A few days ago the first specialists in medical cosmetics graduated from Medical College - Varna with an average score excellent 5:50. We are discussing the perspectives for professional training in medical cosmetics in our country with Assoc. Prof. Ilko Bakardzhiev, a dermatologist and lecturer at "Rehabilitation and Medical Cosmetics" Training and Research Sector.
Assoc. Prof. Bakardzhiev, what is the place of the profession of Medical Cosmetician in the educational system of our country?
Nowadays the general and specialized training, related to the holistic attitude to beauty and health, becomes much more important in the educational institutions. The state educational requirements for acquiring the profession of Cosmetician were regulated by Ordinance №8 / 5.02.2010 of the Ministry of Education and Science. It systematizes the general, branch and specific compulsory professional training. The Ordinance defines the educational entry level, the profile of the profession, the training objectives, the assessment during and at the completion of the training.
What kind of activities can be performed by medical cosmeticians according to the state educational requirements?
These are basic cosmetic procedures and knowledge of the products and methods used in the cosmetic practice, types of cosmetic care of body and face skin. They are targeted at several areas: client consultation, skin diagnosis, performing basic cosmetic procedures (cleaning, exfoliation, extraction, application of cosmetics, massage).
Medical cosmeticians can work in a beauty parlor, either independently or in a team, in a salon or beauty centre, in dermatological, dermato-cosmetic and physicotherapeutic centres, plastic (aesthetic, cosmetic) surgery clinics, pharmacies, drugstores and perfumeries, balneological, wellness, SPA and thalassotherapy centres, home-based beauty services and others. They can be marketing sales experts at cosmetic and balneological companies, TV and image consultants, practice teachers in vocational cosmetics secondary schools.
There are more than 500 cosmetic studios in Varna according to unofficial statistics. To what extend do you think one can rely on the professional training and competence of the practitioners?
Specialization in the field of general cosmetics requires the need for profiled knowledge and skills. Medical cosmetics takes a growing share of the therapeutic arsenal in dermatology and skin care. This suggests a new concept on the training of professionals who provide consultation and beauty services, either independently or working in teams with other health professionals. This is how the training in Medical cosmetics became necessary – firstly, at Medical College - Sofia and since 2011 at Medical College - Varna. The educational degree is Professional Bachelor and the period of study is 3 years long (6 semesters, the last one being pre-diploma internship).
Undoubtedly, the organization of cosmetics courses, which very often last just a few weeks, even at licensed centres, cannot meet the modern requirements for qualified cosmeticians. We cannot compare the educational level and extensive amount of knowledge and skills that students acquire at the college with the knowledge and skills obtained during such courses. Furthermore, there are no single training standards and criteria for monitoring the preparation of students. The tendency of medical cosmetics training to be conducted in the sphere of higher medical education is scientifically and practically justified and economically relevant.
Could you tell us what the training of medical cosmeticians at Medical College – Varna includes?
The structure of Medical Cosmetics Curriculum is consistent with the Single State Requirements for Medical Colleges in Regulated Professions. It is required practical training to take not less than 51% of the total workload. The pre-diploma internship lasts 600 hours, and each subject includes lecture and practical training forms. The compulsory training courses are focused on fundamental knowledge of human physiology and health, on medical aspects of cosmetic care and the innovations in the field of cosmetology, dermatology, plastic and aesthetic surgery. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to include elective and optional courses in their training, depending on their preferences and personal career interests. The main areas are dermatology and medical cosmetics which are the basis of the state exams (practical and theoretical examination). The total workload of compulsory subjects and practical training is more than 2000 hours. It fully meets the international requirements for accreditation (CIDESCO), which require at least 1 200 hours of practical and theoretical training, followed by 600 hours of independent practice. The requirement stipulating lecturers in the basic subjects to be persons with an academic rank ensures the innovation of the knowledge taught. The monitoring and evaluation system at the higher school guarantees the quality of training.
What is the future of the profession of medical cosmetician according to you?
The graduate of medical cosmetics has the highest level (at this stage) of professional and practical preparation. This implies a higher quality of the provided cosmetic services and procedures, more reliability in the medical cosmetic manipulations.
The desire to be served by a certified specialist with medical knowledge and excellent practical training is a natural desire of every potential client. Therefore, the efforts of the professionals in the field of medical cosmetics should be aimed at ranking it among the other medical professions. Furthermore, I think, it is quite natural, in the near future, the professionals who have completed the highest level of education to replace the practising at the moment cosmeticians, who have taken a course lasting several days.
What would you like to wish the newly graduated medical cosmeticians?
First of all, I would like to underline the fact that 77% of students of the first class of medical cosmeticians at Medical College -Varna have achieved an excellent final score– higher than 5.50. Moreover, one of the graduates is going to become a lecturer after passing a competition examination. I would like to wish all these young people to have the knowledge, and they certainly have it, and to apply it, to be leading personalities and names in medical cosmetics and spread the fame of Medical University - Varna.
An interview by Darina Velcheva