BY ANGELA GONZALES
National Laser Institute, a Scottsdale-based medical aesthetics and cosmetic laser college, is expanding into Las Vegas.
The company, which has trained more than 1,000 doctors, nurses, and others since its inception in 2003, also plans to expand into San Francisco, La Jolla and Orange County in California, said Louis Silberman, co-founder and president of National Laser Institute.
After that, he will look toward Dallas and Chicago.
“We’ll be hitting the big, cosmopolitan cities with big populations, where the cosmetic trend is large, where there are a lot of people concerned about looking and feeling good,” he said.
The school has received approval from the Nevada Postsecondary Board to set up shop in Las Vegas.
National Laser Institute has two divisions: one that trains doctors and nurses, and one that trains nonmedical professionals.
Mark Witt, a Canadian miner who recently completed the 14-day program in Scottsdale, was a nonmedical student looking for a career change.
In Canada, the trend toward laser cosmetic procedures isn’t as strong as it is in the U.S., he said. He hopes to get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning industry in his country.
“It’s still a developing market,” Witt said. “Luckily, regulations are different than they are here. I’m able to do it without being a doctor.”
Silberman said there are no federal regulations in the U.S., which means individual states must set their own safety requirements governing the use of cosmetic lasers.
He said the level of training required in each state varies greatly, causing quite a stir in the medical aesthetics industry. He said his expansion should help medical spa owners employ trained technicians.
National Laser Institute
HQ: Scottsdale EMPLOYEES: 35 FOUNDED: 2003 FIRST PROFITABLE: 2004 EXPANSION PLANS: Nevada, California, Texas, Illinois
While other schools offer five-day training sessions, Silberman said National Laser Institute is the only school in the country that offers 14 days of training. Silberman said he realizes graduates won’t be “superstars” after two weeks, but they at least will have a solid foundation and confidence to operate a laser.
Witt, who was in the mining business for 23 years, said he was nervous when he started using the laser. He had the procedure done on him so he would know how it feels.
He said it didn’t hurt as much as he thought it would when he had a tattoo removed.
“It felt like bacon splatter, and then it was gone,” he said.
He also had some hair removed on his back, as well as a photofacial, which he said gave him a light, burning sensation that quickly disappeared.
After receiving training at National Laser Institute’s 10,000-square-foot facility, Witt got a chance to try the procedure on paying customers at the company’s retail medical spa next door.
Like customers at beauty schools, these patrons get discounts, paying $50 for laser hair removal and $75 for skin rejuvenation that normally would cost $500 a treatment, Silberman said.
A few years ago, only medical professionals removed tattoos, Silberman said. With advanced technology, technicians can do it.