Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional

The CPCP examination was developed to support the growing need of the perma-nent cosmetic industry. Legislators, clients, landlords, physicians, the media, and others who have an interest in our industry are demanding credentials that are creditable and have substance beyond a training certificate.Unfortunately many have expressed con-cerns that training certificates don’t always
indicate that there is a basic fundamental knowledge of permanent cosmetics. Certificates are being reported as being too easily developed at home through the Internet, and many are given in classes without the pro-visions of a pass or no pass examination or are provided simply because a student paid for training

Important Information

Technician members of the SPCP or PCASA are not required to take the CPCP examination in order to maintain membership; non-members may take the examination without being members even though member eligibility is required. This means a candidate must accept and abide by the SPCP Code of Ethics

Other requirements:

  • A course of study in the field of permanent cosmetics of not less than 100 hours at the fundamental level; if less than 100 hours, continuing education specific to the industry must be accumulated to achieve 100 hours total. Proof of hours are re-quired. If they are not on a certificate, a short note from the trainer specifying hours is acceptable.
  • A Bloodborne Pathogens Standard class must be taken within the past two years. Classes should be industry-specific and a minimum of three hours in length.OSHA standard is required if the candidate works in the US.
  • The candidate must be currently active in the permanent cosmetics industry, or has recently completed a training program or apprenticeship.
  • A completed application is required with a copy of the photo ID, documentation of classes and/or continuing education, proof of the Bloodborne Pathogens Class and the required fees. Do not send incomplete affidavits.
  • There is no need to send copies of certificates from other programs or industries such as cosmetology, esthetics, nursing, etc. Membership certificates are also not needed.

Enquire Form


Is the CPCP Examination required for membership ?

This is not a mandatory, but a voluntary certification exam. If you choose not to take the test, that decision does not prevent you from renewing your membership, nor will it replace the provisions of membership if the test is taken. Note: The CPCP credential is required for trainer members

Why has the SPCP elected to off er a certification examination?

The exam was originally planned as a test to be used by SPCP trainer members as a demonstration of core knowledge. Technician members asked us to provide a fair and objective exam as a nonbiased credential that would be available to all who qualify. They wanted the credibility of a true certification rather than only having a certificate of completion from training

What does this mean?

This type of examination tests the candidate in a manner where their knowledge or “competencies” are tested against those of their peers. Certification is a formal recognition of comprehension of a specific body of knowledge demonstrated at the time of the examination. It is a mark of excellence and demonstrates that a certi-fied individual has the knowledge to provide a particular level of quality service. Certification is an investment in a professional’s career.

How was the examination developed?

After close to three years of writing questions or items based on current reference materials in our industry and obtaining feedback, the SPCP contracted the services of Reasoning, Inc., a professional test development company.
They are well known in the “testing community” and have developed, through experience with statistical feedback on many thousands of test items, an unparalleled understanding of the psychometric consequences of particular wordings and turns of phrase. These understandings are incorporated into our exam in a way that provides us with the highest possible degree of security. The final step was the development of a pass/fail standard through the cut-score method whereby several subject matter experts participated with Reasoning, Inc. staff. The final product was delivered directly from Reasoning to SPCP Administration. Through on-going item writing by subject matter experts and cut-score meetings, the exam is kept up-to-date in our ever-changing industry.

I wish to study for the examin ation. What topics are covered?

The following areas are covered in the 100-question, multiple choice exam: infection control, diseases and disorders, anatomy and physiology, pigmentology (understanding pigment), technical applications, regulations, client management, and documentation. (See the resource list.) The candidate has one and a half hours to complete the exam.

Will I become board certified?

Candidates passing the exam will become a Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional. This term best describes the credential and is not confusing to the general public. The term and the logo are registered trademarks of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals. While the SPCP has a Certification Board, the term “Board Certified” is not the appropriate credentialing term.

Why has the SPCP chosen not to employ elements of hands-on testing as part of the certification pro- cess?

Research has revealed there are no consistent ways for the SPCP to conduct hands-on testing and remain completely objective. Results of testing in this fashion make it extremely difficult to monitor the effectiveness of the candidate or test administrator.
The exam provided by SPCP is designed to evaluate competency at a fundamental level since the SPCP believes no permanent cosmetic professional should be performing procedures on clients unless they are able to successfully pass the exam.

What advantage is there if I am an SPCP or PCASA member?

Upon passing the CPCP Exam, all candidates will receive a certificate and will be able to use the acronym CPCP after their name and display the CPCP logo. Only SPCP or PCASA members are able to take the exam and renew certification at a greatly reduced fee. Only SPCP members may additionally display the SPCP logo. Only PCASA members may additionally display the PCASA logo.

Certification is another industry related expense. What measures are being taken by the SPCP to en- sure the exam is cost-effective?

Since this is an entry-level exam, the SPCP does not believe the candidate should have to obtain expensive study materials or attend certification workshops. Included is a list of helpful resources; some of them are at no cost to the candidate as well as sample questions to allow the candidate to observe the style of testing. The SPCP offers the exam at Fall Conference and Spring Convention, among other opportunities in the USA and internationally.

How will I know if I passed?

The exam results will be sent to the email address listed on the exam answer sheet. If you did not pass, you will be informed of the areas of weakness and will be eligible to apply for a retest within one year without having to show further proof of education. If you do not successfully pass the exam upon the second attempt, you will need to wait a full calendar year and begin the process over again. The current pass rate is 75%. From the 100-question multiple choice exam, the minimum passing score is 81.

Certification renewal is every two years. Do I need to take the examination again?

If the Certified Permanent Cosmetic Professional (CPCP) complies with the guidelines of accumulating at least 12 hours of continuing education in the field of permanent cosmetics and takes an acceptable bloodborne pathogens class within the next two-year time frame, the exam does not have to be taken again. A renewal notice will be sent at least 6 weeks prior to the two-year anniversary date of your certification. It is important the SPCP always has a current address since we cannot be responsible for undeliverable mail. Failure to renew on time forfeits the right to use the CPCP logo and advertise certification. If the CPCP does not renew on time, re-testing is mandatory, so it is important to know when your certification expires.