Paramedical Esthetics Training and Education Program Options
Paramedical esthetics, also called medical esthetics, clinical esthetics or camouflage therapy, is a field that provides treatments to aid a patient's healing. The term aesthetics is used interchangeably with esthetics. Paramedical esthetics training programs, which are available at the certificate and associate degree levels, prepare students for licensure.
Certificate in Paramedical Esthetics
Paramedical estheticians differ from traditional estheticians in that they regularly work with severely scarred skin, medical terminology, insurance billing issues and terminally ill patients. Clinical estheticians prepare patients for surgery, analyze complementary colors to skin and hair colors after changes due to chemotherapy and normalize physical appearance after a disfigurement. Techniques include chemical peels, lymphatic drainage massage, eyelash extensions and camouflage make-up.
Certificates take roughly two semesters to complete, though accelerated courses can take under four months to finish. Applicants to these programs must be high school graduates; however, accelerated programs require that applicants also have a current state issued license to practice esthetics.
Future clinical estheticians study skin diseases, chemical peels and color theory, in order to best treat patients' physical symptoms and improve their self esteem after disfiguration. Topics of study include:
- Business skills
- Camouflage make-up
- Infection control
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for estheticians and other skin care specialists were projected to increase roughly 38% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the mean annual salary for skin care specialists as of May 2009 was $28,580. The average salary for skin care specialists working in physicians' offices was reported at $38,020 for the same time period, while those working in medical and surgical hospitals earned $39,910.
Associate Degrees Paramedical Esthetics
Though rare, some colleges and vocational schools offer associate degree programs in paramedical esthetics, such as the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Natural Health with a concentration in advanced paramedical skin care or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Esthetician with a medical esthetician emphasis. Schools that do offer this training are typically for-profit schools, which may not transfer to related bachelor's degree programs.
Programs at associate level in this field can cover everything from nutrition to psychology and can take roughly two years to complete. Most schools do not have any additional prerequisites outside of high school diploma or GED equivalent.
The goal of these programs is to equip paramedical students with skin care theory and techniques beyond introductory coursework. Emphasis will be placed on areas applicable to cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, dermatopathology and camouflage makeup, as well as classes similar to the following:
- Advanced skin care peels
- Clinical dermatology
- Dermal oncology
- Medical terminology
- Relaxation techniques
Continuing Education and Licensure
Medical skin care specialist programs are designed for estheticians interested in working in a clinical setting. Coursework is found at the certificate level and teaches students advanced skin care as well as medical terminology and the legal side of working in medical offices.
While all paramedical professionals work under a doctor's guidance, some states do not recognize a difference between paramedical and general estheticians. According to the National Society of Paramedical Esthetic Professionals (NSPEP), paramedical clinical estheticians state-licensed professionals, while non-licensed estheticians working in a physician's office are called paramedical esthetic professionals (www.nspep.com). The state board of cosmetology runs licensing examinations; however, requirements vary by state.
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