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OHLA Media Release: Friday, March 30, 2012
First in the US, Oregon's Piercing Examination Lacks Candidates
Body piercing
Qualification Standards Raised for Body Art
Ever on the leading edge of body art regulation, Oregon regulators are now waiting for practitioners to catch up – judging by the lack of candidates for what is probably the nation’s first body piercing practical examination.
 
The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) instituted both a written and practical examination on January 1 as qualifiers for both new applicants entering the body piercing field and as a condition of renewal for existing body piercing licensees.
 
Even though OHLA is offering the examinations at no cost to existing body piercers whose licenses are up for renewal, only a handful have taken the agency up on the offer.
 
“We know change is difficult, but the body piercing community in Oregon has been asking for more stringent qualification standards for some time,” says OHLA Director Randy Everitt.  “So we’re somewhat surprised at the lack of candidates so far.”

Oregon One of First States to Regulate Body Art Professions
Oregon was one of the first states in 1993 to regulate tattooing, and state regulation of body piercing followed in 1995.  In 2011, legislation established the Board of Body Art Practitioners to address the increasing public protection issues related to emerging practices in the field.
 
A major component in the establishment of the new body art board has been raising the qualifying requirements for initial licensure for and license renewal of body piercing.  Previously, anyone 18 year of age or older with a high school or equivalent education who completed basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and blood-borne pathogens/infection control classes could pierce on the public.
 
Since January 1, applicants for initial licensure in body piercing must have completed 1150 hours of theory and practical instruction in addition to 400 body piercing procedures, all under direct supervision of an experienced practitioner.
 
The 1150 hours is only for “standard” body piercing, compared to two levels of “specialty” licensing categories for more complex and invasive piercings that carry more risk.  Specialty level piercing applicants are required to complete additional training specific to the type of piercings performed, from genital to cheek piercings.
 
Earlobe-only piercers may become licensed with only basic first aid and blood borne pathogens training, but even they have to complete an online tutorial and pass a safety and infection control written examination.

Licensees: Avoid Fines, Test Knowledge, Foster Public Protection
“We have distributed textbooks and other study materials statewide to all licensed facilities, again free of charge, to assist practitioners in studying for the examinations,” adds Everitt.  “We encourage them to take the next step to test their knowledge and foster public protection and health and safety at the same time.”
 
OHLA has also distributed information on the new examination requirements to individual licensees statewide, including a written examination blueprint (21 of 100 questions relate to anatomy, physiology and histology and 55 relate to health, safety and infection control) and a practical examination packet.
 
Licensees who do not renew their license and continue performing services on the public are in violation and subject to a $200 penalty (first offense) for performing services with an inactive license.  Facility license holders are subject to a $200 penalty (first offense) for allowing an employee to perform services with an inactive license.
 
OHLA is a state consumer protection agency overseeing licensing and regulation of multiple health and related professions.  For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/OHLA
 
For more information on the new Board of Body Art Practitioners, visit www.oregon.gov/OHLA/BAP
 
Media Contact:
 
Kraig Bohot
Public Information Officer
Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA)
www.oregon.gov/OHLA
503-373-1939