How To Become a Cosmetic Nurse (With Duties and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cosmetic nurses are medical professionals who assist cosmetic surgeons and perform non-surgical procedures. These professionals work in the beauty and reconstructive industry to help patients modify their appearance medically. If you're interested in a nursing career, becoming a cosmetic nurse may be a great option. In this article, we share how to become a cosmetic nurse, explain what a cosmetic nurse does and address frequently asked questions about the career.

How to become a cosmetic nurse

A cosmetic nurse might earn specialised qualifications to perform medical duties safely. The following steps can help you learn how to become a cosmetic nurse:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

To become a cosmetic nurse, you may obtain a Bachelor of Nursing. Students in nursing programs take multiple science-based courses, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and psychology. You may also take lab courses to help you learn how to treat patients and recognise symptoms. These courses can help you earn an advanced understanding of human anatomy and conditions.

Read more: How To Become a Nurse (With Definitions and FAQs)

2. Become a registered nurse

After you complete your bachelor's program, register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Registration helps you become eligible for nursing positions. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency holds health professionals to certain standards and establishes policies and ethical practices. Upon registration, you submit a series of documents to the agency, including a proof of identity and a resume. You may also require a background check.

3. Pursue a master's degree

After you earn an endorsement from AHPRA, you can begin your practice as a nurse. To become a cosmetic nurse, you can complete additional training in that specialty. You can receive this training by seeking a master's degree or another form of certification such as a Master of Nursing (Aesthetics) or a Graduate Certificate in Cosmetic Nursing. You can focus on specialised cosmetic modules in your postgraduate program, such as dermatology and aesthetic nursing. During your master's program, you can often develop a specialty within the field, such as being a cosmetic injector.

4. Find clinical experience

Many nurses complete a certain amount of field hours as a requirement for their graduation. After earning your master's degree, you can begin working in the cosmetic field without the supervision of other nurses. To find clinical experience apply to work with cosmetic doctors. When gaining this experience, you can discover which aspects of cosmetic nursing suits you best. If you want to refine your specialty further, you can continue your education with additional certifications.

What does a cosmetic nurse do?

A cosmetic nurse performs non-surgical procedures relating to cosmetology or dermatology. They may administer injections, such as collagen, and perform skin treatments, like tattoo removal and laser treatments. A cosmetic nurse's duties may depend on their specialty and area of focus, as some help doctors with anaesthetics, injections and plastic surgery. Some of their other responsibilities may include:

  • observing skin-related health issues

  • administering injections such as botulinum toxin, also known as 'botox', dermal fillers and chemical peels

  • providing pre-and post-operation care

  • staying updated on medical research and news

  • helping patients schedule appointments

  • consulting with patients to assess their health and needs

  • assisting doctors during cosmetic surgeries

  • sterilising operating rooms and equipment

Related: Nurse Responsibilities for 5 Common Types of Nurses

Cosmetic nurse FAQ

To help you decide whether this career is right for you, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions:

How many years does it take to become a cosmetic nurse?

On average, it takes professionals about five or six years to become a cosmetic nurse, including undertaking a bachelor's program. The exact amount of time it takes to achieve this career can depend on your schedule. For example, if you are a full-time student, taking on more credit hours per semester, you can finish your bachelor's and master's degree programs at a faster rate than you would if you study part time.

Enrolling in these education programs as a part-time student means that you spend more time in school. This can be a good option if you want to earn experience and work while completing your education.

Can you be a cosmetic injector without being a nurse?

Generally, cosmetic injectors require a nursing licence. If you don't want to undertake a bachelor's program, you may be able to become a cosmetic injector by becoming an enrolled nurse instead of a registered one.

The main difference between these two types of nursing is that enrolled nurses earn an associate's degree instead of a bachelor's degree. They typically have less independence as they work under the direct supervision of a registered nurse. As an enrolled nurse, it is likely you will need more experience in the cosmetic field to qualify you for a specialty in cosmetic injection.

Read more: Enrolled Nurse vs. Registered Nurse: (With Definitions)

What skills and qualities do you need to become a cosmetic nurse?

Cosmetic nurses need a variety of skills and qualities to help patients and collaborate with their colleagues successfully. Because there are often updates in medical knowledge, cosmetic nurses are typically open to continuous learning and commit to conducting regular research. Patient care is a top priority for cosmetic nurses, meaning empathy and patience is also essential.

Skills that are beneficial to these professionals include:

  • Communication: Cosmetic nurses need strong written and verbal communication skills to educate patients and keep detailed records. They also use these skills when discussing care plans with doctors.

  • Mathematics: Nurses use maths to administer correct dosage amounts and understand health statistics such as weight.

  • Patient care: As cosmetic nurses spend a lot of time interacting with patients, they benefit from accessing their needs and treating them with kindness and patience.

  • Collaboration: These professionals collaborate with other cosmetic nurses and doctors to deliver great patient care.

  • Dexterity: Because their work often includes injections and working with sensitive areas of a patient's body, cosmetic nurses benefit from having strong, steady hands.

  • Organisation: Organisation skills help cosmetic nurses keep track of their patients' charts and file records in a timely and orderly manner.

  • Observation: Observational skills benefit medical professionals because they allow nurses to notice patient symptoms and conditions, especially when they are unaware of or unable to understand the condition.

What is a cosmetic nurse's work environment like?

Cosmetic nurses can work in hospitals, public and private clinics and medical spas. These professionals can also work freelance, full time or part time, so your hours can vary depending on your needs. Cosmetic nurses work with other nurses and doctors. As a cosmetic nurse, you may spend most of your day consulting with patients.

Depending on your employer, you may complete a certain procedure more than others. For example, if you work in a private clinic that specialises in aesthetic skincare, the type of patients you are likely to help will differ from those patients you may assist in a hospital setting.

How much do cosmetic nurses earn?

Cosmetic nurses earn an average of $33.32 per hour. Registered nurses that specialise in cosmetic procedures may receive an annual salary. The average salary for a registered nurse is $76,303 per year. These figures can also vary depending on your education credentials, experience level, location and employer. To help you understand the salary you may earn in this position, consider the salaries of these related careers:

  • Infusion nurse: $61,234 per year

  • Licensed practical nurse: $62,037 per year

  • Clinical nurse: $98,283 per year

Related: How To Ask for a Raise (with Examples)

Is cosmetic nursing a good career?

Cosmetic nursing is an excellent career for those who are passionate about aesthetic health and helping others. These professionals help a wide variety of patients and perform many non-surgical procedures, so it's also a promising career for those who enjoy new and challenging job tasks.

Cosmetic nurses can work in various medical settings, which may help you find a full-time job. These full-time jobs often come with other benefits, such as paid time off and tuition assistance. Depending on where you want to work, you may also enjoy a less stressful work environment as a cosmetic nurse, as those who work in private clinics and medical spas typically don't treat patients in emergency or life-threatening situations.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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