Aesthetic Nurse: Job Description, Salary, and How to Become One

If you desire to work in a non-emergent healthcare setting and support patients to feel more confident in their skin, consider becoming an aesthetic nurse. Articles Careers

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Aesthetic nurses deeply understand facial anatomy, skin conditions, and various aesthetic procedures. Their primary goal is to help patients achieve their desired cosmetic outcomes while prioritizing patient safety and well-being.

For those considering a career in this specialization, we've compiled the job description, responsibilities, salary expectations, and steps to becoming one.

Aesthetic Nurse Job Description

An aesthetic or cosmetic nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who works in the aesthetic medicine field. They mainly focus on assisting and providing care for patients that undergo dermatological or aesthetic procedures for medical or personal reasons. They're familiar with specific technology related to cosmetology and dermatology, and they often work under the guidance of a cosmetologist or dermatologist.

There are various aesthetic treatments an aesthetic nurse can provide in their role, including:

  • Laser facial nurse: A laser facial nurse specializes in laser treatments that address skin discoloration and reduce acne scarring.
  • Aesthetic nurse injector: An injectables nurse administers injections like Botox or dermal fillers to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or refine certain areas of the face.
  • Laser hair removal nurse: A laser hair removal nurse uses laser technology to remove unwanted hair from various body areas and provides aftercare instructions.
  • Tattoo removal nurse: A tattoo removal nurse uses laser technology to remove unwanted tattoos from patients' skin and explains the risks of these treatments.
  • Non-surgical body treatment nurse: This kind of aesthetic nurse assists with various treatments, including radiofrequency for cellulite reduction.
  • Chemical peel nurse: A chemical peel nurse applies chemical peels to patients' skin to help them achieve smoother or more youthful-looking skin.

Related: 10 Fastest Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs in 2023

Aesthetic nurses usually work in a non-hospital setting where patients don't usually need constant monitoring and observation:

  • Outpatient medical clinics
  • Plastic surgery centers
  • Private physician's offices
  • Medical spas
  • Dermatologist's offices

The benefits of a nursing career in aesthetics include a less stressful work environment, a more flexible schedule, numerous job opportunities, and increased earning potential.

Aesthetic nurses care for patients who are healthy and medically stable. Their workload is less heavy and physically demanding, and they also work daytime hours without night shifts.

With the increasing growth in the aesthetic industry, the demand for aesthetic nurses will only continue to grow.

Aesthetic Nurse Responsibilities

The responsibilities of an aesthetic nurse include:

  • Administering non-invasive, in-office cosmetic procedures, including dermal fillers, chemical peels, micro-needling, Botox injections, and anti-wrinkle injections
  • Preparing patients for surgical procedures (e.g. liposuction, body contouring) and conducting post-operative care
  • Researching new procedures and protocols to stay up-to-date
  • Assessing patient's skin-related health problems
  • Assisting surgeons or physicians with cosmetic surgeries and procedures
  • Scheduling appointments and screening patients
  • Preparing treatment rooms and sterilizing medical tools
  • Maintain accurate and detailed documentation of patient assessments, treatment plans, procedures performed, and post-procedure process
  • Prioritize patient safety and follow strict infection control protocols to prevent the transmission of infections during procedures

These responsibilities may vary depending on the setting where an aesthetic nurse practices, their scope of work as defined by local regulations, and their experience level.

Aesthetic Nurse Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an aesthetic nurse is $89,970 per year. The amount they earn may vary depending on their location and employer. The years of experience they have can also influence their earning potential. Additionally, many employers factor the level of education into salary considerations.

Highest Paying Cities for Aesthetic Nurses

  • Sunnyvale, CA: $112,227
  • Livermore, CA: $109,343
  • Santa Rosa, CA: 108,696
  • Dimondale, MI: $108,151
  • Cambridge, MA: $105,606

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have job outlook information specifically for aesthetic nurses; it has data for registered nurses and skin care specialists. Registered nurses have an expected job growth of 6% between 2021 and 2031, while skin care specialists have an expected job growth of 17% during the same period. Both of these growth rates are higher than the average growth rate of 5% for all occupations, which means you may find good job stability if you become an aesthetic nurse.

While aesthetic nurses are RNs, they may obtain further education, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or higher, to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner.

How to Become an Aesthetic Nurse

The educational requirements to become an aesthetic nurse begin with an undergraduate education. You can pursue an associate degree in nursing (ADN) to complete your education within two years. You can also pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) to obtain more thorough training and education, which takes four years to complete. 

During any nursing program, you can expect to take courses that cover topics like patient care, clinical study, psychology, anatomy and physiology, nursing research, pharmacology, and health care policy. Either degree type can help you meet the National Council Licensure Examination requirements for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Related: 10 Best Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs in 2023

After you complete your education, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your RN license. This exam tests nursing candidates' knowledge of specific nursing procedures and safety protocols. Passing this test can show your readiness to administer care and assist physicians in a clinical setting safely.

You can gain work experience as an RN to improve your chances of qualifying for an aesthetic nurse position and become an assistant to an aesthetic nurse at a medical spa center or outpatient plastic surgery center. You may also consider gaining experience as a nurse under a board-certified physician specializing in other forms of surgery if you can't find a position in cosmetic nursing immediately.

Certification as a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) is voluntary, but some employers may prefer candidates with this credential as it shows your competence in carrying out cosmetic procedures. You can obtain this certification through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB). Renewal of the CANS credential is required every three years while continuing education is required to maintain RN licensure.

Editorial Team / Admin

Carly Elliott has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice Palliative Care and Home Health.

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