In the last couple of years, many parts of the skin care industry faced challenges and took on resources that were greatly unexpected. Education, in a kinetic-learning focused environment, was heavily impacted. When people are required to be separated, and therefore unable to get hands-on experience, they cannot continue to grow their knowledge base.
Online, virtual, tele-connecting – call it what you will, but the variety of courses and webinars available skyrocketed to epic proportions. As someone that has always loved the classroom, I will admit that I was hesitant at first. Enter the HydraFacial CONNECT Certification Program, a brand-new venture for the company known for its very recognizable treatment device. Curious, I grilled business representatives and colleagues about the potential opportunity to become one of the first 115 CONNECT Masters globally and got a resounding “absolutely” – to go for it.
After decades of post-graduate education, my standards of value sit at a very high threshold, so this really had to have everything. Speaking with the education team shed some more light into the trajectory of the course and their focus as a brand. First, it’s open to any licensed individual (aesthetician, nurse, doctor, and so on) and no HydraFacial account is required. This really struck me since many brands keep their trade secrets exclusive to account holders.
It's often difficult to determine the quality of education until you’ve poured a huge investment in, but I had high hopes for this course with the rise of brand-neutral curriculums becoming more popular. For anyone wondering, because I asked as well, the coursework is not HydraFacial-centric. Although, there are certainly key concepts and lessons derived from what they have cultivated as a company – and you can’t deny their rise to skin care stardom over the years. Becoming the best means learning from the best, right?
I began by uploading my license and a recommendation letter from my spa owner to gain access. An invite into a Zoom meeting with the HydraFacial education team came through where we went over course questions, who to troubleshoot with, and a breakdown of the overall project. I was also able to participate in an optional mentor-mentee program with a former Master for the occasional insight or confidence boost. My mentor was excellent; we facetimed a couple of times when my workflow plateaued and became quick internet friends. There is also a Facebook group filled with current and former students as well as the education team to help with technical issues or clarity. I’m really struck at the level of personal care that is taken with each new student.
The modules are arranged in a simple three-tiered pathway: Professional, Expert, and Master. Once a module is complete, you can move on to the next, easy-peasy. It is a go-at-your-own-pace experience meaning no timed portions, so it allows for some flexibility of your schedule. Each tier contains around 14 hours of coursework and a reading assignment. Between a full-time client schedule, a toddler, and the impending holiday season, it was a very tight squeeze. I found I had to do most of the videos and quizzes between clients, on my commute, and after bedtime, sometimes blocking off more time to finish bigger assignments. I even downloaded the assigned books on Audible to save me some time.
Let’s get down to the bread and butter: the coursework. If you’ve ever wanted a foundational class to touch on nearly every topic (Treatment fundamentals? Check. Ingredients? You bet. Social Media? Absolutely. Factoring in advanced therapies, business concepts, selling strategies, networking, and even event planning all directly from masterminds in the industry? Coming right up), – this is what comprehensive looks like. Each module builds on and expands from the last to create that natural growth. Throughout, Masters-in-training are asked to submit quizzes, fill in templates, take videos and photos, and create our own marketing materials.
The one big difference throughout this process is the live graders – actual people that assess your coursework and either pass or provide feedback, so it can be corrected and resubmitted. You can also redo assignments as much as necessary.
The assessments will drive you to go beyond your comfort zone because it allows you to take on things you may have been putting off or give insight into dynamics that may have not been working in the past. As a seasoned professional, some of the information was standard but a great refresher on core concepts. Other topics were projects I had put on the backburner to investigate later, so it saved me many hours of my own research and trial time. This all culminated in a master-level project where you had the choice of three different routes. Think of this as the thesis to your hours of theory and practical.
The reward to completion is not only newfound knowledge or the title of a CONNECT Certified Master graduate but an invite to the bi-annual Master Meeting at the HydraFacial Long Beach Experience Center. This two-day mastermind of fellow Master alumni had exclusive talks from executives and special guests, a showering of gifts and swag, and featured a tour of the HydraFacial production warehouse – just to name a few of the highlights.
After a chance to take it all in, I realized I made some new connections, got to see California for the first time, grew my online presence, revamped my consultation strategy, and reignited some projects all from taking a certification course. In a world of rapidly evolving online skin care education, ask yourself what real value you are getting for the time you are putting in – make it worth it.