The Ultimate List of Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse Certifications

5 Min Read Published June 1, 2023
Ultimate List of Cosmetic and Aesthetic Nurse Certifications

As the demand for cosmetic procedures rises, so has the demand for cosmetic/aesthetic nurses. An aesthetic nurse certification provides advanced credentials to registered nurses, opening many doors for career advancement. Thus, allowing RNs to grow in the rapidly expanding field of cosmetic nursing.

If you want to become an aesthetic/cosmetic nurse but don't know which credential is the best fit, we're here to help. We’ve compiled a list of all the cosmetic and aesthetic nurse certifications available in 2023. Continue reading to learn about cosmetic nursing certifications, their requirements, costs, and how to earn them.

What Are Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse Certifications?

Aesthetic/cosmetic nurse certifications confirm nurses’ abilities to practice cosmetic skills in a healthcare environment. Several types of aesthetic nursing certifications are available, but these certifications do not give you advanced skills or the ability to practice independently. Instead, they indicate advanced aesthetic nurse training and experience for coworkers and employers alike.

An aesthetic nursing certification may also verify your proficiency in performing procedures like:

  • Botox injections
  • Lip fillers
  • Tattoo removal
  • Dermabrasion
  • Other minor cosmetic procedures

Certifications in aesthetic nursing provide many career advancement opportunities for registered nurses. Aesthetic nurse salaries are also often higher. They can secure more diverse jobs and provide more robust patient care thanks to their special education.

Aesthetic Nurse Certification Requirements

Aesthetic/cosmetic nurse certifications have practice-hour conditions that differ depending on your desired certification. You must have specific work experience related to the certificate before taking the exam. You also will have to sit in-person for a computerized exam to earn any of these advanced nursing certifications.


Aesthetic and cosmetic nursing certifications require at least an RN license. Nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can become RNs after passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

However, becoming an aesthetic nurse may also require an advanced degree, depending on your desired certification. An aesthetic nurse practitioner will need a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse Certification Options

1. Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS)

The Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) credential is the most desirable specialty certification for aesthetic and cosmetic nurses. It is also the only specific certification for aesthetic nursing as opposed to plastic surgery or dermatology.

The Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB) offers this certification for RNs and NPs in the aesthetic and cosmetic industry. However, it is not limited to those that perform injectables. It covers four core specialties, which include:

  • Plastic/aesthetic surgery
  • Facial plastic surgery (ENT)
  • Dermatology
  • Ophthalmology

To qualify to sit for the exam, you must have the following:

  • A current and unrestricted registered nursing license
  • 1,000 practice hours in core specialties during the last two years
  • Two years of RN experience and currently working within the four core specialties WITH
    • A board-certified physician in one of the core specialties OR
    • A CANS-certified NP whose certification is current/in good standing
  • A letter of recommendation from the physician or NP (CANS certified) you are practicing with

Experience requirements for this aesthetic nurse certification may differ by state. Depending on where you live, the experience you earn can be in a general staff, administrative, teaching, or research capacity. It may also extend to three years before application.

The certification exam itself is computer-based. However, it must be taken in person at a Center for Nursing Education and Testing (C-NET). The exam is $295 for ISPAN members and $395 for non-members.

2. Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse

Another common certification available to nurses is the Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse (CPSN) certification available through the PSNCB. This certification might be more challenging to acquire because it requires more experience than others.

According to the PSNCB, eligibility criteria include the following:

  • A current full and unrestricted registered nursing license
  • Two years of plastic surgical nursing experience
  • Work as a registered nurse in one of the following capacities three years before application:
    • General staff
    • Administrative
    • Teaching
  • 1,000 practice hours in plastic surgical nursing during two of the preceding three years
  • Be currently working as a plastic surgical nurse in collaboration with:
    • Plastic surgeon
    • Ophthalmologist
    • Board-certified ENT in ophthalmology, burn care, plastic, or facial plastic surgery

The physician you collaborate with for this certification must hold a current and unrestricted license. Also, this certification won't allow you to perform additional skills. Instead, it indicates advanced specialty training and experience to patients and coworkers.

Like the CANS exam, this exam is computer-based, but you must take it in person at a C-NET. Sitting for the exam costs ISPAN members $295, while non-members pay $395.

3. Dermatology Nurse Certified

Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC) nurses often work at dermatology offices or med spa facilities. This aesthetic nurse certification provides RNs with advanced knowledge about skin care procedures. Dermatology nurses may assist with skin-related tasks, which include but are not limited to:

  • Laser treatments
  • Tattoo removal
  • Applying chemical peels
  • Dressing wounds
  • Treating acne

Becoming a dermatology nurse has similar requirements to other aesthetic nurse certifications. The specific conditions you must meet to get a DNC certification are:

  • Two years of dermatology nursing experience as an RN
  • Hold a current and unrestricted RN license in the US or Canada
  • 2,000 hours in dermatology nursing over the past two years in one of these capacities:
    • General staff
    • Administrative
    • Teaching
    • Research

You can take the computer-based DNC certification exam nationwide at one of many C-NETs. The test consists of 175 multiple-choice items, and you'll have four hours to complete it. Dermatology Nurses Association (DNA) members only pay $260 to take the exam, while non-members pay $335.

4. Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner 

The Dermatology Nursing Certification Board offers the Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP). As a nurse practitioner, you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for this certification:

  • Master's degree in nursing
  • National certification as a nurse practitioner
  • Minimum of 3,000 hours of general dermatology practice within the past three years
  • Currently practicing in dermatology
  • Verification of hours (including discrepancies) with individual and/or listed employer

If you attended a formal dermatology NP academic program, any clinical hours you earned would count toward your requisite 3,000. You may complete the certification exam online or at a C-NET testing site. Sitting the exam costs $400 and is valid for three years.

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Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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