Young Injector: Ashley Louise Bohling Is a “Lip Queen”
Hear about her first four years of training and improving while staying true to herself.
After enrolling in a series of intensive trainings to learn how to become an aesthetic injector, in only four years Chicago-based Ashley Louise Bohling, PA-C, has become a self-described “Lip Queen.” After making a strategic decision to focus her training to develop her expertise in dermal filler for lip augmentation, her reputation has grown to the point that patients—such as one based in Hawaii—make long-distance journeys specifically to receive treatment from Ashley. “I think I went to the back of the room and cried for a moment because it seemed so surreal that someone across the country knew who I was,” she says.
Ashley attributes her success in part to her hard work ethic and her trust-based relationships with both her patients and her colleagues. She also regularly spends time educating herself about advancements in Medical Aesthetics. “I feel like the moment you feel like you’re the best, you get complacent,” she says. “And that’s where mistakes happen.”
For candidates interested in becoming injectors, Ashley shares her path to success and her tips for what to look for in a training regimen.
Constructive criticism can benefit entry-level aesthetic injectors.
When she was starting out, Ashley recalls having to develop a thick skin to take constructive criticism from employers, mentors, and trainers. She believes intensive instruction ultimately helped her career and recommends it for those starting their Medical Aesthetics journeys.
From Ashley’s perspective, training and hiring someone without injection experience can be a net positive. “I think that there are pros and cons with taking someone brand new, and that’s because they’re not set in their ways,” she explains. “I would rather train a brand-new injector for my office because bad habits have not been formed, and I could personally mold them.”
Training with a local provider can open a door to getting a job in Medical Aesthetics.
Ashley is careful to note that where you train can affect your job prospects. In particular, she feels that “going to large training facilities for training isn’t always great.” Ashley recommends trying to train with a well-known local aesthetic healthcare provider, partly because they will likely be a part of the local community. She has found success in engaging in open dialogs on social media, especially Instagram®, where she has started relationships that developed into in-person professional relationships.
“That person is going to be a resource for you to find your job,” she explains. “Build a relationship with the injector who’s training you. They could connect you to other providers that might be looking to hire. If you create a great relationship, and they know that you’re driven, hardworking, have a good work ethic, and you’re trying to be the best, they’re going to advocate for you.”
Business sense can be a benefit to getting started in Medical Aesthetics.
In Ashley’s opinion, becoming an aesthetic injector isn’t just about learning how to wield a syringe: it’s also about having a certain amount of business sense. “I think that having a business plan, especially if you’re trying to get hired, appeals to potential employers. If you have a plan of action, for example how you’re going to bring patients into the clinic and become successful, that will count in your favor when they make hiring decisions,” she explains.
“I want to hire someone who’s very hardworking and goal-driven and has a plan of action,” Ashely continues. “I think that’s how I was when I was a brand-new aesthetic injector. I had a business plan written out, went on four interviews, and I was offered three out of the four jobs having no experience. Granted, this happened four years ago. So things were a little bit different, maybe not as saturated. But it definitely worked for me.”
Her one regret is not shadowing as an entry-level aesthetic injector.
Although Ashley landed her first job in Medical Aesthetics partly because she displayed business sense, shadowing, or following and carefully watching a reputable professional, can also be a way for entry-level aesthetic injectors to network and ultimately find a position. “I wish I took a shadowing program, but unfortunately I was unaware of any in my area at the time,” she says. “I was lucky that a local injector allowed me to spend a day with her after I completed a few training sessions.”
Once a trainee has taken a neuromodulator course and a filler course, unpaid shadowing might be the next logical step. Ashley recommends, “If you’re doing a shadowing program in your area and the trainers know that you’re serious about it, most likely they’re going to want to hire you or send you to one of their friends for a job opportunity. Make sure to put in the work to show them that you’re dedicated.”
A med spa in a plastic surgery center can benefit young providers and patients.
Ashley’s med spa is located within a plastic surgery center, which makes spontaneous consults with other aesthetic healthcare providers convenient. “If I have a question, I can easily send a message to my partner who is a plastic surgeon, and he can give me his opinion.”
The med spa’s location also makes it seamless for Ashley to suggest treatment recommendations because she’s exposed to other specialties and procedures daily. This can benefit young or first-time patients. “As I’ve gained knowledge and have become more experienced, I realize injectables might not be the only route to take or the best route to take for a particular patient. Sometimes, I can send my patients to my colleagues in the plastic surgery center.”
Building trust with patients can lead to long-term relationships.
When Ashley began training, “lips were trending. They still are popular to this day.” Although Ashley focused her efforts on becoming the best possible lip injector that she could be, her intense focus on achieving desired patient results using dermal filler for lips set the stage for her to expand her expertise. Ashley’s patients began enthusiastically posting pictures of their lip filler augmentations on social media. As her reputation grew, Ashley’s clients began to request that she provide a variety of Medical Aesthetics procedures.
“I’m really proud to say that I’m able to provide full-face aesthetic injections,” Ashley explains. “Now that I have this foundation, many patients consult with me to provide facial contouring treatments. So for me, expertise in one type of procedure led me to expertise in other procedures.”
Before-and-after pictures aren’t just for social media.
Since many potential candidates seeking experience as an aesthetic injector focus on learning different procedures, the significance of documentation—specifically, before-and-after photography—is an important part of the work.
“Every injector does markups differently,” Ashley explains. “It’s important to see how they mark up the patient and take before-and-after photos. In the beginning, many providers stressed to me before-and-after pictures aren’t just for social media. They can also be for insurance and educational purposes. Seeing how many photos and even videos an injector takes will give you a better sense of what you should do for your practice.”
“Community over competition” can be a helpful concept for young injectors.
Ashley’s experience has been that building a community is preferable to trying to compete with colleagues. “Early on, I was kind of discouraged from having friends and mentors. However, the person I took a course from informally became my mentor. She told me I could reach out to her and ask for help. We would meet together. Initially, there were a lot of things I was unable to do while I was still training. So I would refer business to her, and I felt like it was a great kind of partnership.”
Building a community ultimately has been helpful for Ashley and her patients. “If you have a complication, you want to be friends with your local practices and be able to knock on their door and be like, ‘Hey, could I borrow something or ask for an opinion?’ It’s much better to have people in your corner than to have someone shun you because you threaten them. I think it takes a lot of confidence as an aesthetic injector to acknowledge that there are other great injectors in your area, and you’re not always going to be the best at everything.”
Staying true to yourself can help you achieve your career goals.
Ashley attributes her success to her drive and her consistency. “Becoming successful as an injector was always due to my planning. I make lists of things I need to accomplish: daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals, and a five-year plan.”
She began her planning in a relative vacuum of support. “When I switched from orthopedic surgery and into Medical Aesthetics, some of my friends from physician assistant school found out and thought I was ridiculous. They were kind of teasing me and making fun of me. It got back to me, and it hurt my feelings. But then I was like, ‘whatever, shake it off.’ Ironically, so many people that I went to school with later transitioned into Medical Aesthetics! I’d say being able to cancel out anything negative and focus on staying true to yourself, along with meeting your goals on time, will help you get the career you want.”
About Ashley Louise Bohling, PA-C
Ashley Louise Bohling is a certified physician assistant aesthetic injector based in Chicago, Illinois. She received her bachelor of science degree at Purdue University and master of physician assistant studies at Indiana State University in 2017. In 2018, she left orthopedic surgery to pursue Medical Aesthetics, where she specializes in facial anatomy, clinical training, and expertise in aesthetic injections to achieve nonsurgical results for her patients.