Linzy Baker discusses the pros and cons of level 7 facial aesthetics training and whether she’s happy she got involved.
Throughout university, facial aesthetics was always a skill that I aimed to obtain on completion of my training as a dental therapist.
I have always had an interest in aesthetics. Both facial and dental. And I could stare at faces for hours picking out different features.
While attending the BSDHT Oral Health Conference in 2017, there was a big presence from the facial aesthetics industry. Something I had not seen before.
There were different stands including hygienists that had progressed into this field. They were working alongside dentistry with successful businesses. Either from their own premises or within a dental practice.
This conference led me to meet my now mentor Dr Harry Singh, who was there promoting BTC courses and demonstrating treatments in one of the interactive sessions.
This conference further encouraged me to look deeper into courses available to train and join the facial aesthetics community.
Choosing my facial aesthetics training
When looking at courses there are many out there. Some will train hygienists and therapists and some that won’t. More concerning is those that train those with no medical knowledge.
There are options of short courses of one-two days training or longer programmes including the level 7 diploma in facial aesthetics.
As a professional who always strives to be the best I can, and someone with a thirst for knowledge, the level 7 appealed to me.
The diploma meets the requirements of the Health Education England (HEE). It covers in depth various aspects of facial aesthetics. This includes not only skin and anatomy, but other areas such as professionalism and ethics.
It involves taking an OSCE to test practical and consulting skills as well as a range of SAQs to test knowledge and understanding.
Making the comparison
Comparing the level 7 to other short courses, the level of knowledge attendees require is high. It’s an extremely different experience with the diploma, requiring a logbook including a number of observed and supervised procedures carried out alongside a qualified and experienced mentor. This is in stark contrast to the few cases treated on the day of attending shorter programmes.
Having someone to shadow or mentor you through cases has proven invaluable. It has given me the confidence to provide treatments to patients knowing I can achieve safe and positive results.
Currently facial aesthetics is a highly unregulated field, even though suggestions have been made. It relies solely on professionals self-regulating and following standards of practice and guidance documents set from various sources.
There has been a greater push for regulation following the formation of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP). This is a voluntary register that has strong focus on education of those delivering injectables. It works alongside several professional regulatory bodies such as the GDC to have an agreed code of practice and best practice guidelines.
The Department of Health strongly supports HEE with those offering injectables to have a level 7 qualification. However, this is not mandatory.
There has been lots of speculation over the qualification being mandatory following improved regulation of the aesthetics world. This is still yet to happen and it is uncertain if or when this will occur. Although I know many will welcome this change in favour of protecting our patients and improving professional standards.
Ultimately, was the choice to enter the level 7 programme worth it? I would say yes.
I feel I have a vast knowledge that I would otherwise not have gained through undertaking a shorter programme. As well as gaining a great support system and mentor.
Although more expensive, more time consuming and challenging, I have learnt a lot from undertaking the course. I now anxiously await the official results of my exams.