Medics' aesthetic training & CPD - Hamilton Fraser


The aesthetics sector is constantly evolving to reflect scientific developments and patient demand, so practitioners need to undertake regular theoretical and practical training to make sure they have the technical skills and competence to keep patients safe and deliver a high standard of care. Regular training enables practitioners to expand their knowledge of the latest treatments and techniques, learn new skills and deepen their understanding of aesthetic procedures.

In this guide, we’ll explain everything aesthetic practitioners need to know about training in aesthetics and CPD, with expert advice from two of the UK’s leading training providers in aesthetic medicine, Harley Academy and Acquisition Aesthetics.

Training in aesthetic medicine and cosmetic insurance

Hamilton Fraser remains at the forefront of championing suitably qualified and competent practitioners and in line with this, not only will we not insure non-medics for certain treatments such as injectables, but training for procedures such as dermal fillers and botulinum toxin also has to be taught by a registered medical professional to meet our eligibility criteria. This applies regardless of whether the course is CPD approved. For these treatments, practitioners must undertake both theoretical and face-to-face practical training, and they must be presented with a certificate of completion.

A Level 7 Diploma in Botox and Dermal Filler training, such as Acquisition Aesthetics Level 7 Diploma in Clinical Aesthetic Injectable Therapies, or the Harley Academy’s Level 7 Diploma in Injectables,  is currently the recommended education standard for injectables in the UK.

Acquisition Aesthetics is the 2021 and 2022 Aesthetics Awards ‘Independent Training Provider of the Year’ in the UK. They have an outstanding panel of expert trainers who are all medical doctors, surgeons or dentists. This enables their learning delegates to be taught by a multidisciplinary team on all of their CPD verified courses, which serves to improve the delegates’ technical knowledge and injecting skills.

Find out more about the training requirements for specific procedures on our treatments page.

With the industry starting to take a much closer look at standards and qualifications, the need for practitioners to be able to demonstrate relevant knowledge and competence is only going to become even greater. For example, in their 10 point plan the JCCP highlights the requirement for practitioners to undertake appropriate and regular continuing personal and professional development (CPPD) with an accredited training provider as part of annual insurance renewal.

A scene of cosmetology training in a beauty salon

What is CPD?

CPD is an abbreviation of Continued Professional Development. Formally defined as the ‘holistic commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers’, CPD is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you to manage your own learning and growth over a continuous period.

Established in 1996, the CPD Certification Service is an independent accreditation centre that works across a whole host of sectors, disciplines and learning centres. The centre works with training providers, professional bodies, academic institutions and corporate organisations to provide high quality training certified according to a universally accepted checklist. Training courses, events, e-learning, conferences, workshops and seminars can be accredited by the CPD Certification Service to boost specific learning requirements.

Why is CPD important for aesthetic practitioners?

Whether you are an experienced and established aesthetic practitioner, or new to the field,  continued professional development (CPD) is key to supporting and developing your career. Here, Dr Kalpna Pindolia, head of medical education at aesthetic training provider Harley Academy, provides her top tips on CPD and explains why continued professional development is so important.

“With day-to-day medical practice, CPD usually revolves around educational tasks, with keeping your skills up to date being the main focus. However, in aesthetics, CPD gets really exciting as you can build tailored, bespoke CPD plans specifically for your own needs and context.

There are many training options for you to inject well, but it is also about your approach to aesthetic medicine. With the many unique challenges of aesthetic practice and ways of working, it is also about management, business skills and embedding ethics at the heart of your private practice. This approach ensures holistic learning and a good standard of practice for patients across the industry. It raises the bar for aesthetics as a whole, which is crucial for the future of aesthetic medicine.”

Dr Pindolia, Head of medical training, Harley Academy

The CPD checklist

  • Certification – make sure the training you take is fully insured and is compliant with the most up to date guidelines outlined by Health Education England and the General Medical Council. CPD accredited courses can be checked for CPD certification with the relevant provider. However, many insurers, including Hamilton Fraser, will require that training for certain treatments, such as injectables, is carried out by a medical professional, regardless of whether it is CPD accredited. If in any doubt, check with your insurer before undertaking the training.
  • Documentation – medical regulatory bodies require collection of evidence of CPD as part of the appraisal and revalidation process. Be sure to log your CPD process using the relevant platform for your profession, for example the Physicians CPD app for doctors, the NMC website for nurses, or other online platforms like Clarity or Fourteen Fish
  • Identify priorities – when identifying your training priorities, think about your existing skills and experience, your customer needs and also how much time you are able to commit to CPD
  • Depth and breadth – when it comes to choosing the right training course, consider your skill level but also your interests. Opt for training covering a wide range of topics. Attending varied and balanced training not only increases your experience and skillset, but it is also more interesting and enjoyable
  • Know your limits – simply staying up to date is perfectly acceptable if you are not ready to advance in your clinical training
  • Quality vs quantity – the quality of the CPD you undertake is more valuable than the hours completed; shorter but more frequent bursts of training can often be more effective than longer sessions
  • Stay on track – keep a CPD log over time and update it regularly. Leaving it until the last minute before your appraisal can be stressful and unnecessary

Who is CPD for?

CPD is mandatory for all medical professionals as part of their codes of conduct. Recommended CPD requirements for each profession are outlined by the relevant governing body. For example, doctors’ recommended CPD requirements are mandated by the General Medical Council, nurses’ by the Royal College of Nursing and dentists’ by the General Dental Council.

While doctors and nurses need to submit their CPD learning documentation for assessment annually, dentists are only required to do this every five years as part of an Enhanced CPD scheme.

As already mentioned, the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) is campaigning for the Government to mandate specific qualifications, education and training requirements for all aesthetic practitioners as part of its 10 point plan. The JCCP stipulates that registrants must demonstrate a minimum of 50 hours of CPD learning per year.

“It is essential for all practitioners to continue their learning and professional development. A great way to do this is to access CPD certified courses, conferences and articles. Consider courses outside of your comfort zone to broaden your repertoire of knowledge- such as a cadaver course or complications masterclass. As part of our Level 7 course, we provide our delegates with ongoing support and learning with CPD material. It’s our responsibility as their provider to keep them up to date and to continuously challenge their learning.”

Dr Chadha from Acquisition Aesthetics

Where do I access CPD training?

“Most of your initial learning will be around anatomy, consultation and treatments. This depth is fine, just remember that breadth (a variety of CPD topics) is important too. Depending on what you are looking for, there are various places aesthetic practitioners can earn CPD points.”

Dr Pindolia, Head of medical training, Harley Academy

These include:

  • Training providers – providers such as Acquisition Aesthetics and Harley Academy offer facial aesthetics training, Botox and filler training and cosmetic dermatology courses to name a few. In addition, practitioners can also access CPD-accredited resources online, covering the latest techniques and technology in aesthetics
  • Medical journals – useful for peer-reviewed articles; an easy way to search these and keep on top of the latest releases is to make a keyword search, such as “aesthetic medicine” or “dermal filler”, in Google Scholar. You can also subscribe to Google Alerts and specific journals’ newsletters which will tell you when relevant new research is published
  • Industry-centred publications – in addition to the educational content in trade magazines such as Aesthetics Journal, Aesthetic Medicine and Consulting Room, you can find a lot of interesting events, conferences, courses and webinars advertised here
  • Industry bodies’ websites – it is worth bookmarking the websites for the main bodies, including the General Medical Council, British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, the British Dental Journal and the JCCP to stay up to date with the latest regulations and training requirements depending on your specialist area
  • Comma (a social networking platform for the medical aesthetics community) – here you can take part in polls, education Q&As, webinars, read news articles and research information; you can also access the Comma Library where you can clock up a full complement of CPD points-worth of live treatment demonstrations

Beautiful young woman taking notes while learning from home

What are the different types of CPD?

There is no nationally agreed framework for CPD in the aesthetics sector for practitioners, and the JCCP is working with UK CPD organisations and insurance companies such as Hamilton Fraser, to enhance the standard of ‘updated’ skills, knowledge and competence training provided and advertised to make sure that practitioners remain safe and ‘fit for purpose’.

“You can earn CPD points for anything that is considered education and can be shown to involve ‘active learning’. This has a wide scope of application from hands-on training courses and attending lectures or conferences, to watching a webinar or reading peer-reviewed research articles.”

Dr Pindolia, Head of medical training, Harley Academy

There are three types of CPD learning:

  1. Structured/active learning – this involves active participation-based study. It includes clinical training courses ranging from CPD-certified foundation courses to advanced qualifications, like the Level 7 Certificate and ‘masterclass’ courses, as well as attendance at demonstrations, seminars, lectures and e-learning courses/webinars, or participation at accredited events or conferences. Structured learning includes business and managerial-related courses, such as Hamilton Fraser’s CPD-accredited Aesthetic Business Conference.
  2. Reflective/passive learning – this refers to one directional learning that doesn’t involve participant interaction. This could include for example reading relevant news articles, listening to podcasts or reading case studies. Some informal meetings can also be applied to reflective learning, but this must be in line with the individual’s CPD plan
  3. Self-directed/unstructured learning – this includes unaccompanied CPD activities such as reading online and print documents and articles from relevant publications, expert industry journals or magazines

Most aesthetic practitioners will be earning CPD points without necessarily realising it, but it is important to make sure that you record all activities and keep a track of your annual CPD activities on a CPD record form that corresponds with the learning outcomes and practical applications of your professional body or association. If you attend a CPD recognised course, event, seminar, or workshop you may also receive a CPD certificate of attendance.

CPD evolves with you

“The beauty of aesthetics is opening yourself up to new ideas and opportunities, reinforcing existing training and constantly adding to your knowledge bank in order to finesse your approach as a specialist.” She adds, “Remember, CPD evolves with you. Part of the cycle of CPD is self-evaluation – both from a personal and professional perspective. Reflect on your learning to inspire your next steps.”

Dr Pindolia, Head of medical training, Harley Academy

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