Some treatments – involving, for example, the use of laser beams or light – may pose risks to human tissue. Since 1 June 2019, treatments using radiation and sound have therefore been regulated by a Federal Act and an associated Ordinance.
Certain treatments using products that generate non-ionising radiation, such as laser beams or light, place substantial burdens on the irradiated tissue. If such treatments are not carried out properly, the skin, eyes and other tissue may be exposed to significant risks. To keep the risks to a minimum, appropriate measures – as explained below – are specified in the Federal Act on Protection against the Risks associated with Non-Ionising Radiation and with Sound (NIRSA). The measures are defined in more detail in the associated Ordinance (O-NIRSA). The Act and the Ordinance came into force on 1 June 2019.
- 1 Certificates of competence
- 1.1 General information
- 1.2 Structure of certificates of competence
- 2 FDHA Ordinance and examining bodies
- 3 Information for people who wish to acquire a certificate of competence
- 4 Information for prospective examining bodies
- 4.1 Guidance and instructions for prospective examining bodies
- 4.2 Instructions for downloading the required forms and documents
- 4.3 Key dates for prospective examining bodies
1 Certificates of competence
1.1 General information
From 1 June 2024, the treatments using non-ionising radiation or sound listed in the O‑NIRSA are only to be carried out by persons who have acquired an appropriate certificate of competence.
As shown in Table 1, there are seven different certificates of competence; these are expected to be available from April 2022. The training programmes, examination content and examination regulations for the various certificates have been developed by an administrative body comprising six professional associations .
A certificate of competence confirms that the holder has acquired the necessary qualifications and is entitled to carry out the treatments specified.
 Association Suisse des Esthéticiennes avec Certificat Fédéral de Capacité (ASE CFC), Association Suisse des Esthéticiennes Propriétaires d'Instituts de beauté (ASEPIB), TCM Fachverband Schweiz (TCM-FVS), Schweizerische Gesellschaft für medizinische Kosmetik (SGMK), Schweizerischer Podologen-Verband (SPV/OPS), Verband schweizerischer Berufstätowierer (VST)
CC laser acupuncture
Laser hair removal
CC laser hair removal
Hair removal using intense pulsed light (IPL)
CC hair removal using intense pulsed light (IPL)
Laser removal of permanent make-up and tattoos
This excludes treatments on eyelids or close to the eyes (up to 10 mm), which may only be carried out by physicians or by practice personnel directly instructed by them.
CC permanent make-up and tattoo removal
Treatment of acne, wrinkles, scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and stretch marks, as well as couperose, birthmarks and spider naevi measuring less than or equal to 3 mm
This excludes treatments of spider naevi and birthmarks on eyelids or close to the eyes (up to 10 mm), which may only be carried out by physicians or by practice personnel directly instructed by them.
CC skin and pigmentation
Treatment of cellulite and subcutaneous fat
CC cellulite and subcutaneous fat
Treatment of fungal nail infections
CC fungal nail infections
Table 1. List of certificates of competence and the associated treatments
1.2 Structure of certificates of competence
The certificate of competence comprises three modules – the fundamentals module, the technologies module and one of seven different modules on treatment-specific knowledge and skills (TKS), covering all the treatments for which a certificate of competence is required.
Depending on candidates’ previous training (Table 2), there are two paths for the acquisition of a certificate of competence (Fig.1):
Path 1 is designed for all those who do not have any of the qualifications specified for Path 2. Here, the fundamentals module must first be pursued and successfully completed with an examination. Candidates can then pursue the technologies module and, when this has been successfully completed, the standard TKS module. The certificate of competence is acquired when the examination for the standard TKS module is passed.
Path 2 is designed for cosmeticians with a Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or an (Advanced) Federal Diploma of Higher Education, dermapigmentologists with a higher education qualification, podiatrists with a Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, as well as acupuncturists TCM. They are not required to attend the fundamentals module, starting instead with the technologies module. Having successfully completed this module, they are required to pursue an extended TKS module, consisting of the standard TKS module and a shorter version of the fundamentals module. The certificate of competence is acquired when the examination for the extended TKS module is passed.
Depending on the training path and the individual certificate of competence, the duration of training varies between roughly two and eleven days.
A Module on fundamentals
The fundamentals module covers the essential knowledge required for the treatments specified in the O-NIRSA, in the following areas: anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of human skin and hair, changes in skin, vessels, nails and tissue, and assessment of skin, hair, vessels, nails and tissue.
B Module on technologies
The technologies module covers essential knowledge of the technologies underlying the treatments specified in the O-NIRSA. The technologies module consists of two parts – Part 1: Optical radiation (laser and IPL), which is compulsory for all candidates; and Part 2: Radiofrequency, low frequency, plasma, ultrasound, shockwaves and cryolipolysis, which is compulsory for all candidates except podiatrists and acupuncturists.
C Modules on treatment-specific knowledge and skills (TKS)
Depending on the candidates’ existing qualifications, the TKS module can be offered in a standard or extended form for each certificate of competence.
While the fundamentals and technologies modules are the same for all certificates of competence, the TKS modules cover treatment-specific practical skills and the more detailed technical knowledge required to carry out the treatments specified in the O NIRSA. A total of seven modules, covering all treatments, are offered by an examining body.
Standard TKS modules
The standard TKS module is designed for all persons who have no previous training, who do not belong to groups B–D (see Table 2), or who have already acquired a certificate of competence in accordance with the examination regulations of the administrative body. Standard TKS modules are only possible for cosmetic treatments.
Extended TKS modules
Shorter training to acquire the certificate of competence (Path 2, Fig. 1) is available for cosmeticians with a Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or an (Advanced) Federal Diploma of Higher Education, dermapigmentologists with a higher education qualification, and podiatrists with a Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or an Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education, as well as for acupuncturists TCM. In addition to the content of the standard module, this module includes individual sections of the fundamentals module and an overview of the fundamentals module. The persons concerned are not required to attend the fundamentals module, starting instead with the technologies module. Having completed the technologies module, they are required to pursue the extended TKS module.
In addition to the content of the standard TKS module, the extended TKS module includes a shorter version of the fundamentals module. Persons with a Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training attend a somewhat longer extended TKS module. In terms of content and duration, the examination is the same for everyone with the same specialisation. The minimum length of training and examinations is specified.
The administrative body and the FOPH recommend that persons who are eligible to pursue the extended modules on the basis of their qualifications (Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education) should consult the content of the fundamentals module before starting training and – if they discover gaps in their knowledge – should opt for Path 1 (Fig. 1), attending the complete fundamentals module. With regard to the material on fundamentals, the extended TKS module is designed only to refresh what has already been learned, as well as covering specific fundamentals relating to the new regulations (O-NIRSA).
2 FDHA Ordinance and examining bodies
The training programmes developed by the administrative body, as well as the associated examination content and regulations, have been reviewed by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) – to ensure that they reflect the state of the art in science and technology – and incorporated into guidance for the submission of applications by prospective examining bodies.
In addition, the FOPH has prepared an Ordinance for the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), listing the various certificates of competence. For each certificate of competence, this Ordinance will in future also list all the examining bodies entitled to conduct the relevant examinations. In order to be included in the FDHA Ordinance, an examining body must meet the administrative body’s requirements concerning examination content and regulations, and comply with the FOPH guidance. Prospective examining bodies can, each year, submit their applications to the Federal Office of Public Health by 31 August or by 28 February. The applications will then be reviewed by the FOPH between September and March, or March and September, and a new list of examining bodies will come into force in April and October. Application forms are available on the German, French and Italian version of this website. The first examining bodies will probably be able to conduct their first training courses and examinations in April 2022. Candidates who pass the examination will receive a personal certificate of competence entitling them to carry out the relevant treatments.
3 Information for people who wish to acquire a certificate of competence
Under the O-NIRSA, persons performing the treatments using non-ionising radiation and sound listed in Table 1 must acquire a certificate of competence from 2024. However, we would urge people to obtain a certificate of competence now as inappropriate treatment can cause injury to the person performing the treatment or to the client.
The first examining bodies have been offering training courses and examinations for certificates of competence since April 2022. The current list comprises the following examining bodies and is updated every six months:
It is important to note that only one certificate of competence is required for each type of treatment, e.g. laser hair removal (see Table 1 above). In other words, without any prior knowledge (Path 1, see Figure 1 above), for this certificate of competence, the following modules would have to be completed:
1. the fundamentals module for 4-5 days,
2. the technologies module for at least 1-2 days, and
3. a TKS module for at least 2 days.
If someone wished to obtain an additional certificate of competence, e.g. for permanent make-up and tattoo removal, an additional TKS module lasting at least 2 days would have to be completed. However, the person would not have to repeat the fundamentals and technologies modules that they completed previously.
4 Information for prospective examining bodies
4.1 Guidance and instructions for prospective examining bodies
The training and the examination for acquisition of the certificate of competence must reflect the state of the art in science and technology and meet the requirements of the O NIRSA. The guidance prepared by the FOPH is designed as an aid for examining bodies wishing to issue certificates of competence. It elaborates the requirements specified in the O-NIRSA and by the administrative body and indicates the state of the art in science and technology. Prospective examining bodies are to submit their applications in accordance with this guidance.
The guidance, which can be downloaded under “Package 1 GEN” on the German, French or Italian version of this website, includes descriptions and explanations of the following points:
- How can an examining body be listed in the FDHA Ordinance and thus commence operations?
- How exactly is the training for a certificate of competence to be structured?
- What are the responsibilities of an examining body, from the conduct of training to the issuing of certificates of competence?
- What requirements have to be met before an application can be submitted, and what are the details of the submission process?
- How does the FOPH review applications, and what is the procedure following acceptance or rejection of an application?
4.2 Instructions for downloading the required forms and documents
All the forms and documents required can be downloaded from the German, French or Italian version of this website. Table 3 provides an overview of the documents to be submitted that are included in each package. For each application, at least the content of Package 1 and the relevant specialisation (i.e. Package 2, 3 or 4) must be submitted. All other instructions and requirements, as well as detailed information on the form of submissions, can be found in the guidance included in Package 1.
Note: Please download always the latest forms and documents, as these are revised at regular intervals.
4.3 Key dates for prospective examining bodies
Last modification 31.03.2022