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Picture of Kait James

Kait James

Everything You Need to Know About A Career in Medical Aesthetics

Have you considered becoming a medical aesthetician? Wondering where to get started? How to get started? What trainings you need? What the legalities are? What falls within the scope of medical aesthetics? Well, you have found the blog for you!!! In this blog, I share how I got started within the medical aesthetic industry and how you can set yourself up for success as a medical aesthetician.

Technically, what is a medical aesthetician?

Any medicine or medical procedure specializing in or intended to improve cosmetic appearance is encompassed by the term “medical aesthetics.” There are a wide range of treatments and therapies available from a medical aesthetician, including procedures intended to reduce, reverse, or otherwise minimize signs of aging”

Generally speaking, medical aesthetics applies to anything outside base level esthetics as applied to beauty and the skin. When you gain your esthetics license, you follow a state mandated curriculum, with Milady being the main book used is esthetics education. During this training you learn base level skin care, massage, product knowledge, etc. Medical aesthetics is essentially anything that takes that base level knowledge to the next level. 

Medical aesthetics includes, but is not limited to:

Clinical Chemical Peels 

Laser Treatments 

Microneedling 

Plasma Fibroblast 

Cosmetic Tattooing 

Cryo Technology 

Botox and Injectables 

These are all advanced treatments with intensive results. Often times, the intensive results are accompanied by intensive aftercare. 

These treatments require advanced knowledge, training, and certification. 

So, who can be a medical aesthetician?

This is the million-dollar question! The guidelines on who can and cannot perform medical aesthetic treatments is a grey area. The guidelines vary by state. Always check with the legal verbiage of the Cosmetology Board and Health Board in your specific state. The American Med Spa Association also provides a great overview of the legal guidelines of specific treatments and who can perform these, by state. 

A more general answer is that estheticians, nurses, physicians, and those under a medical director can perform medical aesthetic treatments. Again, CHECK THE LEGAL GUIDELINES OF YOUR STATE. 

Do I need specific insurance to offer medical aesthetic treatments?

YES. As a beauty provider, you should be carrying insurance regardless. However, when offering medical aesthetic treatments, you should be carrying insurance specific to each treatment and this often verges into medical mal-practice insurance. Again, it varies by state but often times, your insurance will also need to cover your medical director. There are many companies that offer straight forward beauty insurance, but when you start getting into advanced service, your insurance plan needs written specifically to cater to those treatments. 

I am an esthetician; how can I expand my knowledge and certification into the medical aesthetic field? How do I gain medical aesthetic certifications?

You’re off to a great start! By obtaining your esthetics license, you have the base level knowledge and education to provide esthetic treatments. To expand upon your skillset, you need to decide what services you specifically want to offer and begin to gain certification in those specific areas. 

It is incredibly difficult to find a “medical aesthetic” academy that will train you on every single service umbrella-ed under medical aesthetics. This is such an expansive career field with legalities varying drastically between each treatment. The more common educational route is to gain specific training and certification on each treatment you want to offer. 

For example, you have decided you would like to offer laser services to your clients. You research your state guidelines, figure out if becoming a laser tech is even within your realm of possibility, then start researching laser training. I personally attended the Texas Laser Institute. Texas spearheaded the laws in terms of laser standards. I really enjoyed my phone consults, the price point of attendance was within my budget, and I felt that program was a good fit for me, personally. 

As with anything in the beauty industry, there are so many options. Product lines, hundreds of brand options. Cosmetic tattoo ink, dozens of brands and colors. Trainings are the same; there are a plethora of options. It’s up to you to do your research, decide what your vibe is, and choose the program you feel is best for you. 

Lux has GREAT training programs on multiple advanced aesthetics treatments that we offer online and in person. So, if you’re in Indiana, reach out! Have a discussion with me, see if we vibe, and if you feel the program is the best match for you. 

If you’re not in Indiana and prefer to find a program closer to you, start researching! Google is your best friend. Outside of that, social media is a great tool to utilize. Reach out to providers, ask them if they offer training or ask who they were trained by! 

What is proper etiquette when asking other providers for guidance?

In the beauty industry, asking a provider for guidance on how to potentially be their competitor can sometimes come off… awkward. My advice to you is to start by complimenting the beauty provider. “Hey, I’ve been following you for a while and I love your work.” 

When asking for information, be gentle. Know that you are not entitled to an answer. Also know that if this beauty provider does train, they are not obligated to just throw out free game. 

Follow that initial greeting up with, “I have been considering adding XYZ to my menu and I am incredibly curious about gaining certification. Do you happen to offer training? If not, could you possibly point me in a good direction?”

This lets them know you would like to train with them, if that’s an option. This is a very gentle way of opening the conversation in a way that will encourage their engagement. 

If you just blatantly open the convo with something along the lines of “who were you trained by?” this can come off as aggressive. They have no idea where you are about to go with this… are you asking because you don’t like their work and you’re about to tell them it looks horrible? 

Clearly, everyone is trained by someone. So, if the provider does train and you immediately ask who they were trained by, they’re not going to refer you to their trainer because they also train. 

Proper etiquette in the beauty industry is honestly so important and something that I feel is often overlooked. 

What are some follow up questions to find out if I am choosing the right trainer for my medical aesthetic certifications?

You’re starting to interact with your training options! Let’s narrow the basic “can you tell me more?” down into specific questions that will provide you VALUABLE feedback that you can then use to compare training options. 

What is the cost of your training program?

Is a deposit required?

Do you offer financing?

Where are you located?

When is training?

Is training one on one or a group setting?

How long is the program?

Is a kit included? 

Are devices included? (For example, a plasma fibroblast pen for that specific training.)

Will I be given a training manual?

Will I gain a certification once training is completed?

Do you offer continued support?

These are all great questions to ask to get a vibe of what the training will be like. This is also a great opportunity to open up the conversation to see if you will vibe with the level of customer support you will be getting. 

Thank whoever you’re speaking to for the information. Graciously let them know you’re weighing your options and you will reach out when you are ready to move forward. 

How do I know I am finding a GOOD quality training program?

Lux offers online training, as well as in person training at our flagship in Indianapolis, IN. While the online training is incredibly educational, when it comes to some services, the hands-on guidance is really important. The more hands-on guidance you receive, the better your work will be, especially in the beginning of your career. I like to tell people that the online training is an incredible resource if you’re interested in the service but aren’t ready to fully commit to the financials of an in- person training; you’re able to do a deep dive into the service and learn if you think you would be interested in a more hands-on approach to training. The online training is also really great for anyone who has former training. But needs a refresher or feels they just need MORE education. 

Generally, speaking, the person or company that trains you should have an extensive look-book of work that you respect. As a trainer, they need longevity expertise in the industry, meaning they should have been providing that treatment for minimum 2 years. 

The guidance questions we previously went over above should also help guide your opinion on whether the training offers quality. 

Many states require a medical director for advanced medical aesthetic treatments. How do I go about obtaining this?

Yes, in many states you do need a medical director to offer many advanced aesthetic services. I cannot stress this enough times: GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR STATE GUIDELINES. Now that you have researched the legalities and you have learned you do need a medical director, where do you begin?

It’s always best to go into a medical director contract with a physician that you know. Do you have any physicians in your immediate network? Perhaps an aunt, or an old family friend, or the dad of your best friend? Reach out, shoot your shot! Go prepared; make sure you have a resume with your credentials and a plan on the service you want to offer, legalities associated, and why you would be a competent provider. 

If you don’t have anyone in your direct network, what about your extended network? Perhaps you’ve developed a great connection with your injector or dermatologist. Again, shoot your shot and be prepared. 

If all else fails, there are third party companies that connect medical aestheticians with medical directors. Go to Google.

More than likely, a physician wants some sort of kick-back. Honestly, unless your medical director is your dad or aunt, they’re probably going to want some sort of compensation to make their contribution worth it. Some medical directors want a monthly fee. Some want a percentage of sales. Some want comped services. This is all something you will need to discuss with your medical director. 

Does a medical director have to be on site to perform medical aesthetic treatments?

This varies by state. Again, check your legal guidelines. Some states specifically state the medical director must be on site when medical aesthetic treatments are performed. Some states are more relaxed and just require a legal contract. 

Where can I potentially work as a medical aesthetician?

This is the great part about the beauty industry: it is so vast! Many people within the industry want to be entrepreneurs. If you want the freedom of running the show, this route is for you. Outside of opening your own studio, you can also partner with other med spas and salons. Or perhaps you wish to be employed by a dermatology or surgeons office. Once you gain the skills, your options are drastically increased. Many times, job listings will be posted on social media, LinkedIn, or other job listing sites. However, challenge yourself to explore your options. Make an expansive list of business you truly like and start reaching out! You never know, you could be the medical aesthetician that they didn’t even know they were looking for until you approached the possibility. It’s important to put yourself out there with a positive energy and be open to whatever opportunities the universe delivers. 

What happens if I am doing medical aesthetic treatments without abiding by legalities and I get caught?

You can be fined and restricted from practicing anything in the beauty industry. So, for example, if you are an esthetician and you are found to be practicing unlawfully, the state can legally revoke your esthetics license. If you are practicing unlawfully and decide in the future you would like to obtain a state license such as cosmetology or esthetics, you can be banned from obtaining any license. 

In addition, the beauty industry is essentially a very big network. If you are found to be at fault for practicing without abiding by the laws and regulation, your reputation can REALLY take a hit. 

At the end of the day, its truly not worth it to practice without abiding by the law. The laws are designed to protect you! 

I’ve taken training courses on various advanced aesthetic treatments, I feel confident providing these services to clients, now how do I grow my clientele?

Client growth is organic. The more quality work you produce, the more word of mouth will spread about your skill. Word of mouth is key in the beauty industry. In addition, you need to utilize various platforms to advertise yourself as an medical aesthetician. In today’s society, marketing truly falls into two categories. With the older generation, they are less likely to be on social media. This demographic will go to Google and search “plasma fibroblast near me.” Having a website with good SEO is going to direct these Google searches directly to you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, many people go directly to social media to research beauty providers in their city. You need to have a social media presence to stay relevant within this society. You need to post your work, share informational posts on cosmetic tattooing, etc. You want people to look at your metaverse presence and thing to themselves “THAT LADY IS AN EXPERT.” 

Be patient with yourself. Don’t compare your year one with another providers year seven. It takes time to build your reputation and grow a clientele. 

It’s also super helpful to network within the beauty industry. Try to attend some networking events. Follow other beauty providers on social media, introduce yourself, tell them you’d love to refer clients their way, and usually, that favor is returned. Find your tribe and support them as hard as you want them to support you. 

Synopsis. 

Generally speaking, medical aesthetic legalities vary by state and it is up to you to determine what your state guidelines are and what you need to obtain to be legally sound within the medical aesthetic industry. Once you know the perimeters of the law, you need to obtain proper licensing and/ or certifications. Research your training options and dedicate yourself to the education you receive through these programs. You can continue to build your skillset by attending trainings and gaining certification on various medical aesthetic treatments. 

Overall, my advice to you as a new medical aesthetic provider would be to invest in a good training. Set yourself up for success. Create the foundation you need to truly exceed as a provider. Once you have that foundation, stay resilient. Anything worth having, takes time to get. Beauty is an art, and your skillset will continue to get better with time. In the same regard, time is needed to grow your reputation, clientele, and ultimately your income. 

The beauty industry is bigger than it has ever been! The global beauty industry is worth $511 billion. I have faith that if you are invested, you will earn your chunk of that.

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