If you’re one of the many people considering a career move into the practice of aesthetic medicine, there are many factors to consider and a well-defined path that must be followed in order to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner.
In general, the benefits of a career as an aesthetic nurse practitioner include a generous salary and regular hours, as well as comparably less stress than you’ll find in many other nursing specialties. In addition to all this, depending on the state you work in, it has the added benefit of potentially allowing you to own your own medical aesthetics practice.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is an aesthetic nurse practitioner?
Also known as cosmetic nurses, aesthetic nurses are registered nurses who have received specialized training in aesthetic and cosmetic services. Aesthetic nurses are qualified to provide a variety of services to patients, including photo facials, injection of Botox neurotoxin and dermal fillers, tattoo removal, dermabrasion, and non-surgical body contouring, among others.
Aesthetic nurses generally work in a clinic, medical spa, private office, or outpatient surgery facility, and unlike the plastic surgery nurse, aesthetic nurses are typically involved primarily in in-office, non-invasive cosmetic procedures—not in surgical procedures.
Some responsibilities of the aesthetic nurse, in addition to those above, include:
- Consulting with patients, including scheduling, interviewing, and medical screening prior to services being provided
- Performing pre and post-operative care
- In many states, injecting dermal fillers and Botox neurotoxin
- Examination of skin to assess both aging and other health problems
- Preparation and sterilization of instruments
- Assisting the physician with procedures
As opposed to aesthetic nurses, aesthetic nurse practitioners may often be in charge of virtually every aspect of the practice, be it a medical spa or another type of clinic or outpatient facility.
Some aesthetic nurse practitioners may own their own facilities, depending on local state regulations. For these nurse practitioners, daily tasks may include everything from confirming appointments to initial consultations to aesthetic procedures themselves.
How to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner
There are a number of steps in the process of becoming an aesthetic nurse practitioner. These steps include:
- Earning a registered nursing degree, either through a two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
- Pass the NCLEX-RN in your individual state.
- Gain at least 2 years’ experience working in core competencies with a board-certified physician.
- Earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or higher may advance to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner.
- Become certified in aesthetic procedures through a certification course.
Those who choose to become a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist must also be recertified every three years. Requirements for recertification include 45 contact hours with a minimum of two hours specifically related to patient safety and a minimum of 30 contact hours in any combination of at least one or more of the following core specialties: Plastic/Aesthetic Surgery; Ophthalmology; Dermatology; and Facial Plastic Surgery.
The general timeline for becoming a cosmetic/aesthetic nurse is approximately 4-7 years (depending upon the type of degree obtained and length of time spent passing the NCLEX-RN).
Growth in the field of cosmetic and aesthetic services is expected to continue in the coming years, and nursing jobs, in general, are projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 12% by the year 2028.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics places the median salary of aesthetic nurses at $71,730 annually, though this amount can vary greatly depending upon geographical location, degrees and certifications held, experience, and other factors. According to ZipRecruiter, salaries can range from $69,000 to $99,500, with a ceiling as high as $124,000.
Why become an aesthetic nurse practitioner?
All nurse practitioners share the desire to help or improve the quality of life of others, but not all specialties are suited to all individuals. Some individuals might thrive on the high-stakes adrenaline rush of an emergency medicine environment, while others may find the stress of such a specialty to be detrimental to their overall health or family life.
Aesthetic nursing offers highly trained nurses the opportunity to spend more time with each patient and build a relationship with repeat patients. Aesthetic nurses play a vital role in helping their patients to feel better about themselves. The resulting benefits, for both nurses and patients, can be life-altering.
If you’re ready to explore aesthetic nursing, take a look at our virtual course offerings!