Want to become a medical esthetician?

A medical esthetician performs treatments on the skin using medical grade products and injections to improve the appearance of the skin. Not a doctor or nurse, but a person licensed to use these different medical grade supplies to help people achieve the look they want safely.

Many of the traditional spa esthetics philosophies and approaches apply to medical esthetics and work in a medical spa setting. The main goal of any successful program is maintaining healthy, beautiful skin all over the body. Medical esthetics is unique because it is performed on patients in a clinical setting. These treatments are often recommended by a medical professional for medical purposes or cosmetic reasons based on wants and needs of the patient.

Medical estheticians make a positive difference in the lives of their patients. The fulfillment in medical esthetics comes from helping a patient to feel a renewed sense of self-confidence that comes with healthy, beautiful skin.

Estheticians in the medical field do not have medical training of any kind. The term “medical esthetician” is used to describe estheticians that work under the on-site supervision of a licensed healthcare professional like the ones at Chicago Cosmetic Institute. Medical estheticians are able to work side by side with cosmetic surgeons performing non-surgical treatments as the technician and administering pre and post-operative care for patients. They are also responsible for making sure patients take care of their skin properly at home after the procedure(s). In this way, the esthetician acts as a skin consultant, helping patients to properly prepare for their surgery and take care of themselves properly afterward.

The daily work life of a medical esthetician

The duties of a licensed medical esthetician differ from that of a spa-based esthetician in more than just title. The jobs they perform are largely dependant on the type of setting where they work.

Not all medical estheticians work in the cosmetic field. Many works in dermatology clinics, specialist clinics, and units like the burn unit in a hospital. They often work under a certified plastic surgeon and teacher like Dr. Gutowski before being allowed to administer any kind of injections.

In all cases, medical estheticians need to be knowledgeable of:

  • Potential pre- and post-operative complications
  • Medications commonly administered within the practice
  • Products and equipment specific to the practice
    • In the cosmetic field, this includes the use of chemical peels, injectable fillers, and lasers, among other things.
  • Protocols of the facility

As a medical esthetician, you should always be ready to:

  • Educate the patient on proper skincare techniques, sun protection, home care, and other skin care information that they will need in their daily lives.
  • Advise the patient for an upcoming procedure/surgery
  • Advise the patient on pre-operative skincare, which may include oral or topical medicine applications
  • Obtaining a new patient’s skincare history, including a list of all products and medications used, as well as past services and procedures that have been done
  • Following up with a patient regarding physician-prescribed medical treatments
  • Answering patient questions about skincare concerns
  • Providing thorough instruction to patients on home care
  • Maintaining and updating accurate patient charts
  • Coordinating patient care with the physician
  • Providing complimentary consultations regarding skincare services
  • Serving as a liaison with the patient coordinator during the pre- and post- surgery period
  • Maintaining treatment rooms and workstations in compliance with OSHA standards
  • Maintaining equipment for cleaning and maintenance
  • Confirming patient appointments and making patient follow-up calls
  • Maintaining inventory systems for professional and retail products

How to become a licensed medical esthetician

Medical estheticians are held to the same state licensing standards as traditional spa estheticians. The license they hold comes from the state and is required in both lines of esthetic work.

Initial licensing takes longer to complete and requires more time in school. Continuing education is less vigorous. As long as you keep licenses active, initial schooling will never have to be re-done.

How much schooling, you ask?

Completing formal coursework of study or apprenticeship

Each state is able to set its own standard regarding the number of practice hours required for the initial license to be obtained.The state’s Board of Cosmetology and Esthetics sets the rules and guidelines that apply throughout the entire industry for that state. Practice requirements typically range from 300 to 750 hours. The State of Illinois, for example, requires 750 hours for the esthetician license. Check with your local board for details on your specific state.

Esthetics programs introduce students to the art and science of skin analysis, disease identification, and skin conditions that they will be facing in the field.

Classroom education and clinical experience work together in every esthetic education program. Most of the time, the clinical work will take place in a student salon setting. This way, instructors are able to closely monitor the work of the students as they work in a setting much like what they will encounter in the real world, often working with real clients.

Advanced level coursework for medical estheticians

There are specialized programs available for estheticians who are looking for placement in the medical field. Medical estheticians often warrant higher pay and many other benefits that go along with working in the medical field. These specialized programs will teach students about:

  • Equipment used by estheticians specifically in a medical setting
  • Advanced product ingredient knowledge and potential danger of allergies
  • Medical conditions that affect skin health and appearance

A number of programs partner with medical spas to offer real-life medical esthetic experience to students and then match them with potential employment opportunities once they pass. Chicago Cosmetic Institute takes only the most skilled and passionate esthetic graduates.

Thanks for reading our guide. There will be information added here continuously as it comes up. If you need more information sooner, please get in touch with us! 

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

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Chicago Cosmetic Institute


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