From First Training to Trained Injector
These examples are intended to provide information and inspiration for your journey and are not a recommendation or endorsement.
The road to becoming an experienced Medical Aesthetics injector is paved with determination—and a lot of training.
But training for a career in Medical Aesthetics goes well beyond classroom instruction. It may involve following industry leaders on social media, approaching aesthetic professionals to be mentors, attending industry conferences, subscribing to medical journals, soaking up knowledge from pharmaceutical company webinars and trainings, and much more.
Spark by Allergan Aesthetics caught up with Medical Aesthetics providers from around the country to compile some of their best tips for potentially going from first training to trained injector.
1. Start from the beginning with your training.
Those who train other injectors in the art and ethics of administering aesthetic treatments know firsthand that the mastering of facial anatomy is crucial in starting the journey to injecting.1 Anatomy is the backbone of all aesthetics procedures, and for good reason. Understanding the anatomical relationships between skin layers of tissue, fat compartments, blood vessels, nerves and bone is essential in administering aesthetics treatments and achieving desired patient outcomes.2
2. Take your time mastering each new skill.
Dr. Nichols urges new injectors to start slow and build their skills gradually. “I think a lot of early injectors try to jump into everything all at once and then they don’t really become great at anything,” she says. Instead, focus on mastering one skill at a time. “If it's worth it for you to know how to administer neurotoxins, for example, get really good at that before you move on to other things,” she says.
3. Expand your definition of training.
Kaitlyn Rahtelli, PA-C, a board-certified physician assistant in Ridgefield, Connecticut, recommends immersing yourself in the field—"doing whatever you can to soak up as much knowledge as you can”—signing up for webinars, going to conferences, subscribing to journals. She also believes strongly in the benefits of using social media. “Following [Medical Aesthetics providers] on social media really helps,” she says. “Not only can you stay up to date on treatment news and see what patients are interested in, but it may help show future employers how passionate you really are about the field."
4. Training can involve joining professional societies.
Professional aesthetic societies are a great place to meet people, network, and learn about the latest research, tools, and techniques. Additionally, Rahtelli recommends checking out the new Spark site for introductory information as well as certification and licensing information.
Connie Brennan, MSN, RN, PHN, CANS, CPSN, CPC, ISPAN-F, is a member of eight professional aesthetic societies because membership has its perks. “Being a member, you get access to a lot of information,” she explains. “For me, it's helpful to have a lot of touchstones where I can go on to the site and see what's happening there, including whether there’s anything that can help in my trainings or with my colleagues or peers.”
5. Pursuing certifications will take your training to the next level.
Brennan clearly has experience in keeping up with various Medical Aesthetics certifications. Navigating all of the various Medical Aesthetic licensing certifications and their overall qualifications, however, can be difficult—but Brennan has some advice.
“The biggest resource that you can use is your own state nursing boards,” says Brennan, “because those are the boards you have to follow.” These boards also help in reviewing or accrediting certain nursing programs, as well as in overseeing the standards for safe nursing practices.3
Though certifications do not automatically confer any authority, Brennan stands by their value, noting that they demonstrate someone’s dedication toward learning something new. “And then whether or not you get hired, maybe it’s because you've taken the initiative to go and get training yourself, and have something to show for that,” she says.
6. Reputable training resources will point you in the right direction.
On top of the experience of your first job and training from pharmaceutical reps, go the extra mile to learn more and research training companies to find one that meets your needs. Some companies offer introductory training for new injectors trying to get into the industry. “They have great introductory programs that aren't that expensive,” Brennan says. Just ask colleagues for feedback and check first to ensure the companies have proper credentials.
Brennan also recommends inquiring about company training. If you’re hired by a physician or running your own practice, contact the companies you work with about intro trainings—they’ll come to you. “And don’t forget to look into CME sponsorships,” she says. Various companies offer affordable online programs, including virtual and, increasingly post-COVID, hands-on trainings.
7. A mentor will share the best practices you won’t find in a textbook.
Since there aren’t many aesthetic fellowships specific to Medical Aesthetics, early injectors can benefit from having mentors to show them the ropes.
“For me it started with getting information from my mentors during externships,” explains Dr. Nichols, who feels lucky to have worked for seven years with a dermatologist who gave her full access to the aesthetics part of the practice. “That was huge because this dermatologist was doing a lot of studies and it opened the door for me,” she says. “It gave me a lot of opportunity to see and learn about aesthetics firsthand.”
8. Seek out jobs that offer continued training.
When scrolling through job descriptions, look for teams willing to train new graduates. In interviews, Rahtelli adds, ask what the training process looks like and what resources are available to you. “My training period was officially three months but really I'm still learning, and I've been in [at my current practice] for over a year,” she says. “The supervising physician is always looking for new techniques, they're always learning, so you want to make sure they’re willing to then teach you what they’re learning.”
9. Keep training no matter where you are in your journey.
Even experienced healthcare providers teach and attend trainings today to learn what's going on in the industry.
Dr. Cash, who completed four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, and then two additional years of plastic surgery residency, still goes to seminars, peer-related conferences and symposiums, and she almost always comes away with new wisdom. She’s also in online chat groups where colleagues share new skills and before and after photos. Lastly, she’s not afraid to learn from residents when they bring in new ideas. “It’s nonstop—you’re always expanding, always growing, always trying to develop your skills and be better and better,” she says.
Dr. Nichols is constantly reading journal articles and attending professional conferences to improve her techniques and learn new ones. “I have an open mind about what my colleagues are doing,” she says. “And that has to be continual or else your skills are going to get dated.” Dr. Nichols also meets with her staff biweekly to share topics and techniques they’ve seen from other experienced injectors on social media and around the industry.
Rahtelli regularly participates in advanced injectable trainings to learn different techniques and make sure her skills are current. “The biggest thing with this field is that it’s always evolving—there are always new injection techniques and new technologies coming out, so you want to make sure that you're up to date on best practices and new innovations,” she says. “Patients are always going to be asking you about the new hot thing, and you want to make sure you know.”
Goodman GJ, Liew S, Callan P, Hart S. Facial aesthetic injections in clinical practice: pretreatment and posttreatment consensus recommendations to minimise adverse outcomes. Australas J Dermatol. 2020;61(3):217-225. doi:10.1111/ajd.13273
Akinbiyi T, Othman S, Familusi O, Calvert C, Card EB, Percec I. Better Results in Facial Rejuvenation with Fillers. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2020;8(10):e2763. Published 2020 Oct 15. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000002763
State Boards of Nursing : Nursing2021. LWW. https://journals.lww.com/nursing/fulltext/2003/01001/state_boards_of_nursing.24.aspx. Published January 2003.