Working as an aesthetic injector is a rewarding career helping patients feel their best and maintain overall health and wellness. Opportunities range from working at medical spas or cosmetic surgery centers to dermatology clinics or private practice. But getting started in the industry can be a challenge and it takes time and hard work.
Jackie Bischmann, BSN, RN, an aesthetic nurse of 15 years, believes it’s part of the journey. “Expect to work hard,” she says. “It takes a lot of responsibility to do this type of work well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and attend any training you can get into even if you’re not employed yet. Your patients will trust you as an expert when you have confidence.”
That training is key to gaining experience and to landing your first client or job. Here’s how to get it.
Step 1: Earn Your Medical Degree
You’ll need a medical degree and license to work as an aesthetic injector. There are different medical pathways you can take, including:
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Practitioner
- Physician Assistant
Depending on the pathway, you’ll need an undergraduate and graduate degree, and you’ll need to write the national licensing or certification exam. Each state has different laws for your profession’s scope of practice in aesthetics, so it’s important to check with your state board for the regulations.
Step 2: Get Hands-on Experience
A critical part of medical training is hands-on experience and this is equally important for an aesthetic injector. There are two routes for gaining experience: professional aesthetic training or certification and shadowing an established provider.
Professional Aesthetics Training
Most state boards and insurance providers require additional aesthetics training or certification as part of your license. A good place to start is with basic services like laser treatments where you can practice over and over again and build confidence. Training in other procedures can include:
- Injector prep training
- Neuromodulator injections
- Filler injections
- Platelet-rich-plasma therapy
How to choose a good training program
Start by looking for local training. Many programs are weekend or two-day workshops, so not only will you be able to network with local established providers, but you'll also be able to cut down on commuting, expenses, and time off work.
Before you commit, read the program reviews and the course outline. Training can range from a continuing education workshop to a master’s degree, so they’re not all the same. Make sure it gives you the skills you need and verify whether it’s a stand-alone course or part of a certification program.
Also, know the price. One to two-day training programs usually range from $1,000 to $2,000, but they can be more expensive with esteemed educators.
Top aesthetic training programs
If you’re not sure about a program, check with your state board and insurance provider for approved educators or requirements. Examples of some quality training programs are:
- Botulinum Toxins & Dermal Fillers Level 1 to 3 by the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics
- Botox & Dermal Filler Certification by Aesthetic Medical Educators Training
- Injection Anatomy by the American Med Spa Association
- Botox Certification by the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine
- Injector Preparation by Titan Aesthetic Recruiting
- Certificate Course in Aesthetic Medicine Level 1 to 3 by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine
- Level 1 to 3 Facial Rejuvenation and specialty workshops by Palette
Shadow an Established Provider
Learning from experienced professionals not only helps you improve your skills and learn more about facial anatomy but also helps you get your foot in the door and grow your network.
How to find a professional to shadow
If you’re starting out in your education, an excellent way to shadow a professional is through clinical rotations. Nicole Brustkern, DNP, FNP-C, CPNP, a double board-certified nurse practitioner, says her clinical rotation became the foundation for her career.
“Although unorthodox, I sought out a clinical rotation with a provider who specialized in injectables,” she says. “This is where my love of aesthetic medicine blossomed and I learned the basics of facial anatomy, dosing, and technique. I worked as a nurse injector in a small injectables practice throughout my DNP program before making the leap into my own practice with Portrait.”
But there are other ways to find professionals, too. Stay active on social media and follow local professionals you admire, med spas, and clinics. Engage online with their profile, send direct messages, and connect on professional networks like LinkedIn, but keep your interactions authentic and positive.
Step 3: Network
Like other industries, often it’s who you know that helps you get your career started. Connect with local beauty salons and hand out business cards to build professional awareness, and ask local injectors about openings or mentorship opportunities.
You can also join aesthetic societies and stay up to date on events. Attend conferences, workshops, and networking events where you can connect with local clinics and like-minded peers. Check out societies like:
Step 4: Keep Your Skills Sharp
It can take some time to find your first client or mentor, or get your first job. As you search and connect, keep training and learning. Education and training will be a constant part of your career whether it’s improving skills, tweaking or perfecting techniques, or learning new procedures and gadgets.
Start with knowing facial anatomy at an expert level. Every face is different, so learn to study facial muscle movement and size. Practice assessments and marking for filler and neuromodulators.
YouTube is a great resource where you can find training or technique videos from other professionals. It’s also a great way to examine the faces of individuals as they talk and practice visual assessment.
You can also read and study facial anatomy books. Check out textbooks like:
- Aesthetic Facial Anatomy Essentials for Injections
- Clinical Anatomy of the Face for Filler and Botulinum Toxin Injection
- Botulinum Toxins in Clinical Aesthetic Practice 3E, Volume Two
“Everyone starts with just one client,” says Nicole Brustkern. “You're not alone. We've all been new at one point and we all remember what it was like. It's okay to not know everything, second guess yourself, and feel overwhelmed with imposter syndrome.”
Building a practice, a career, and a reputation takes time, but stay positive and motivated. As you get your aesthetics training, you’ll gain the confidence to succeed.