How to Become an Aesthetic Practitioner in the UK

29 January 2024

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In this post:

  • The aesthetic industry is an incredibly lucrative career path that offers a level of flexibility you can’t get elsewhere. There has never been a better time to become an aesthetic practitioner.
  • Non-medical aesthetic practitioners focus on noninvasive skincare treatments, while medical aesthetic practitioners perform injectable treatments like dermal filler and Botox.
  • To be a medical aesthetic practitioner, having a medical background is an absolute must. A medical, dentistry, or nursing degree lays the groundwork for a successful career in aesthetics.
  • There are four steps to take when pursuing an aesthetic medicine career: choose the right course, determine your practice’s path, market yourself, and continued education.

Thinking about a career in aesthetic medicine? Doctors, dentists, and nurses from all over the world are flocking to this billion pound industry. Whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a complete career pivot, incorporating facial aesthetics into your practice unlocks a world of brand new opportunities. This is an industry that’s here to stay.

We’ve already outlined the reasons why aesthetic medicine has become a popular choice for medical professionals. Now, let’s delve into how you can become a successful aesthetic practitioner. This article will focus on the UK, but these tips will also help those based abroad.

This career path not only promises high earning potential but also offers a level of flexibility you can’t get in conventional NHS roles. If this seems too good to be true, don’t worry. We can assure you that a flourishing career in aesthetics is very achievable when done right.

What is an aesthetic practitioner?

But first, let’s explore what an aesthetic practitioner is. This term broadly describes anyone who treats patients in the aesthetics or skincare industry. Aesthetic practitioners can be non-medical or medical.

Non-medical aesthetic practitioners, also known as aestheticians or skincare therapists, specialise in noninvasive skincare treatments like chemical peels, laser treatment, microneedling, and more.

Our focus, however, lies in medical aesthetic practitioners, or medical aestheticians. These are medically qualified professionals trained in administering injectable treatments like dermal filler or botulinum toxin. Medical aesthetic practitioners usually have degrees in medicine, dentistry, or nursing. They are also held accountable by their respective industry body, whether that be the GDC, GMC, or BACN.

As an aesthetic practitioner, you’ll need to not only gain a deep understanding of the industry, but you’ll also need the qualifications and experience required to become a reputable injector. This is an industry that only continues to grow, and there’s never been a better time to pursue this career path.


While there is a long list of benefits to joining this industry, there are also some considerations you must take before diving in.

How are your business skills?

Being an aesthetic practitioner requires business skills in marketing and finance, whether you’re planning to join an existing clinic or start your own. Most doctors and dentists don’t need these skills, but in this industry, they’re vital.

Luckily, there are many free or low-cost learning materials available. It can be as easy as listening to a finance audiobook or a marketing podcast during your workout or commute. For those wanting a deeper dive, there are also many online courses available.

Are you ready to start from scratch?

Chances are you’ve made a lot of career progress as a doctor or dentist. You’ve likely gained an esteemed reputation amongst your peers and built a loyal patient base.

But if you decide to pursue a career in aesthetics, you’ll be back at square one. You’ll have to network in a new industry and build a new client base. Establishing yourself as a reputable influence voice in this industry will take time. It’s a demanding journey but not an impossible one.

Can you handle working independently?

If you’re accustomed to always having a team of fellow doctors, dentists, and nurses around, life as an aesthetic practitioner might look very different from what you’re used to. It’s common for it to be only you and the patient in the room.

This can be an adjustment for some. While many thrive independently, some work better with teamwork. This is something that varies person to person and can help you decide whether aesthetics is the right fit for you.

Aesthetic Practitioner Qualifications

As of January 2024, the UK still does not require aesthetic practitioners to have any qualifications to perform injectable treatments. Because the industry remains unregulated, this means that anyone can inject, even if they don’t have any training or degree.

This only highlights the need for the next wave of aesthetic injectors to come from medical backgrounds. This ensures safe treatment spaces and beautiful results. As medical professionals, it is our responsibility to restore trust and safety to the aesthetics industry.

To become a medical aesthetic practitioner, you must have a degree in medicine, dentistry, nursing, or another related degree. These degrees lay the groundwork for a successful aesthetic medicine career. You also must maintain your registration for your specific industry body. This can be the GDC, GMC, BACN, NMC, etc.

If your medical qualifications are up to date, you’re ready to embark on this new journey!

Steps to Becoming an Aesthetic Practitioner

STEP ONE: Select the Right Course

Your aesthetics journey begins with choosing the appropriate training course. This step is perhaps the most important because it lays the foundation for your entire career in aesthetics. You must go through extensive and comprehensive training in order to inject properly and safely, so it’s important to choose the right one.

When researching courses, here are some things to consider:

  • Does the course offer both theoretical and practical training? Choose a course that offers a blend of theoretical learning and hands-on, in-clinic training. This will ensure your success as an aesthetic practitioner.
  • Is the course accredited? CPD-certified aesthetic courses will fill your industry’s continued learning requirements. This is also a good indicator of a course’s legitimacy.
  • Do you get to work with live models? Hands-on training with live models is non-negotiable. It allows you to gain practical injecting experience with real patients.
  • What is the class size? Look for courses with no more than six participants. This guarantees you’ll receive personalised attention to maximise your learning and skill development.
  • Who runs the course? Take a look at who is running the course and whether they’re an experienced medical professional. This can indicate if the course will be legitimate and worth your time and money.
  • How many days is the course? No one can learn how to inject in just one day. As a beginner injector, one-day courses will leave you unprepared and unconfident. The best courses will demand a significant time commitment for both theoretical and practical learning.

Remember that your training doesn’t stop with your first course. This is an industry that is constantly growing and evolving. It’s important to continually update your skills and knowledge with more advanced courses.

STEP TWO: Choose Your Practice Path

When you’re ready to treat patients, you’re faced with a big decision: launching your own aesthetic practice or joining an established practice. Each option has its pros and cons.

Opening your own clinic gives you full control over your business and its finances. This is a huge advantage for a lot of people, but it comes with its own hurdles. While there is potential for growth and hiring team members, there is a large upfront cost and work involved in starting a business.

Working at an already established practice is another option. You won’t have to worry about the business finances and operations. The clinic may even give you help with marketing, which can be a massive advantage when you’re first starting out. The main cons are the limited control over the clinic’s operations and a portion of your earnings going to the clinic.

But a middle ground also exists: renting a room in a dental practice or similar medical clinic. This is a partnership beneficial to both parties. You’ll draw in their patients, and yours will become dental patients. You’ll still have control over your business, but you won’t have to start completely from scratch.

STEP THREE: Master Marketing & Social Media

Regardless of whether you go on to work in a clinic or start your own practice, mastering social media is crucial. An active presence on platforms like Instagram or TikTok where you share aesthetic treatments and industry insights can be instrumental in gaining your first patients.

If you opt to launch your own clinic, your marketing strategy must expand even further. Creating a search engine optimised (SEO) website ensures you show up in local searches. Building an email list to reach out to existing patients and leads is also key. A strong marketing strategy will be the thing that makes or breaks your practice’s success.

STEP FOUR: Keep Learning & Growing!

The path to becoming a successful aesthetic practitioner is not always easy. There will be highs and lows, especially in the beginning. But we can speak from experience when we say the journey will be immensely rewarding.

Keep investing in your skills with ongoing training and education. Work hard to build a base of loyal patients who trust and value your expertise and the life-changing results you deliver. And then work some more.

When done right, a career in aesthetic medicine is extremely gratifying. You might even find yourself wondering why you didn’t start sooner.

Start your aesthetics career today.

Meet the Smileworks Aesthetic Training HUB – an esteemed aesthetic training centre based in the UK. We pride ourselves on our wide range of online and hands-on courses tailored for every skill level. Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of Botox and fillers, or you’re an advanced injector aiming to master facial ultrasound techniques, we have the expertise and courses to suit your needs.

Stop pursuing a thankless career that doesn’t make you happy.

Don’t let financial limitations keep holding you back from living your fullest life.

It’s time to embrace the prospering world of aesthetic medicine. The HUB provides you with all the right training and guidance you need to succeed. Take control of your professional journey and step into a future filled with endless potential and opportunities.

Join us at the HUB. Let’s shape the future of aesthetic medicine together and ensure safe, effective, and transformative results for every patient.

Want to try out our courses before committing? Take advantage of our free trial for a taste of what learning at the HUB is like.


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