ISO Certification & Aesthetics …
towards better standards
A new direction in education and training to facilitate higher standards and ultimately a better treatment pathway for the general public.
Higher standards in education and training are the guiding principles of ATAI. You may have heard us talking about a new direction in aesthetic education and the mentioning of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). Founded in 1947 it provides frameworks for quality assurance of people and organisations. Its sole purpose is to make sure products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.
Regulated qualifications provided by awarding bodies such as IQ, ITEC/VTCT, and CIBTAC provide for a quality qualification as the course has to meet a robust educational standard. However, there is no guarantee that the delivering educational institution is providing an educational experience matching the high nature of the regulated qualification. While many colleges do provide a sound education, there is no audit trail that the college is adhering to any set standard.
Once a student has passed their exams and awarded the qualification there is no guarantee that the newly qualified person will now continue to operate professionally. Moreover, they are now granted a qualification for life.
The ISO standard sets to bring accountability to these processes that are open to interpretation and abuse.
ISO 17065: This is the recognised standard for service providers, including aesthetic training providers. In the case of delivering qualifications, colleges have to adhere to a strict code of practice and operational procedures designed through the lens of quality assurance. Collages are vetted, audited, and on an ongoing basis for making sure standards are maintained. Unlike standard regulated courses where learner materials case studies, and alike are checked randomly, one hundred per cent of all material produced during the students certified learning pathway are audited.
ISO 17024: This is the recognised standard for the certification of persons, including aesthetic practitioners. Once a learner is granted their qualification, they now have to maintain a level of accountability to have their qualification recertified. Recertification might be for instance every three years; learners have to submit treatment evidence and prove they are maintaining Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In addition, demonstrating they are maintaining ethical standards which includes criteria like providing proof of professional indemnity insurance.
Worldwide the beauty sector is unregulated, unlike nurses for instance that in Ireland have the NMBI that provides a level of accountability to reduce and punish unethical practice. Regulating the beauty industry while often requested, worldwide, has made no significant advancement. In the pursuit of safety for the general public and qualifications that can keep pace with advancements in technology, it has fallen on the industry to take matters into their own hands as it were. It also makes commercial sense for vested interest groups such as insurers in addition to rewarding those with higher levels of training and accountability.
Whilst policies and eligibility criteria vary widely, offering reduced insurance premiums for those with specific forms of training is a win-win situation for insurers and practitioners alike. The core purpose of training is to improve competence. With improved aesthetic competence there is a reduced risk of serious clinical issues arising, both during and after the treatment. With reduced risk comes the reduced probability of a claim being made- enabling the premium reduction. Training based reductions are, therefore, a model that is currently deployed within the sector and is likely to increase alongside the availability of appropriate training programmes. Recognised and regulated training programmes, therefore, have particular value as they provide the insurer with the reassurance that a set calibre of competency has been delivered- without the need for further evaluation.
The output of this process is that recipients of training based premium reductions will be placed at a commercial advantage when compared to those who have not received similar discounts, due to the knock-on effect; treatment pricing and uptake. This factor alone will support the establishment and maintenance of a successful career within the field. Should legislation later emerge that formalises the requirement for specific forms of training/ demonstrable competency, this commercial advantage will only increase owing to this requirement having already been met.
It is unfortunate that due to a lack of accountability and poor training that adverse outcomes for the general public have been far too common. The general public needs confidence that people are trained to a high standard when the aesthetic beauty sector has evolved into one predominantly propelled by technology. Awarding bodies that wish to produce qualifications for advanced modalities require an industry that operates ethically and professionally. Insurance companies need to know that claims due to poorly trained individuals are not the norm.
We believe that this new direction in training provides just the robust framework of accountability with quality assurance required to meet the technology-driven sector. You will find over the next two years that this direction in quality and accountability becomes the standard for aesthetic beauty and promoted by the majority of awarding bodies.