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How to Become an Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner

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Aesthetic nurse practitioners treat skin conditions and help patients improve their appearances. If you’re considering becoming an aesthetic nurse practitioner, you’ll need an advanced nursing degree, prior nursing experience and excellent communication skills. Good judgment and critical thinking skills are also required, as nurse practitioners frequently work with little supervision.

Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner Job Duties

Aesthetic nurse practitioners work in medical spas or dermatology, plastic surgery and other medical practices that offer aesthetic treatments. During a typical day, you may assist with surgeries, diagnose skin conditions, and provide dermatological and cosmetic treatments. Your duties may be limited to cosmetic treatments only, if you practice in a medical spa.

Nurse practitioners who work in private practices and spas recommend appropriate cosmetic treatment for patients who want to look younger, eliminate scars or clear up stubborn acne. Common treatments you may perform include chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments, fillers and Botox injections. Aesthetic nurse practitioners also prescribe medications that treat skin conditions, as well as perform skin cancer examinations and remove tattoos. In addition to mastering clinical skills, nurse practitioners must work well with supervising physicians and nurses, and complete yearly continuing education requirements. The job requires long hours on your feet and light lifting.

Education Requirements for Aesthetic Nurse Practitioners

A bachelor of science in nursing from an accredited college or university is a prerequisite for acceptance into a master’s degree nurse practitioner program. Acceptance is competitive, and is based on your undergraduate grade point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score, transcript, previous nursing experience and reference letters.

You need to work as a nurse for a year or more and possess a current nursing license in your state before you can apply to a master of science in nursing degree program, although specific requirements vary from program to program.

If you plan to continue working while enrolled in a master’s program, an online or hybrid master’s degree program rather than an on-campus program may be a good choice. After completing your degree, you’ll take a licensing examination and tests to become board certified by either the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or American Nurses Credentialing Center. Some nurses also obtain certification from the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board.


Nurse practitioner programs devoted solely to aesthetic nurse training don’t currently exist. Future aesthetic or plastic surgery nurse practitioners usually specialize in a particular track, such as family or emergency medicine, then complete on-the-job training after being hired by a spa or medical practice.

In addition to training with and shadowing doctors and dermatology nurse practitioners, you may also take aesthetic nurse training classes that will prepare you to place Botox and filler injections precisely or operate lasers used to reduce wrinkles, relieve acne or remove hair.

Salary and Job Growth Trend

The median pay for nurse practitioners in 2017 was $110,930 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job prospects are expected to be very good for nurse practitioners in the coming years, as the Bureau estimates that demand will grow by 31 percent until 2026.


Holly McGurgan has a degree in journalism and previously worked as a non-profit public relations and communications manager. She often writes about career and lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared online on Healthline, Working for Candy and other sites.

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