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Advanced Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine 
90571  Advanced Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine 
The Foundation for Professional Development 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Advanced Diploma  Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services  Promotive Health and Developmental Services 
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 07  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 1141/23  2021-07-01  2024-06-30 
2025-06-30   2028-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

This Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine (ADAM) aims to equip healthcare professionals across a variety of sub-disciplines within the medical field with a systematic understanding of modern thinking in aesthetic medicine whilst ensuring the integration of theory and practice, which make it particularly suitable for continuing professional development.

The purpose of this Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine is to provide potential new career path options for general practitioners and dermatologists, enhanced opportunities to upscale and improve related knowledge and skills and create possible options for flexibility of practice. Successful completion of the Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine will encourage the development of a dedicated, professional approach to related specialisation areas in the field of Aesthetic Medicine, whilst simultaneously ensuring that medical, ethical and industry- specific requirements, which address the needs of the general public as well as the practitioners within this rapidly growing industry, are met.

Various stakeholders in different sectors and industries of aesthetic medicine have identified the need for appropriately skilled practitioners in aesthetic medicine. Examples include:
  • Public awareness, that illustrates the demand for receiving treatment by appropriately qualified professionals.
  • The trade industry, that is in need of skilled professionals to reduce potential side effects and complications resulting from the use of their products/equipment, as well as the need to optimise results.
  • Regulatory and related health care bodies, which ensure compliance of minimum health, medical and medico-legal standards in order to protect patient and physician safety and improve satisfaction.

    On completion of this qualification, practitioners will be able to:
  • Apply a holistic approach to health and wellbeing through external aesthetic medical protocols.
  • Utilise specialised tools and equipment safely and effectively to assist those patients who require cosmetic assistance, whether from disfigurement or the effects of ageing.

    Since potential learners are qualified medical practitioners, the purpose and characteristics of this qualification provide intellectual enrichment, which promote the possibility of a change in career path by means of the intensive, focussed and applied specialisation required by current market and regulatory body needs.

    The Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine has been developed to address the need of a specific target population of healthcare professionals, such as general practitioners and dermatologists practicing aesthetic medicine on a regular basis, and other persons with at least general practitioner qualifications, who have identified their need to further develop their aesthetic medicine knowledge and skills pertaining to aesthetic medicine applications. Successful completion of this qualification will encourage the development of a dedicated, professional approach to related specialisation areas in the field of Aesthetic Medicine whilst simultaneously ensuring that medical, ethical and industry-specific requirements are met that address the needs of the general public as well as the practitioners within this rapidly growing industry.

    Currently a definite gap exists in the formal education domain that provides for academically sound and scientific training programmes that adhere to ethical standards. This qualification aims to encompass the comprehensive knowledge and skills required for successful practice of Aesthetic Medicine.

    The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) clearly states that the field of cosmetic medicine is not confined to any specialty, unlike the field of cosmetic surgery. The need exists within this industry to cover Aesthetic Medicine in a comprehensive manner that enables an increase in relevant knowledge, develops skills and provides for specific assessment.

    This Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine has been approved and endorsed by the Aesthetic and Anti-ageing Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA). The AAMSSA is a non-profit-making society that represents doctors of various specialties involved in aesthetic medicine. The ExCo of the society is represented by general practitioners of each Province and includes representative specialists of plastic surgery and dermatology. The AAMSSA supports this intention to enhance the level of education of doctors in aesthetic medicine to further enhance the regulation, good practice and control of this field of medicine.

    The envisaged target group of learners comprise healthcare professionals who are employed full -time, and have a minimum qualification of a MBCHB; they therefore opt for part time studies as offered in the distance delivery mode. The purpose and characteristics of this programme provide intellectual enrichment and enable possibilities of a change in career path by means of intensive, focussed and applied specialisation as required by current market and regulatory body needs.

    In order to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the needs of the patient undergoing aesthetic treatments and the needs of industry, this qualification aims to:
  • Meet and improve on the set academic standards for aesthetic medicine practitioners.
  • Improve the quality of knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals practising aesthetic medicine.

    Although various training workshops, short courses and in-house workshops are available on specific/selected topics related to aesthetic medicine, there is, at present, no accredited formal, complete, integrated programme that addresses the matter of aesthetic medicine in an integrated, complete manner. Generally, short courses and workshops only provide an overview of a specific topical matter relating to aesthetic medicine, which is then combined with demonstrations by an expert. In many cases, these workshops are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and focus specifically on identified products and brands. The need thus exists within this industry to offer Aesthetic Medicine in a comprehensive manner that provides increasing relevant knowledge and opportunities to develop the related required skills. 

    It is assumed that learners accessing this qualification are competent in communication and literacy skills at NQF Level 7 and are competent in the use of computers.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:
    Learners may provide evidence of prior learning for which they may receive credit towards the qualification. Such evidence may be presented in the form of portfolios or other forms of appropriate evidence which may include, verified accounts of previous relevant work done and performance records. Such individual cases will be subject to moderation by independent-assessors.

    Access to the Qualification:
    Prospective learners must be in possession of a recognised Bachelor of Medicine: Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) and be currently registered as a practising medical practitioner with the HPCSA. 


    All the Modules are at NQF Level 7 and are compulsory. 120 Credits must be obtained to be awarded the qualification.

    During the duration of the learning period, learners will be expected to attend workshops aimed at providing learners with opportunities to:
  • Gain further theoretical and practical knowledge from practising subject matter experts and facilitators.
  • Attend practical demonstrations of techniques relevant to specific procedures in order to enhance and evaluate their practical skills under expert supervision and guidance.

  • Applied Basic Medical Sciences (Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, Aesthetic Medical Pharmacology, Dermatology and Psychiatry), 20 Credits.
  • Integrating Ageing Pathology and Medico-legal Aspects (Nutrition, Endocrinology, Obesity Management, Anti-ageing Medicine, Medical Emergencies, Medico-legal aspects, Research and Ethics), 30 Credits.
  • Aesthetic Medicine and Related Procedures: (Art and Sculpting, Botulinum Toxin, Dermal Fillers, Chemical peels, Anti-aging Medicine and Pain Management), 35 Credits.
  • Aesthetic medicine and related procedures: (Lasers and Light Treatment, Sclerotherapy and Vein Treatment, Slimming/Cellulite Treatment, Mesotherapy, Hair Rejuvenation, Aesthetic Practice, Clinical Photography, Ethnic Science), 35 Credits. 

    1. Carry out a complete, holistic medical consultation on a potential patient who wishes to enhance appearance or seeks wellness management.
    2. Make an appropriate diagnosis that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the aetiological factors underlying the identified indications.
    3. Formulate a complete holistic treatment protocol for a patient with any given condition that could be managed within the practice of aesthetic medicine.
    4. Practice aesthetic medicine in an ethical, skilled and integrative method.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    All the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are addressed in this qualification. 

    The following Associated Assessment Criteria are applied in an integrative manner across all the Exit Level Outcomes:
    1. Discuss the importance of ethics and patient advocacy within the practice of aesthetic medicine and their importance in effective functioning as a member of a multi-professional healthcare team.
    2. Apply the principles of patient confidentiality at all times and ensure the security of patient records, including clinical photographs.
    3. Describe in detail the human anatomy, anatomical landmarks and related physiology relevant to aesthetic medicine.
    4. Explain the relevance of pathology in the practice of aesthetic medicine and give examples of possible pathological conditions which could occur following aesthetic medicine procedures.
    5. Discuss the microbiology applicable to aesthetic medicine practice and integrate microbiology knowledge and skills to ensure safe, effective aesthetic medicine practice.
    6. Explain basic pharmacological aspects specific to aesthetic medicine practice in terms of:
  • Mechanisms of action.
  • Safety margins.
  • Desired effects.
  • Unwanted/side effects.
  • Drug interactions.
  • Overdosing.
  • Allergies.
    7. Identify and describe relevant dermatological conditions applicable to aesthetic medicine for the effective management of affected patients.
  • Range of conditions includes: Dermatitis, viral, fungal and bacterial infections of the skin and underlying tissue, acne, urticaria, drug eruptions, benign and malignant skin tumours and alopecia.
    8. Integrate relevant psychiatric considerations within a holistic treatment protocol for a patient undergoing aesthetic medical treatment.
    9. Explain the relevance of the problem of obesity both nationally and internationally in terms of the multi-factorial nature of the problem and the management thereof.
    10. Explain the multi-factorial nature of a weight loss diet, integrate nutritional knowledge within the holistic management of obesity and formulate a basic eating plan for patients wanting to control their weight.
    11. Integrate knowledge of endocrinology within the holistic management of patients undergoing aesthetic medicine treatment.
    12. Describe the integrative, preventive and regenerative aspects of anti-aging therapy relevant to aesthetic medicine practice.
    13. Manage medical emergencies, such as angina, dyspnoea, syncope, cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, in the appropriate manner.
    14. Apply research knowledge and principles to select a specific type of trial, conduct research in the appropriate manner, list the relevant design features applicable to the use of a clinical trial protocol, write a Participant Information Leaflet (PIL) and a protocol and present the report in the required format.
    15. Describe in detail the various therapeutic procedures used in aesthetic medicine practice and include the considerations for and against the use of each.
  • Range of therapeutic procedures includes, but is not limited to: Infiltration of local anaesthesia; art and sculpting; Botulinum toxin infiltration; dermal filling; chemical peeling; laser and light treatment; sclerotherapy and vein treatment; slimming and cellulite treatment; mesotherapy; hair rejuvenation.
    16. Identify factors, including the relevant current legislation, that contribute towards running a successful aesthetic medical practice as a business.
    17. Implement photographic best practice principles to capture accurate clinical photographs of a patient to meet the needs of results' evaluation and medico-legal documentation.

    Integrated Assessment:
    The principles of integrated assessment are incorporated in this qualification to ensure that the specific purpose of the qualification is met, namely to equip medical practitioners with sufficient knowledge, skills and expertise to provide aesthetic medical treatment in an integrated and holistic manner.

    Competence is developed through a combination of self-study, group work and practica and workshop application. An integrated assessment approach forms an integral part of all the learning activities.

    Integrated assessment is evident through the following:
  • Collecting naturally-occurring evidence, e.g., case studies.
  • Assignments which collectively provide assessment opportunities of a number of Exit Level Outcomes.
  • As part of self-study, various integrated work related projects, which address both theoretical and practical assessment, must be completed.

    Formative assessment is ensured through the utilisation of a range of assessment methods and tools that support each other to assess total competence. Formative assessment will take place on a continuous basis in a simulated, contextual environment during the execution of the medical case studies. These case study tasks are both an important learning method and the primary source of evidence of the learner's competence.

    Formative assessment methods include the following:
  • Written assignments, e.g. review questions on theory.
  • Practical demonstration to learners relevant to specific aesthetic procedures and techniques.
  • Case studies that integrate a variety of learning outcome objectives.
  • Self, peer and subject matter expert reviews during Interactive workshops.

    The learner will be able to assess self and determine readiness for a summative assessment. Assessment criteria and rubrics are supplied in the study guides.

    Summative assessment consists of an integrated assignment. For the purpose of this assignment the learner will document various aesthetic medical indications and present these in a structured form. Assessment criteria will be provided to learners and will require successful completion of:
  • Patient assessment.
  • Correct diagnosis.
  • Aetiology of condition.
  • Pathological contributing factors and secondary causes.
  • Differential diagnosis.
  • Integrated treatment plan.
  • Informed consent of patient according to Regulations.
  • Prediction of possible side effects and/or complications from the treatment and management thereof. 

    Aesthetic Medicine is globally recognised as an established medical field.

    The Australasian College of Aesthetic Medicine, Sydney, Australia, offers the Diploma of Cosmetic Medicine.

    The overall objective of the qualification is to produce medical practitioners who are safe, skilled and competent in the management of all aspects of aesthetic medicine. It is open to registered medical practitioners. Candidates can access the Diploma training material via the online tutorials. Examination is held annually. The Diploma is awarded after all the following requirements have been met:
  • Successful completion of written an examination.
  • Successful completion of a Viva examination.
  • Submission of a Logbook of 100 cases.
  • Attendance at a three-day Clinical Workshop which is held annually and provides practical experience in Cosmetic Medicine procedures.
  • Completion of two years of full time equivalent experience in Cosmetic Medicine. This can be attained over a period and is the learner's responsibility to attain.
  • Two references by medical colleagues with details of the trainee's cosmetic medicine experience.
    The Logbook must be satisfactorily completed and submitted with application prior to the Viva Examination.

    Modules include:
  • Photoprotection.
  • Retinoids and topical agents for the ageing face.
  • Psychological issues.
  • Superficial peels.
  • Combination chemical peels.
  • Pigmentation of the face - evaluation and treatment.
  • Treatment of vascular lesions with laser.
  • Ablative facial skin resurfacing.
  • Sclerotherapy.
  • Treatment of acne.
  • Dermatology.
  • Complications and management of resurfacing.
  • Non-ablative lasers for skin rejuvenation.
  • Botulinum toxin.
  • Dermal fillers.
  • Liposuction of the face and microlipoinjection.
  • Hair transplantation techniques.
  • Hair removal.
  • Digital photography.
  • Patient information and consent forms.

    Trainees are required, during the period of their training, to present at least one paper at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian College of Aesthetic Medicine.

    Although the modules of the South African Advanced Diploma: Aesthetic Medicine are fewer, the content of the modules is very similar to the modules listed for the Australian qualification. The Australian qualification seems to require evidence more of practical application than does the South African one.

    United Kingdom:
    The University of Greenwich offers a Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine to those registered doctors, dentists or adult nurses already delivering aesthetic treatment.

    Aesthetic medicine has been defined by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as "a set of non-surgical clinical procedures which aims to rejuvenate the dermis and reverse the signs of the ageing process upon it". It also includes a similar set of procedures which address the dermal effects of pathologies and injuries, e.g. scarring and lypodystrophy.

  • Skin Care for Aesthetic Practice, 15 Credits.
  • Fundamentals of Effective Aesthetic Practice, 15 Credits.
  • Dermal Fillers, 30 Credits.
  • Chemical Denervation, 30 Credits.

    Optional modules to the value of 60 credits must be selected from:
  • Academic Preparation, 15 Credits.
  • Health Promotion, 15 Credits.
  • Healthy Nutrition, 15 Credits.
  • Introduction to Research Process, 15 Credits.
  • Research Methods in Health and Social Care, 15 Credits.
  • Portfolio (initial), 15 or 30 Credits.
  • Portfolio (advanced), 15 or 30 Credits.
  • Health and Social Care Ethics, 15 Credits.
  • Mentor Preparation, 15 Credits.
  • Health and Social Care and the Information Age, 15 Credits.

    Courses are offered online through e-learning (using virtual classrooms, chat rooms) with some laboratory-based skills assessments. This means that students can expand and consolidate their skills within their own clinical settings. Assessment for these specialist courses is by online submission and objective structured clinical examination at the University of Greenwich.

    Students are assessed through reflective essays, case studies, skills assessments, objective structured clinical examinations and a portfolio.

    The International Union of Aesthetic Medicine (UIME) is a global association representing various countries' societies of aesthetic medicine. The UIME focuses on global educational improvement in the field of aesthetic medicine. The UIME is currently busy with standardising guidelines of such courses. The UIME was consulted during the development of the University of Greenwich course and the preliminary guidelines were taken into consideration. In a meeting on 12 May 2011 in Beijing, China, this Advanced Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine was proposed for accreditation by the UIME. The accreditation process of all the submitted internationally will only be finalised in 2012. The UIME confirmed the huge demand for such formal trainings internationally.

    There is thus satisfactory evidence that this Advanced Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine compares favourably with best international practice. 

    This qualification articulates horizontally with various Advanced Diplomas in the various health sciences at NQF Level 7.

    This qualification articulates vertically with any relevant Professional Bachelor's Degree within the various health sciences at NQF Level 8. 

    Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this qualification must be registered and appointed by the provider according to existing moderation guidelines of the Higher Education Quality Committee. 

    The assessor or moderator must:
  • Be in possession of a Higher Education qualification that is relevant to the qualification being assessed at least one level higher than the qualification being assessed.
  • Be experienced in the areas specific to the qualification and should have prior assessor experience. 

  • NOTES 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. The Foundation for Professional Development 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.