The aesthetics industry is booming. It’s a great time to be an injector! We have so many products to choose from and much better techniques we have learned over the years. I LOVE my job and it’s hard for me to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to do it every day! That’s probably why I see so many people from so many pathways interested in becoming an injector. At least once a week someone asks me directly or indirectly for advice on how to become an injector. There are multiple disciplines wanting a piece of the pie. At a recent meeting I was amongst oculoplastic surgeons, plastic surgeons, dermatologist, dentist, family practice doctors, RN injectors and I’m sure more occupations were represented that I didn’t meet! So how do you pick which path to take? Here is my advice and a few tips on how to become an aesthetic injector.
1. Ask yourself why you want to become an injector. Make more money? Because you don’t like your current job? Because you love beauty? I personally wanted to be a plastic surgeon since I was very small. I gained a mentor in high school and she was very influential in me choosing nursing as my profession instead. Later in my nursing career I met Dr. Sandy who lit my fire for cosmetics again and became my mentor. I’ve always loved beauty and taking care of people and doing both everyday is a dream come true. I didn’t hate being an ICU nurse nor an ER NP. Can you imagine if you were about to have open heart surgery and asked your surgeon why he became a cardiothoracic and he responded “because I wanted to make money” or “because I didn’t like being a neurosurgeon”? NO, you would be terrified for your surgery. On the other hand if he said “I love the anatomy of the heart and being able to refresh your life, this is such an exciting surgery and I can’t wait to be in the OR with you today!” The point is to be good at something like this you have to have a fire in you. A love for some part of job. Whether it’s a love for caring for people or a passion for beauty you better be on fire for it because if you aren’t you and your patients aren’t going to excel.
2. Seek out a mentor. The core specialties that are most respected in the cosmetic industry (in my opinion as of 4/21/18 @16:37)are Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. I would start there. These are the people that are paving the way. The ones doing clinical trials on new products and going to advanced trainings(usually as the teacher) and working together for all the advances that help us all be better injectors. They also are more likely to be the only specialties that have injection training during their residencies/fellowship. My advice would be to find a mentor while you are in school that is interested in hiring. Do some of your training during your school rotations and get to know each other. I spent my Dermatology rotation in NP school with Dr. Sandy. It’s like dating. If you don’t click move on. A mentor ship is beneficial to you but also to your mentor if you become an injector that helps build their practice. Send out e-mails and resumes and don’t give up.
3. There is no such thing as a botox certification. I would like to put that sentence in bold lettering everywhere. I see people all the time asking where they can get botox certified or advertising they are botox certified or they are offering a “botox certification” course. I have heard of people paying $5,000 to $10,000 to go to a class for a week and then they think they have some pass or legal right to inject. I spent 6 months injecting with Dr. Sandy before I ever injected my own patient. I practiced on staff and family for months before I started injecting patients. I can not imagine being ready to inject after a one week class. Don’t let these classes trick you. There are good classes out there but they are trainings not for a certification and there is a difference. Be smart.
3. Know your state laws. Injecting botox and fillers and kybella and biostimulators are medical procedures. The laws vary by state but you need to know them. Texas has had some arrests in the news lately you may have seen of spa owners that were actually injecting illegally. You can read about Arkansas state law in Dr. Sandy’s post from last week. As a general rule, if your medical director isn’t an injector and doesn’t know how to guide you then you are going to wind up in trouble one way or another.
4. Know your anatomy. Study where vessels are, where muscles are, what depths you should be at, what are no fly zones, know it like the back of your hand. Our first job is to do no harm. Did you know you could cause someone blindness with filler? Or skin necrosis that causes a forever scar?
5. Be prepared for complications. No one wants them. Everyone will eventually get one if you inject enough. Have a plan. Have hyalenex or vitrase on hand just in case. Have a relationship with an ophthalmologist that will inject it into the eyeball if needed. Have a relationship with a wound care doctor in case you ever had skin necrosis you wanted in the hyperbaric chamber. Bottom line, have a plan. If you never need the plan great!
6. You have a passion, you have a mentor,you have the knowledge, you are ready to inject. Congrats! Now what? Always bring your patients back in two weeks. To make sure they are satisfied but also to learn from them. I study my patients before and after photos to help me know what techniques worked and what didn’t. What I would do again and what I wouldn’t. How one patients anatomy is a little different from the next. Keep educating yourself every chance you get. This is a good time to dive into those trainings I was talking about previously.
7. Enjoy. It’s the best job ever. Don’t worry about other injectors because there are enough fish in the sea for everyone. We should want everyone to be an awesome injector because that reflects on aesthetics positively and all of our patients can worry less about being botched. As Dawin sang, they can imitate you but they can’t duplicate you! We are each different injectors serving a specific population.
I hope this is helpful. Follow your dreams. Follow your heart. Then work hard, really hard. If you have any questions you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org otherwise good luck!