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Education – Your Greatest Marketing Tool

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Aesthetics is a growing field with a variety of opportunities.A career in aesthetics requires continuing education to be successful. Some states call for a specific number of continuing education hours and even dictate the topics of study required to renew your license; other states have no requirements at all. Whether it is required or not should not be a deciding factor on advancing your knowledge. The industry is constantly changing and if you do not stay up-to-date it is likely to have a negative impact on your career. Adapting to change is vital to become a successful professional in skin care. 

Aestheticians looking to work in a medical setting must have additional training before entering this field. Although many of the same treatments will be performed, there is much to be learned for an effective partnership with a physician. Aestheticians should neverperform medical procedures; however, it is important that they have knowledge of them. This insight allows the aesthetician to treat clients safely within their scope of practice before and after medical treatments. Some of the necessary techniques to understand are laser treatments, injectables, surgical procedures and resurfacing treatments. Most importantly, legalities of working in a medical office and strict compliance guidelines must be understood to attain a position in a medical setting.


Regardless of one’s career, there is always something more to be learned. Professionals should open their minds to how others do things; this will separate the “aesthetician” from an “aesthetic expert.” Thinking there is nothing left to learn only limits professional growth. This doesn’t mean one should believe everything they read without examining the facts. If something sparks your interest, time should be taken to delve deeper. For example, if a product company is touting the next “miracle product,” ask for the science behind it, request before and after pictures and research clinical studies when available. If a particular product or treatment is debated, it is the job of the aesthetic professional to gain as much scientific knowledge as possible and make an educated decision. There will always be guidelines and protocols to follow in aesthetics, but recommendations are not always black and white. Clients come in repeatedly for trusted instruction on choosing the right treatments and products. It is imperative to know the basics first; but an advanced education will set an aesthetician apart from those who are limited by only knowing the fundamentals.
There are numerous resources available for different learning styles. Although learning can be achieved through a classroom and books, alternative methods provide a new-age way of keeping on top of the latest trends in the industry. Social media is a good way to get started. They are all an enormous resource for fresh content. Reputable skin care companies, aestheticians and training centers often post informational articles, industry updates and educational tips on their social media pages. Again, do not always believe everything you read online, but take the information as a starting ground to learn more. Blogs are another simple way to receive information from peers and professionals in the comfort of your home or even on your mobile device. One advantage of blogs is that you can see several viewpoints on different subjects. Keep in mind, time spent on the Internet needs to be structured; there are many distractions that can steer you away from learning. A good way to stay is focused is to dedicate a specific amount of time during the week for online learning.
Staying on top of an 85 billion dollar business such as the cosmetics industry is not easy. The industry, as well as the consumer, is bombarded with several opposing messages on skin care a day. Utilizing available resources is the best way to stay ahead of the game. Aesthetic magazines provide an abundant source of information that should not be taken for granted. These publications provide updates on the latest industry news, offer expert insight and list upcoming educational opportunities. Being well-versed on the latest in the industry shows knowledge, credibility and passion. Tradeshows in particular offer a space to gather information from several different skin care vendors and educational companies at one time. Not only does it provide a one-stop-shop to learn about products and equipment in the industry, but it is a great networking tool. Interacting and learning from peers is necessary to continually advance your career.

Aestheticians have become increasingly important to the cosmetic industry at large. There are many areas in which an aesthetician can offer their skills; working in a medical setting seems to be increasingly more common. Physicians today are more open to working with aestheticians than they were in the past. The old-fashioned way of thinking was that all skin conditions or imperfections could simply be treated with medicine. Although many skin conditions do need medical treatment, minor imperfections of the skin can be treated by simply using the right products, mild exfoliation and maintenance facials. In the past, physicians were known to give prescription antibiotics, strong retinols or even deep ablative laser treatments for something as minor as a few blackheads. Although those treatments are still often prescribed with significant results for many skin conditions, the task of eliminating blackheads is more commonly the job of an aesthetician.
Aestheticians must work hard in order to be taken seriously in the medical community by upholding the highest standards of education and professionalism. All aestheticians must maintain a certain level of professionalism to prosper, however in the medical field there are additional professional standards to uphold that employers expect to be followed. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed by Congress in 1996. One of its provisions concerns itself with patient confidentiality. There is no confidentiality law concerning clients of a spa or salon, however once a medical facility is involved the laws must be strictly enforced. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations were created by Congress in 1970 and its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths by issuing and enforcing regulations for workplace safety and health. OSHA standards relating to a medical office differ from a typical salon or spa and must be abided by when in a medical environment.
There is no nationwide standard of education for aestheticians employed in the medical field. Many use the title “medical aesthetician,” which is not recognized by state regulation agencies and is actually considered illegal in some states. The job of an aesthetician in a medical setting is to enhance and maintain cosmetic treatments performed by medical professionals. An aesthetician trying to do the job of a medical professional puts the client’s safety, their license, their career and their credibility at risk. Aestheticians need to maintain the professionalism of the industry by working within their scope of practice regulated by their licensing state.
The importance for advanced education to work in this field should not be understated. An aesthetic license provides a nice base of knowledge but it is often not enough for a fast-paced medical setting. Although there are medical facilities that will take the time to train the right candidate, some expect you to have additional knowledge before considering an aesthetician for employment. Aestheticians must have a strong knowledge base of the medical procedures performed in cosmetic medicine (which typically include injectable fillers, neuromodulators, laser treatments, resurfacing procedures and often, cosmetic surgery procedures). Aestheticians should never perform medical procedures under their license, but it is vital to know how and when to implement aesthetic services. Appropriate spacing between treatments, as well as pre and post-care directives should not be taken lightly. In fact, all aestheticians should learn these protocols on some level with the rise in cosmetic medical procedures being performed. Severe complications could occur if treatments are implemented when there are contraindications.
Anatomy and physiology is another subject that the aesthetician should be well-versed in. Undergraduate education provides the basics, but these can soon be forgotten if not working with these terms on a regular basis. Clinicians will frequently use medical terminology that aestheticians should be well-versed in. Proper charting is part of the standard protocol used in medical practices; therefore it is important to know common medical abbreviation and proper documentation practices commonly used in medicine.
Another aspect many do not take into consideration is being comfortable watching medical procedures. Depending on the office, watching injectables, fillers, excisions, laser treatments, and sometimes surgery can be a regular part of the job. Performing pre- and post-operative facials, manual lymphatic drainage massage and camouflage makeup are commonly performed by an aesthetician in a surgeon’s office. Physically being at ease around patients with bruising, swelling, bleeding and even skin disorders is essential. Knowledge of different surgical procedures needs to be taken seriously. Pre- and post-operative instructions should be memorized so that you can be sensitive to what a client is experiencing at a particular time. This leads to another important task of the aesthetician in a medical practice, which is to give comfort to patients. It is critical that patients are treated more gently than usual after medical treatments and they are constantly made to feel at ease. This is especially important because surgical procedures can be distressing for some. More often than not, surgical patients receiving post-operative skin care become loyal clients to the aesthetician because of the comfort and help received during this time.
The evolution of the aesthetic industry is still taking place at full speed. It is the responsibility of aestheticians to keep up-to-date on the latest advancements. Additionally, by continuing education you can have the freedom to specialize your career path. Obtaining an aesthetic license is just the beginning; taking your career to the next level requires a life-long commitment.

Terri Wojak has been an aesthetician for over 16 years. As the Esthetics Director, Business Manager and Lead Educator of True U Esthetics, Wojak lectures at multiple aesthetic conferences each year and is frequently published in industry magazines. She has trained over 1,000 aestheticians and medical professionals in the art of advanced skin care with a specialization in techniques used in a cosmetic medical setting. Beyond the techniques and treatments, Wojak makes sure students are trained to succeed in whatever setting they choose, with extensive experience and knowledge in business development and marketing. Wojak has unmatched passion and drive for increasing knowledge of skin care in cosmetic medicine, her compelling personality and love for aesthetics makes Wojak one of the most sought out experts and educators in the industry.

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