Careers Paths

How Do Nurse Estheticians Work? Definition, Qualifications, and Pay

A profession as a nurse esthetician mixes a love of giving patients medical attention with satisfaction in enhancing their physical beauty. In addition to caring for burn victims, aesthetic nurses can look after patients before, during, and after plastic surgery. You can decide if this is the type of nursing that is suited for you by knowing the role. In this post, you will learn what a nurse esthetician is, the medical treatments they provide, the skills that are necessary for the position, and how to become one.

What exactly is a nurse esthetician?

A nurse who performs a range of nonsurgical aesthetic operations in a clinical or medical context is known as a nurse esthetician. The terms “esthetic nurses,” “aesthetic nurses,” and “cosmetic nurses” may be used to describe them. They can carry out sophisticated, noninvasive medical and cosmetic operations like dermabrasion, tattoo removal, and dermal filler injections because they are registered nurses. They could be employed by a plastic surgery office, medical spa, or dermatological facility. Their main objective is to assist patients in identifying and achieving their ideal personal appearance outcomes.

What is the role of a nurse esthetician?

A comprehensive range of services is offered to patients by nurse estheticians. They may carry out specific treatments for patients or spa patrons in addition to helping medical professionals such as doctors and plastic surgeons with various operations. The following are examples of nurse estheticians’ duties:

  • Giving injections of fillers, collagen, and other substances such as Botox
  • Delivering skin treatments such as chemical peels, photo facials, and light therapy
  • Conducting laser procedures for skin treatments and hair removal
  • Assessing the health problems associated with the skin of patients
  • Taking care of patients before or after surgery
  • Supporting surgeons or physicians during cosmetic procedures
  • Cleaning and preparing treatment rooms, sterilizing medical equipment
  • Patient screening before medical treatments
  • Scheduling consultations and responding to inquiries regarding future cosmetic treatments
  • Studying and researching fresh cosmetic techniques and skin care remedies

The other duties of nurse estheticians may vary based on the workplace and the patients they treat, however, they frequently include:

Carrying out procedures

The provision of various cosmetic surgical treatments is among the key duties of nurse estheticians. The following are a few of the procedures that nurse estheticians most frequently perform:

  • Photofacials
  • Fillers and Botox
  • Microneedling
  • Dermabrasion
  • Treatments for acne
  • Tattoo removal
  • Chemical exfoliants
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Liposuction
  • Non-invasive body sculpting
  • Patient consultation

Nurse estheticians may also discuss with their patients before, during, and after procedures to ensure that they receive the best possible care. They might assess the issues raised by their patients, talk about possible treatments, formulate care plans, and offer advice on follow-up and maintenance.

Helping plastic surgeons

Nurse estheticians may occasionally help plastic surgeons with difficult surgical operations. They might update patient records, educate doctors on cases, get patients ready for surgery, help with the operation, and help with aftercare.

Equipment upkeep

Maintenance of medical equipment is a crucial duty of nurse estheticians. They might stock surgical and examination chambers with instruments, anesthetics, and patient gowns. They might also verify that all instruments are sterile and carry out regular maintenance on equipment used in procedures.

Filing documents

The completion of patient charts, the updating of patient databases, and other organizational chores as required are frequently handled by nurse estheticians.

What possibilities are accessible to nurse estheticians seeking certification?

Although there isn’t a set qualification criterion for nurse aestheticians, getting certified could seem remarkable on your CV and make you stand out from the crowd. The Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) credential from the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board is the most popular accreditation attained by nurse aestheticians (PSNSB). Candidates for this certification who meet the following requirements may apply:

  • Possess a valid license to practice as a nurse
  • Have worked as an aesthetic nurse for at least two years and 1,000 hours
  • Possess at least two years of professional nursing experience
  • Are currently employed in any of the following under the supervision of a doctor: facial plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, and plastic/aesthetic surgery (ENT)

Applicants for certification must pass an exam covering the fundamental skills of aesthetic nursing, including clinical skincare, laser, light therapy, energy – and light-based therapies, and injectables.

What are the differences between medical and nursing estheticians?

Education is the primary distinction between a medical esthetician and a nurse esthetician. While a medical esthetician only has a license, a nurse esthetician possesses a degree in the medical area, specifically nursing. An esthetician who has a medical degree frequently possesses more sophisticated skills and talents than a regular medical esthetician.

An esthetician who operates in the medical area and offers complementary therapies while being supervised by a healthcare expert is known as a medical esthetician. They can perform a variety of noninvasive skincare products with their esthetician license, including facials, waxing, and peels. Certain medical estheticians choose to pursue higher education in medical procedures including varicose vein cauterization and mechanical lymphatic drainage. They might also work with those who have had skin injuries from chemotherapy or burns in a rehabilitation setting.

Nurse esthetician work atmosphere

An esthetic nurse may operate in a range of healthcare settings, depending on what services they provide. Most of their duties don’t require immediate attention or emergency care. Instead, they carry out expert skin care procedures that could make the patient look better or more attractive. A nurse esthetician may be employed in an array of settings, including:

  • A medical spa
  • Ambulatory surgical facility
  • Hospital
  • Center for burns
  • A dermatology clinic
  • Rehabilitation facility
  • Salon
  • A health spa
  • Fitness facility
  • Outpatient medical facility
  • Aesthetic surgery facility

Skills as a nurse esthetician

In addition to a nursing degree, the following technical skills are advantageous for a profession as an esthetic nurse:

  • Comprehensive understanding of clinical skincare
  • Knowledge of non-invasive cosmetic skin treatments
  • Knowledge of dermatological instruments and technology
  • Instruction on safety and health procedures
  • Advanced understanding of biology and physiology

Interpersonal abilities are helpful when dealing with and helping people who might feel vulnerable or scared before surgery. Among these abilities are:

  • Superb communication and interpersonal abilities with patients, colleagues, and medical professionals
  • Critical thinking skills when advising patients and coming up with unique skincare solutions
  • Possessing the ability to follow instructions when helping doctors or surgeons during operations
  • Having the ability to actively listen when speaking with patients
  • Compassion and empathy when giving services or helping patients with postoperative treatment
  • Safety and attention to detail when delivering skin treatments

How to train as a nurse esthetician

Think about taking the following actions to get started as an esthetic nurse:

1. Get a nursing diploma or certification.

You must complete your nursing training before starting a job as a nurse esthetician. Initially, you must decide which license you would like to obtain. Registered nurses (RN), licensed practicing nurses (LPN), and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) all need different time requirements which may lead to diverse work prospects. By participating in a year-long accredited course, you can become an LPN or LVN. Although these two qualifications are comparable, they could be available in various states of practice.

A bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing can also be used to obtain an RN licensure. In comparison to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, which normally take a total of four years, associate degrees are frequently completed in two to three years. Both programs include in-depth classroom instruction and hands-on training. An RN license may be preferred by some employers, thus this degree may increase your prospects.

2. Pass the license examination

The national licensing examination for the state in which you want to be licensed is what you should do next. Before beginning employment as an LPN, LPNs who have completed their LPN or LVN degree must sit for and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. You must sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN exam if you have a nursing bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Your eligibility to work as a nurse is confirmed by passing both exams.

3. Get a license

After passing the licensing test, you can subsequently submit an application for your nursing license. A nurse esthetician does not require any further licenses. However, because each state may have different requirements, check with your state for its application requirements. Usually, one of those includes a criminal history check.

4. Amass nursing experience in esthetics

You are prepared to receive crucial nursing experience once you have obtained your degree and licensure. Look for jobs with these kinds of duties if you wish to work in esthetics. They could be nurse jobs at a dermatological practice, spa, facility for plastic surgery, trauma hospital, or fitness resort.

5. Get a certificate

Although obtaining certification is not necessary for nurse esthetician roles, it can provide you with particular knowledge in the field of esthetics. A registered nurse, for instance, may decide to pursue Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) accreditation if she wishes to work with plastic surgery patients. Those who have acquired special training in aesthetic or cosmetic therapies may have access to more work prospects.

6. Receiving instruction in aesthetics

Prospective nurse estheticians can enroll in aesthetics training in centers for aesthetic, dermatologic, or plastic surgery after completing the required education, qualifications, and licenses. They might also get instruction from companies that make products, like Botox. The knowledge and abilities required to safely carry out sophisticated cosmetic operations and give their patients the best care can be acquired by entry-level nurse estheticians through this training.

Salary of a nurse esthetician

Although there isn’t any specific compensation data available for nurse estheticians, the average national income for a registered nurse is $81,655 annually. The compensation of a nurse esthetician may differ from this figure according to the services given, the employer, the amount of education, as well as the level of experience. The salary for a nurse esthetician operating in a plastic surgery facility may be different from that of an esthetician nurse working in a health spa. A person who has earned accreditation as a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist can offer a larger variety of services and start out with a better wage.

Prospects for employment as a nurse esthetician

Opportunities for employment as a nurse esthetician are expanding. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics projects a 29% rise in work opportunities for skincare experts like general estheticians until 2030. Additionally, the BLS anticipates a 9% growth in registered nurse jobs through 2030. There is a sizable present shortage of nurses, and the demand for nurses with integrated esthetics and clinical experience is expected to continue to grow.

Steps for Becoming a nurse esthetician

You must fulfill a number of qualifications before you can work as an aesthetic nurse. The most typical actions you can take to pursue a job as an aesthetic nurse are listed below:

Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program.

The minimal educational qualification for positions in aesthetic nursing is a Bachelor of Science in nursing because applicants must be registered nurses (RN) or nurse practitioners (NP) to be considered. Ensure the university or college you want to attend has an approved nursing degree that is acknowledged by the nursing board in your state. You can enroll in nursing school classes in patient care, clinical research, psychiatry, physiology and anatomy, nursing, and health policy. A bachelor’s degree requires between four and five years to accomplish, based on your enrollment state.

Request a license.

The nursing board is a state-level entity. If you want to work as an aesthetic nurse in a state, you must submit your licensing application to the appropriate board. Obtaining a Nurse Licensure Compact will allow you to practice nursing in many states if you’re seeking employment in more than one. Your application, as well as the results of a criminal background check, must be submitted alongside your college credentials. You can consult your state’s nursing board online for further details on the requirements of the application.

Take the NCLEX-RN test.

You will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) test after submitting an application for licensure. Candidates for nursing are put through a test to see how well-versed they are in certain safety practices. By passing this test, you’ll be able to show that you’re ready to help doctors in a clinical setting while securely providing care. Applicants can anticipate finishing the test in roughly 6 hours.

A minimum of 45 days must elapse before you can repeat the exam if you don’t pass it the first time.

Get a job as an RN.

Before you may become an aesthetic nurse, you must practice as a registered nurse for two to three years. Working as an aesthetic nurse’s aide in a medical spa or ambulatory plastic surgery facility can help you develop expertise. If you are unable to obtain a job in cosmetic nursing immediately, you can think about working as a nurse for a board-certified surgeon who specializes in another type of surgery. Before you may become certified as an aesthetic nurse, you must have at least a year of experience working as a cosmetic nurse.

Get your qualification as an aesthetic nurse specialist.

Aesthetic nursing specialist qualification is optional; however, some workplaces can prefer or demand it. Your accreditation serves as proof that you are qualified to do cosmetic operations. The Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board is where you can get this qualification (PSNCB). You must possess an RN license, have worked as an RN for a minimum of two years, and have spent at least one of those years in a cosmetic-related field, like dermatology, aesthetic/plastic surgery, or plastic surgery of the throat, ear, and nose.

You must recertify every three years after passing the Certified Aesthetics Nurse Specialist (CANS) test in order to maintain the certificate.

Key distinctions between estheticians and aestheticians

Despite the fact that both estheticians and aestheticians are qualified skincare specialists, their careers differ in a number of ways, from the schooling and experience they get to the places they work. An esthetician and an aesthetician differ primarily in the following ways:

Work environment

The majority of aestheticians are employed by healthcare or medical establishments like:

  • Health facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Burn hospitals
  • Trauma facilities
  • Clinics for reconstructive surgery
  • Clinics for dermatology
  • Health spas
  • Rehabilitative facilities

Professional estheticians may run their own spas or salons. They typically work at spas or other leisure establishments like:

  • Salons
  • Spas
  • Resorts
  • Boutiques
  • Fitness facilities


Think about choosing a course of study that best fits your state’s standards and long-term employment objectives. Gaining knowledge that could help you succeed as a nurse esthetician is why this education is so crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions about nurse estheticians

You could still be unclear about the qualifications for the role or the duties of an aesthetic nurse. Here are some responses to some of the most frequent inquiries about training to be an aesthetic nurse:

  • What can I anticipate from my workplace if I train to be an aesthetic nurse?

Patients of anesthesia nurses typically do not require round-the-clock monitoring or observation, and they do not usually operate in a hospital environment. While they manage multiple patient cases at once, they are on their feet most of the time. They frequently deal with patients and doctors, and they might need to maintain patient data current. They usually work in the following environments:

  • Outpatient clinics for medicine
    • Centers for plastic surgery
    • Private medical practices
    • Health spas
    • Offices of dermatologists
  • What qualifications should I have to succeed as an aesthetic nurse?

To succeed in their jobs, aesthetic nurses need to possess a number of talents. The most typical abilities you should think about acquiring for this profession are:

  • Interpersonal skills: Because this is a highly engaging role, an aesthetic nurse must have excellent interpersonal skills in order to complete their everyday work without unnecessary stress.
  • Communication: Aesthetic nurses must explain to patients the specifics of a process or treatment in plain language so that the patient will feel comfortable and understand. They should be able to effectively communicate with the doctors and the rest of the clinic or office’s employees.
  • Compassion: Patients often experience anxiety before surgery or other procedures, therefore their nurse should handle them with kindness and care.
  • Attention to detail: Aesthetic nurses must pay close attention to every last detail when performing treatments on patients.

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