Unlike registered nurses who work in hospitals and traditional clinics, medical spa RNs focus on beautifying an individual through various cosmetic procedures, most of which are injected into the skin. Also referred to as a cosmetic nurse, plastic surgery nurse or an aesthetic nurse, medical spa RNs may also have additional duties such as sales, customer service or office work.
Medical spa nurses must comply with the stated scope of practice as defined by their State Board of Nursing and State Medical Board before completing any work. Although state requirements may vary, medical spa nurses will typically perform duties related to beautifying the skin. Treatments can range from administering Botox, Restylane, Juvederm and other injectables to performing laser therapies and light treatments. In some cases, nurses may even perform duties such as chemical peels, cryotherapy and sclerotherapy. Some med spa RNs may also have administrative or sales responsibilities such as greeting customers, answering phones or selling treatment packages.
All nurses, including those who specialize in the medical spa industry, must have appropriate licensure from their state. In order to gain licensure, nurses must take the NCLEX examination. There are different educational routes that allow an individual to sit for the exam ranging from a Diploma of Nursing to an associate, bachelor’s and master’s program. When it comes to aesthetic specialty, a medical spa nurse will typically need additional education to perform specialized injections and treatments. Nurses can receive on-the-job training, attend seminars, enroll in continuing education courses or attend an orientation program offered by an employer to gain the necessary experience.
Medical spa nurses may pursue certification to set their resumes apart, although certification is not required for employment. There are various certification boards and associations depending on individual interests and areas of specialty. For example, plastic surgery nurses can pursue Plastic Surgical Nursing certification or Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist certification offered at the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. Alternatively, aesthetic nurses can seek certification from the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time nurses, including those specializing in the medical spa industry, earned a 2010 median wage of $64,690 per year. In some cases, medical spa nurses may earn upward of $73,000 annually, according to the Indeed website, depending on location and volume of business. In 2010, nearly 2,737,400 individuals held positions in the nursing industry, many of which included nurses specializing in aesthetic treatments. The job outlook for all nurses is expected to grow 26 percent, which is faster than average in growth compared with other occupations.
2018 Salary Information for Registered Nurses
Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $71,730 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, registered nurses earned a 10th percentile salary of $56,190, meaning 90 percent earned more than this amount. The 90th percentile salary is $83,770, meaning 10 percent earn more. In 2018, 3,059,800 people were employed in the U.S. as registered nurses.
- Nursing Times: Under the Skin of Cosmetic Nursing
- American Society of Plastic Surgical Nursing: Careers in Plastic Surgical Nursing FAQs
- Oregon State Board of Nursing: Policy Guideline: Nursing Scope of Practice for Cosmetic and Dermatologic Procedures
- American Nurses Association: How to Become a Nurse
- Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board: Certification
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- Indeed: Medical Spa RN Salary
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses
- Career Trend: Registered Nurses
Ruth Altman writes on business, lifestyle and careers. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Pepperdine University in addition to a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.