Young beautiful girl receiving pink facial mask in spa beauty salon - indoors - pores open close a myth

What do you need to work in a medical spa?

If you are not sure what a medical spa is then it is maybe best described as a day spa but with medical procedures available that normally would be performed in a doctor’s office.

The rise in popularity in med spas is down to them being able to offer a friendly, relaxed atmosphere more akin to a visit to a day spa than a hospital or clinic. Although they are not quite as relaxing as a few hours being pampered in a day spa they offer a preferable alternative to a visit to a doctor.

Med spas offer a range of treatments and procedures and because they are able to do things that day spas cannot they also need different licensing and qualifications.

These types of spas have been around for over twenty years and the industry they belong to generates billions of dollars every year. They can also be seen as an attractive place to work. Spa staff need to have certain qualities depending on their roles and it should be remembered this is a customer facing business and the client should leave feeling happy with their experience.

Spas will look for outgoing people to work on reception and will want to hire staff that look forward to going to work so that feeling rubs off on others including the clients. Part of the staff’s job will be to create a welcoming atmosphere. Having a friendly assistant to greet a client and show them to the waiting area and provide refreshments is ideal.

Perhaps you feel that a med spa is the place to work for you. What qualifications do you need to work in one? This would depend very much on the position you are aiming for. 

Legislation for med spas

Regulations for running medical spas will differ from state to state and in other countries. For owners the rules are very strict and for some staff roles less so. There are many roles in a med spa and some will require licenses and qualifications and others won’t. Check on the local laws and legislations for med spas for up to date information. 

The roles available vary greatly. Here are some of them along with what you need to work in a medical spa.

Spa Manager or Assistant Manager

This role does not require any medical qualifications but experience of managing a team would be a plus. The manager needs to oversee all aspects of the med spa and manage all the staff. Although no formal or medical education is needed you will often find that a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management or Hospitality is expected. A spa manager must also understand and stay up to date with all the local health and licensing regulations. 

Sales Representative and Front Receptionist

This is another role that requires no medical qualifications or any formal education. What is needed is a great attitude and an ability to put clients at ease. You will need to be able to be friendly and welcoming even when it is the last thing you want to do. You are likely to be the first person that a client meets and first impressions count.

Your duties will likely be to greet the clients as they arrive at the spa and then take them to the waiting area. You should engage the clients where it is appropriate, offer and provide refreshments and answer any questions the client asks. You will also be answering the phone and making appointments. Your role is likely going to include selling any products that the spa offers in reception also. 

Medical Esthetician

To be a qualified esthetician takes time and schooling. Unlike being a manager or receptionist this is one of the positions where you will need licensing, qualifications and training before you are able to carry out procedures.

Firstly you would need to attend Esthetician School. The course should be finished within about six months and takes around 600-750 hours to complete. Once you have completed the schooling you will want to obtain a medical esthetician’s licence. To obtain this you will need to pass the State Board Exam which is made up from written and practical parts. Both of these parts need to be passed.

After you have your license you can then look for entry level medical esthetician jobs. There will be some more training before you are let loose on patients but once completed you will be able to provide many procedures. These include botox, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser hair removal and fillers. 

Medical Spa Nurse

Being a medical spa nurse requires more work than becoming an esthetician. First you will need to pass and obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from a Nursing School. This can be very hard to obtain and takes a few years. Once you have your degree then you can receive your RN or Registered Nurse licence. Even after gaining these you may still need further education before being able to perform certain procedures. After this you can apply to work in places such as Ethos Spa or other medical spas.

The duties for this role would be to provide certain beauty and esthetician procedures such as skin treatments, facilitating care for post op patients, scheduling appointments and assisting with medical procedures. A medical spa nurse is able to take on esthetician duties but the reverse is not true as estheticians do not hold a Registered Nurse licence. 

Plastic Surgeon

If you want to be a plastic surgeon working independently then you better plan ahead and work very hard. Before someone can become a fully qualified plastic surgeon and practice they will have to spend around 14 years studying and gaining experience. 

Physician

All med spas must have a physician associated with the practice and be a major shareholder. This position also takes many years of schooling before becoming qualified. You would have to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree, pass the MCAT exam, attend medical school for 4 years, pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam, take up a residency, earn board certifications and finally get a state license. Phew! 

Summary

A med spa can be a fun and interesting place to work. Depending on where you are aiming at with your career you may be able to get into full time employment with just your personality and attitude if you are aiming for reception or assistant manager roles. Otherwise you will have to consider where you want to work and undertake the necessary education.

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