate in continuing education courses or workshops to maintain their license. This ensures that professionals stay up-to-date with the latest techniques, safety protocols, and industry developments.

  1. Benefits of Licensing

Lash licensing offers a range of benefits, primarily centered around the assurance of quality and safety for both lash technicians and their clients. First and foremost, it establishes a minimum standard of competency within the lash industry. This means that licensed lash technicians have undergone formal training and assessments, ensuring they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to provide safe and high-quality services. Such competence not only elevates the industry’s overall standards but also gives clients peace of mind, knowing they are in capable hands. Clients who choose a licensed lash technician can trust that the technician will execute their desired lash enhancements with precision and care, minimizing the risk of complications.

Furthermore, lash licensing serves as a safeguard for public safety. Regulatory bodies require licensed technicians to adhere to strict hygiene, sanitation, and safety standards. These standards help prevent the spread of infections and allergic reactions and reduce the risk of accidents during lash procedures. Clients can have confidence that licensed professionals prioritize their health and well-being.

Beyond safety, holding a license can significantly enhance a lash technician’s professional credibility. Clients are more likely to select a licensed practitioner over someone without proper credentials, as it signifies a commitment to excellence and continuous learning. This professional reputation can open doors to more clients and opportunities, ultimately contributing to a thriving and reputable career in the lash industry.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for obtaining and maintaining a lash tech license can vary from one location to another, so individuals interested in pursuing a career as a lash technician should check with their local licensing authorities for detailed information on the process and requirements in their area.

>> Explore in-depth the industry regulations for lash technicians in our comprehensive article: Do You Have To Be Licensed To Do Lashes?

Lash Tech Certification

  1. Voluntary

Certification is typically a voluntary process. You choose to pursue certification to enhance your skills, knowledge, and marketability in a particular field.

  1. Standardization

Certification often represents a standardized assessment of an individual’s skills and knowledge related to eyelash extensions. This standardized evaluation ensures that lash technicians meet a certain level of competence and adhere to industry standards. Certifications are often administered by professional organizations or certifying bodies dedicated to maintaining the quality and integrity of the lash industry. These organizations create and maintain certification standards, ensuring that certified individuals possess the necessary skills to perform lash extensions safely and effectively.

  1. Maintenance

While individuals can earn their certification after completing a training program and passing an examination, maintaining that certification typically requires ongoing professional development and periodic renewal. This requirement ensures that certified lash technicians stay up-to-date with the latest techniques, products, and safety protocols in the industry. It’s essential because the beauty industry is constantly evolving, and clients rely on certified technicians to provide them with the most current and safe lash services.

  1. Benefits

Certification can help you stand out in a competitive job market, gain specialized knowledge, and potentially earn a higher salary.

>> Learn more about the requirements for you to become a lash tech here: How to become a certified lash tech in the eyelash industry?

Several factors should guide your decision between pursuing a license or certification

  1. Legal Requirements

Begin by researching the legal requirements in your chosen profession or industry. Some fields may necessitate either certification, licensing, or both. Understanding these obligations is fundamental to your career path.

>> Read more: Eyelash Extension State Requirements: What You Need to Know

  1. Career Goals

Consider your long-term career aspirations. If your ambitions lie within a licensed profession, obtaining a license will likely be a prerequisite. However, if you aim to enhance your skills in a non-regulated field, certification may be a more suitable choice.

  1. Investment

Evaluate the investment in terms of time, finances, and effort required to obtain and sustain either certification or a license. Licensing typically involves more rigorous requirements, including formal education and standardized exams.

licensed vs certified lash tech
Starting a career as a lash tech requires investment in time and money.
  1. Employer Preferences

Research the preferences of employers in your desired field. Some employers may place a higher value on certification, while others may prioritize licensing. Tailor your choice to align with the expectations of potential employers.

  1. Professional Associations

Explore the professional associations and organizations associated with your field. These entities often offer guidance on certification and licensing, providing valuable insights and resources to help you make an informed decision.


In the dynamic world of eyelash extensions and beauty services, the decision to become a licensed vs certified lash tech carries significant weight. Your choice ultimately depends on your career goals, regulatory requirements in your area, and personal aspirations. Whichever path you choose, thorough research and alignment with your goals are essential for a successful and fulfilling career in the thriving lash industry.

In the battle of licensed vs. certified lash techs, it all boils down to making the best choice for your eyelash career. Whether you opt for a licensed pro or a certified expert, remember that your passion and dedication will ultimately define your success in the lash game. So, go ahead, choose what feels right for you, and light up that path with confidence!

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