What is Cosmetic Nursing?

  • Article by:Health Career Center

What is Cosmetic Nursing?

Cosmetic Nursing focuses primarily on cosmetic and dermatologic procedures. Cosmetic Nurses assist physicians with various surgical procedures including breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty. Cosmetic Nurses are also responsible for performing or assisting with less invasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, laser hair removal, collagen replacement therapy, and chemical peels.

This nursing specialty centers around providing patients with the cosmetic or dermatologic procedures they either require for health reasons or opt to have performed for personal reasons.

What are the Job Functions of Cosmetic Nursing? 

Cosmetic Nursing encompasses a wide array of job functions and titles. Medical professionals interested in Cosmetic Nursing tend to pursue careers as Cosmetic Nurses, Aesthetic Nurse Specialists, Injection Specialists, Dermatology Nurses, or Plastic Surgery Nurses. Often, Cosmetic Nurses perform duties similar to that of a Dermatology Nurse, in that both careers deal directly with skin and appearance-related issues. However, the job responsibilities of a Cosmetic Nursing career usually differ in scope based on the areas of specialization and additional certification requirements. Some of the typical job functions of Cosmetic Nursing professions are:

  • Assessing skin aging or other skin-related health problems
  • Administering Botox injections, chemical peels, dermal fillers, and other non-invasive cosmetic procedures
  • Performing pre and post-operative care
  • Performing research to stay up-to-date on new procedures and protocols
  • Consulting with, screening, and scheduling patients
  • Assisting the Physician or Surgeon during various cosmetic surgeries and procedures
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments and operating rooms

Cosmetic Nurses work in a variety of settings such as, private practices, hospitals, clinics, dermatology offices, and medical spas directly under the supervision of a Physician, Plastic Surgeon, or Dermatologist.

How to Pursue a Career in Cosmetic Nursing:

Those interested in a career in Cosmetic Nursing must first earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from an accredited school. Next, graduates must complete the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain a Registered Nurse (RN) license, which is required to begin working in Cosmetic Nursing.

Once these initial requirements are completed, individuals then need at least two years of experience before they can practice. To do so, many RNs apply to be an assistant to a Cosmetic Nurse, learning first-hand the job functions related to this role. After operating in this role for a minimum of two years, RNs can begin to practice as a Cosmetic Nurse. 

Further certification is also an option for Cosmetic Nurses looking to stand out in the job application process or take on additional job responsibilities. To receive the specialty certification for Cosmetic Nursing, interested individuals must pass the Certified Aesthetics Nurse Specialist (CANS) Exam available through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB). To maintain certification, those who pass the exam must recertify every three years by accruing 45 hours of continuing education related to the nursing specialty.

The Job Outlook for Cosmetic Nursing: 

Demand for plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures continues to grow, and services are becoming more affordable and commonplace. As a result, the demand for medical professionals in Cosmetic Nursing is increasing as well. Thus, the future looks bright for those interested in a career as a Cosmetic or Dermatology Nurse.

According to the Bureau of Labor Services (BLS), the employment of RNs is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. The average salary for RNs in 2015 was $67,490 according to the BLS. However, those with additional certification and more experience can make over $100,000 annually.

Considering the rising demand for Cosmetic Nursing professionals and the competitive salaries offered, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in this nursing specialty. Click here to browse current Cosmetic Nursing positions available throughout the U.S.