Medical Aesthetics Career Change Checklist
A handy guide for sparking a new professional passion.
In a previous article, we discussed a few signs it may be time for a career change. Understanding what’s not working about your current job is the first step on the journey to a new role. If you’ve decided that the field of Medical Aesthetics may be right for you, where do you go from there? Let’s dive in!
Do your research.
Think carefully about the type of role that might better align with your purpose and values. It may help to consider what you enjoy about your current role and which responsibilities you'd like to continue completing in your next role.1
When it comes to Medical Aesthetics, there are many different roles, from office manager to injector. Many of these roles require licenses and certifications to help ensure patient safety. Because these requirements vary from state to state, look into your state’s regulations to see what sort of training you’ll need to practice.
Connie Brennan, MSN, RN, PHN, CANS, CPSN, CPC, ISPAN-F, and a national aesthetic education director at a med spa in Long Lake, Minnesota, shared with Spark that it’s always important to check with an individual state’s medical board to learn their specific regulations. “Anytime you’re injecting a medication, it requires medical training, and depending on the state, can that medicine be injected by a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a doctor, a physician’s assistant, or a licensed practical nurse? Who can inject medication in that state? And can they inject it on their own without a physician being present?” Researching specific questions as to what you want to be doing where you will be doing it is a critical step.
Next, explore the type of practice where you might see yourself. It’s as simple as a Google® search or heading to review sites like Glassdoor® or Yelp® to see what employees and customers are saying. For example, if you are interested in switching from a nursing role to a Medical Aesthetics environment, it may be helpful to check out aestheticians’, injectors’, and various practices’ social media pages to get a feel for the industry.
Also, researching potential employers is vital to an effective job search. This research comes in handy at three pivotal times during a job search: first when you’re deciding what kind of employer you’d like to work for, then when you are ready to apply, and finally when you’re interviewing and your knowledge of the company is put to the test.2
Find educational resources.
After your research, you may need to explore additional training for the new role you aspire to. Molly Boudreault, ACNP-BC, transitioned from an ICU nurse to lead laser and aesthetic nurse practitioner at a practice she co-founded with her husband. Molly advises checking references since not all training programs are equal in quality. “I would ask if they had prior students I could speak to before I signed up for it,” she says. She would also look for certain “industry opinion leaders” and sign up for their courses. Molly recommends also taking advantage of the free training that’s available through reputable sources. Read her other tips about switching careers here.
Network, network, network.
Networking is a crucial part of changing a career. It may be more challenging to find a new job if no one knows you. It’s important to be present on social media and attend gatherings where you live. If you want to have connections in the industry of your choice, be present at the meetups, and here, you can create the connections that can increase the chances of getting a new job.3
Molly Boudreault, ACNP-BC, told Spark that LinkedIn® was specifically helpful. “It was an easy way for me to connect to practitioners who were willing to help the next generation of aesthetic nurses,” she says. “I asked a few experts in my community if they would sit down with me over coffee and offer advice on entering the aesthetics space—it was valuable for me to learn what they thought were important qualities in candidates who were applying for aesthetic nursing positions.”
If you are enrolled in a training or certification course, get to know your peers and your instructors. Reach out for introductions or ask if they know of any practices that are hiring or willing to take on apprentices or entry-level positions. You’ll never know unless you ask!
Get support from a mentor.
Finding a mentor in your field provides invaluable resources and support when you’re thinking of changing careers. Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s? Start by asking them a lot of questions, and listen carefully to what they say, don’t assume you know it all already.4
Dr. Jody Comstock, MD, an aesthetic dermatologist with over 30 years of industry experience, has been both a mentor and a mentee. “When I mentor, it's on a medical as well as a social basis. Most of the industry is female dominated. So as a mentor, I can help provide some insight about how to weave the complex balance of social life and medicine, of education and medicine, of family and medicine.” Read more about mentorship and training here.
Career changes take time, so keep that in mind as you are starting out. No one became a professional overnight. Even after you complete any necessary training, it’s important to set realistic expectations and understand that you may not be working on patients right away.
Jamie Comstock, PA-C, is a partner in a growing number of face-focused med spas with locations currently in Arizona and Utah, but she put in lots of time to get where she is now, especially at her mother, Dr. Jody Comstock’s, practice. “As a PA, having to complete a defined training program made a huge impact on my career, and I believe it is necessary for anyone looking to get into this industry. My mom's program focused on patient experience, understanding a full facial consultation, and the importance of seeing patients for follow-up appointments. Being able to shadow and assist the other injectors helped me really develop an eye for aesthetics and learn how to effectively communicate with patients. The training program also included frequent practice on staff and was supervised with patients early on, which allowed me to develop my technical skills. Learning and practicing with patients of different ages, races, and genders was important to learn how the products work in a diversity of skin types and to understand all of the different injectables. It is so much more than taking a 1-2 day course to get certified in injectables.” Hear more advice about starting out here.
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Indeed. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/should-i-change-career. Accessed January 14, 2022
Indeed. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/the-complete-guide-to-researching-a-company. Accessed January 14, 2022
The HR Digest. https://www.thehrdigest.com/5-step-action-plan-to-make-a-successful-career-change/. Accessed January 14, 2022
Career Foundry. https://careerfoundry.com/en/blog/career-change/career-change/. Accessed January 14, 2022