Electrologists Can Now Use Lasers in Rhode Island

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rhode Island has passed a new law that allows electrologists to use lasers for hair removal. We previously covered when this bill was introduced earlier this year. The original bill was much broader in scope and would have provided rules and authority to delegate other non-ablative uses of lasers to trained individuals under the supervision of certain licensed healthcare professionals. As is often the case in the legislative process bills can change substantially before they are passed. You can review the text of House Bill 5251 (H5251) in full here and the Senate’s version Senate Bill 292 (S 292) here. 
The bills as passed expand the scope of practice of electrologists.  Currently Rhode Island only licenses electrologists to provide hair removal using the traditional method of applying electrical current to the hair follicle by means of a needle. Under the new law electrologist’s scope would be expanded to include using any other form of energy and instrument or devise to permanently disable a hair follicle. This would include types of laser hair removal. An electrologist would need to practice laser hair removal under the guidance of a licensed physician who serves as their medical director. Upon practicing laser hair removal with a medical director for 2 years and completing 1000 laser hair removal treatments the certified electrologist could be permitted to practice without the need for a medical director. The provisions of this law took effect on July 1 of this year
 This new law is indicative of a broader national trend of allowing non-medical professionals to perform some of the less invasive laser treatments. One way this trend is implemented is by creating new “laser technician” or “laser hair removal specialist” licenses. The other common way is to expand the electrologist’s scope of practice beyond the traditional needle based procedure as done here. As laser and light based hair removal have gained in popularity some states have expanded electrology to include these procedures rather than let the license fade away.