There are so many aesthetics courses out there that it can sometimes be difficult to navigate your way through them. Whether you’re an aspiring aesthetic practitioner, or you’ve been doing aesthetics for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Level 7 and the increasing noise around the Level 7 being the benchmark for all aesthetic practitioners if/when regulation comes.
So, what is the Level 7? What do they cover? And who offers them?
A Level 7 qualification is fundamentally a post-graduate qualification, obtained through a number of universities and specialist industry training providers.
Originally developed by Harley Academy and MATA Courses. The Level 7 specification was then approved by Ofqual and has subsequently been adopted and modified by various other aesthetics training providers.
What should you look for in a Level 7 aesthetics course?
Choosing a Level 7 qualification is no easy task! There are various providers who claim to offer Level 7 courses, and indeed, they may deliver a syllabus that appears to be Level 7, but the critical measure is whether their assessment criteria are nationally recognised.
When choosing a Level 7 qualification, the first check you should do is whether it is regulated by Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and accredited by VTCT* and OTHM. Qualifi also offer a Level 7 qualification, however, is is available to non-medically qualified practitioners.
It is strongly recommended that you invest only in courses which are regulated by Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and are awarded by legitimate awarding bodies.
Once you have established that a provider is offering an Ofqual regulated course, you need to take a detailed look at the course details for the following:
A Foundation Course for anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers.
Certificate or Diploma Certificates are typically 28 - 30 units, whereas diplomas are typically 60 units. As indicated by the number of units, Certificates give students a good grounding in all the core aspects of medical aesthetics. Diplomas provide greater depth across a wider range of areas relevant to working in medical aesthetics.
E-learning modules which you can work through at your own pace. It is a good idea to ask for sample materials from the providers you are interested in.
Written assessments which are usually short answer questions (100-800 words) based on clinical scenarios and the e-learning you have undertaken.
Observation days & mentoring opportunities for you to observe treatments being carried out, with the ability to ask questions. Ideally, the course you choose should have plenty of 1:1 mentoring built in.
Supervised patient cases should also be part of the course offering. You should expect to be supervised undertaking at least 40 of your own patient cases.
Community links are important too. Don't underestimate how hard starting your own aesthetics business is. It can be stressful and lonely. When choosing a training provider, you should consider the support you get on completion of the course, not only from the training provider directly, but also from the wider community of that training provider.
Graduate numbers and outcomes can give you an idea about how effective the training academy is at helping students gain the relevant qualifications and give them a good foundation in non-surgical aesthetics. You should ask how many graduates they have and how many have gone on to have successful careers.
Recognition of prior learning is increasingly considered by many academies, and often these 'fast track' courses are significantly cheaper than courses for newer, less experienced practitioners.
Who can apply for a Level 7 qualification in aesthetic medicine?
This depends on the course provider (see the tables** below).
Typically, to gain entry onto a Level 7 course, you have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. For entry onto fast track, or express courses, evidence of experience would need to be provided.
Some courses are only available to doctors and dentists. Others are available to doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists, dental therapists and dental hygienists.
Where can I go to do a Level 7 qualification in aesthetic medicine?
* Where two prices are stated, they denote the cheapest to most expensive courses listed by the academy on their website.
These lists comprise those universities and training providers who listed postgraduate level courses (universities) or Ofqual Level 7 courses (training providers) on their websites as of 10/01/2022
Why is a Level 7 qualification useful in aesthetics?
In an industry which lacks even basic regulation, coupled with consumers who are becoming more savvy and informed, a Level 7 aesthetics qualification provides a point of difference between you and other practitioners, in an increasingly competitive market.
A Level 7 qualification signals to clients a number things:
Aesthetics is your career. A career you have invested time and money in, and take seriously. You have chosen it as your main income stream. It’s your every day work.
You are an expert practitioner. You are therefore more competent and knowledgeable than a practitioner who has been on a weekend course.
It indicates you are ethical and safe. You will learn about ethics, law and cosmetic psychology, ensuring that Level 7 practitioners treat clients in a safe, holistic manner.
Whilst a Level 7 qualification is not essential to practicing aesthetic medicine, by gaining an approved Level 7 qualification, it's likely that you'll protect yourself if/when the non-surgical aesthetics industry is regulated.
*IQ have since been acquired by SFJ and withdrew the Level 7 Certificate from their suite. VTCT have since taken over accreditation of the Level 7 Certificate with many training providers.
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