There are three levels (well four in my lineage as we separate Master Practitioner and Master Teacher). Level I is all about you and your healing: cleaning up your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional bodies so that you can channel as clearly as possible, we believe, a third of the Reiki energy you would channel at the highest level of training. At the second level you are given the Reiki symbols and opened up to another one third of the flow of energy you can channel. This is known as the distant healing level as you receive the "connection" symbol at this level which enables you to send Reiki distantly, although I discovered several years ago that Reiki Level I's can do this also, but when you use the connection symbol the connection is much greater therefore the flow is much greater and for lack of a better word, more powerful.
The third level (Reiki Master Practitioner) is the level in my lineage (and in all the Reiki books I've ever read - over 50 and still counting) where you are given the high sign to go out, hang up your shingle and start doing Reiki on the public and charging for it (if that is something you want to do, you don't HAVE to do that, it's up to you). The fourth Level is Reiki Master Teacher IIIb where you are taught how to pass attunements and how to set up your own business as a teacher and so on.
There are many, what I consider unscrupulous people out there setting up Reiki businesses, working on the public and charging for it at Level I and II that have no business doing so. First of all, they are not channeling the full flow of Reiki energy that a Level IIIa or IIIb is and a lot of times they have the nerve to be charging what a Level IIIa or even a Level IIIb does. Secondly, they lack the experience required to be working on the public. If you have just been made Reiki or jumped into Reiki II right after Reiki I, you have not had the time to #1 clear out all your old stuff and #2 get a lot of experience working on others and sending lots of distant Reiki so are really not qualified to out working on the private sector.
The problem is that unscrupulous people, as they have always done and will always do, have discovered that they can make some good, fast cash doing Reiki on the unsuspecting public at these levels. So public BEWARE!!!!!!! Check first before you have a Reiki session and only give your business to qualified Reiki practitioners, not to "just out of the box" people who have not been properly trained (if they were they would not be doing this) and are raw and inexperienced.
I hear the groans of , "then how are we supposed to get experience?" You work on your self, your family, friends, pets, and attend LOTS of Reiki shares. You read all you can on Reiki and ask your teacher all the questions you can think of, maybe even audit a class or two to refresh. Again, choose your teacher wisely, make sure she/he hosts Reiki shares and is there for you when you have questions or concerns.
Yes this is a major pet peeve of mine. I understand that some of you might be coming from a position of wanting to help the world, I get that, but you are not helping anybody by doing something is not acceptable in the Reiki world and that you are not qualified to do. Take your time, move up in the levels slowly, get the experience and then by all means go out and set up your business when you have it, the world needs us now more than ever and will continue to do so as we all go through the shift (2012).
Someone else brought up something about someone being a more incredible healer at Reiki I than someone who is Reiki IIa. Remember people that we aren't really supposed to be using the "H" word. Yes we do healing work, but Reiki is doing the healing not us. We are the channels for the energy, we are not doing the healing, Reiki is. It is actually considered politically incorrect to call yourself a Reiki Healer. That is all ego stuff, so get your ego out of the way and only do what you are qualified to do.