Considering Becoming an Aesthetic Nurse? Here’s What You Need to Know

Nursing is a diverse and versatile field comprising many specialties, ranging from Neonatal Nurse to Clinical Nurse to Critical Care Nurse and many, many more. 

Choosing the right specialty for you can be a difficult process. Those who choose nursing as a profession generally have one thing in common: the desire to help or improve the quality of life for others. Exactly how you want to help is the question that has to be answered when choosing a specialty. 

And one specialty that might not immediately occur to prospective nurses is that of Aesthetic Nurse.

What is an Aesthetic Nurse?

Also known as Cosmetic Nurses, Aesthetic Nurses, as you might guess, are registered nurses with specialized training in aesthetic and cosmetic services. They’re qualified to provide a wide variety of services to patients, including photofacials, injection of Botox neurotoxin and dermal fillers, tattoo removal, dermabrasion, and non-surgical body contouring, among others.

As opposed to the high-stakes atmosphere experienced by the ICU or emergency nurse, the aesthetic nurse generally works in a medical spa, clinic, outpatient surgery facility, or private office. Unlike the plastic surgery nurse, aesthetic nurses are typically involved not in surgical procedures, but instead in in-office, non-invasive cosmetic 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 and surgery suites
  • Assisting the physician with procedures and surgeries


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.

Career outlook

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.

How to become an aesthetic nurse: Educational requirements

Steps toward becoming an aesthetic nurse 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
  • Successfully complete a Facial Aesthetic hands-on training course issued by a highly reputable and fully accredited educational organization
  • Optional: Earn Aesthetic Nurse credentials ( 6000 practical hours) through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board in order to become a Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse

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 type of degree obtained and length of time spent passing the NCLEX-RN). In addition, in keeping with the national push for nurses to advance their careers by earning advanced degrees, some nurses decide to earn their Master of Science in Nursing.

Aesthetic nurse practitioner

Those who earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or higher may advance to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner. 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.

Relevant resource: Where to Obtain RN Botox Certification

Why become an aesthetic nurse?

While prospective nurses all tend to share the desire to help or improve the quality of life of others, it’s also true that not all specialties are suited to all individuals. While some might thrive on the high-stakes adrenaline rush of an emergency medicine environment, others may become overwhelmed or 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 and build a relationship with repeat patients while playing a vital role in helping those 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