For information only. Not meant as advice in any form. Please consult your medical professional or lawyer.
Whether in a healthcare or aesthetic practice setting, nurses are an important part of the staff that provides exceptional support to the medical team. In particular, cosmetic nurses or nurse estheticians are licensed specialists who can offer advanced services and noninvasive procedures to improve the health and appearance of the skin. It’s a great career option for anyone who’s passionate about skin care and helping people.
So what’s the process for becoming a licensed aesthetician nurse practitioner? First, you must have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and become a registered nurse. Afterward, you’ll take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam before you can start specialized aesthetic nursing training. At least 2 years or 1,000 hours of aesthetic nurse practice is needed to qualify for certification from the Plastic Surgery Nursing Certification Board.
The beauty industry has seen massive growth over the past few years, driven by the increasing demand for cosmetic procedures and skin care treatments. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s at least a 17% projected growth for employment of estheticians and at least 6% for registered nurses in the next ten years.
Even though nursing is already a stable and rewarding career path for most individuals, aesthetic nurses seem to have more opportunities for professional growth. Additionally, you have the chance to make more income when you choose to work as a nurse aesthetician. Based on ZipRecruiter, an average salary of a registered nurse is about $76,289, while an aesthetic nurse can earn at least $88,341 per year.
If you’re interested in taking your nursing profession further, taking up a medical aesthetics training course is one of the best steps you can take. With an additional background in aesthetic medicine, you can become a licensed esthetician nurse and administer advanced medical and aesthetic treatments.
Unlike general aestheticians, a nurse esthetician has more knowledge in the medical field of skin rejuvenation and body treatments. They can perform specialized procedures such as Botox, dermal filler injections, advanced chemical peel treatments, microneedling, laser hair removal, intense pulsed light therapy, and nonsurgical body contouring.
There’s not much difference between the steps you need to take to become a registered nurse and an aesthetic nurse practitioner. The process may take several years to complete but the wait will definitely be worth it once you receive your nurse esthetician license. Here’s an overview of what you need to become a nurse esthetician:
Unlike estheticians who don’t need a college degree before starting their beauty careers, aesthetic nurses should have completed their formal education and obtained their nursing degree.
If you want to pursue a cosmetic nursing profession, you can earn a licensed practicing nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) accreditation from a one-year program. You can also attain a registered nurse license by finishing a two-year Associate Nursing Degree or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Once you have your registered nurse degree, you need to take the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN. This test evaluates your nursing knowledge, skills, and competency before you can work as an entry-level nurse in a medical or cosmetic setting. If you received the LPN or LVN accreditation, the exam you must take is the NCLEX-PN to determine if you’re fit to practice cosmetic nursing.
After passing the licensing exam, you can begin working as a cosmetic nurse assistant to a licensed physician, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon. This will serve as your hands-on training where you can learn and practice the roles and responsibilities of a nurse esthetician.
Most aspiring aesthetic nurses need at least 2 years of work experience or 1000 hours of practical training in any core competency such as dermatology, facial plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, or ophthalmology.
To further showcase your expertise as an aesthetic nurse, you may apply for additional accreditation from the Plastic Nursing Certification Board. This certification is optional and most nurse estheticians can practice without it, however, it may add value to your resume and help you stand out from other practitioners.
Here are the criteria to qualify for the Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist credential from the PNCB:
If you meet the qualifications, you’ll have to take a certification exam that covers general topics about aesthetics such as cosmetic injectables, skin care, laser treatment, and light therapy. The certification must be renewed every three years so you can continue working as an aesthetic nurse specialist.
There’s no shortcut to becoming a professional nurse esthetician. Generally, the timeline for aspiring aesthetic nurse practitioners can take about 4 to 7 years depending on the length of education and type of degree attained.
Your performance on the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam may also affect your projected career timeline. Some individuals can easily pass the test and become licensed nurses, while others may have to retake the exam. If you want to apply for retesting, you need to wait 45 days after your first take. You can take the exam up to 8 times a year and you must pass the NCLEX within 3 years of finishing nursing school.
The most common way to get nurse esthetician training is to gain first-hand experience in a medical or clinical setting. You can directly work under a physician and shadow them to learn the ins and outs of aesthetic nursing. During your training, you may also be allowed to practice on clients and perform aesthetic treatments. Some of the common work environments where you can train as an esthetic nurse:
In addition to applying for apprenticeships, there are also institutions that offer aesthetic nursing training programs and specialized certification courses. While it’s not required, getting a certification in a specific cosmetic procedure can help improve your skills and open more career opportunities in the industry. Some of the common additional certifications that you can get to increase your nurse esthetician experience are:
Nurse estheticians primarily help clients to enhance their appearance by evaluating their skin conditions and giving recommendations for appropriate treatments. Most of the time, they assist a medical professional with administering procedures but in some states, they can also provide treatments independently.
Aside from providing skin care services and treatments, a nurse esthetician is also responsible for a variety of tasks such as:
There’s no easy way to be an accomplished nurse esthetician. It takes a lot of investment, career planning, and training to gain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the profession. If you’re considering switching to a cosmetic nursing career, you can start by checking out the training courses at FACE Med Store.
We offer online modules that cover a wide range of topics, such as neuromodulator injections, dermal fillers, laser resurfacing, and skin care therapy. We also provide high-quality medical tools and instruments to our partner medical spas and clinics. Contact us today to learn more about our courses or inquire about our stocks.