How Much Do Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurses Make?

14 Min Read Published October 3, 2023
Aesthetic Nurse Salary Guide by Nurse.org

Aesthetic nurses can be found working in private plastic surgery and dermatology practices as well as in medical spas and outpatient surgery facilities. If you’re considering becoming an aesthetic nurse, you’re likely wondering how much you can make. Read on to find information on average aesthetic nurse salaries, as well as on the factors that affect how much you can earn as an aesthetic nurse.

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Average Aesthetic/Cosmetic Nurse Salary

 ZipRecruiter reports that the average aesthetic nurse salary in the United States is $89,970, or $43 per hour, while the median salary for all nurses is  $81,220, or $39.05 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 report.

The range of incomes that can be earned is significant, with the same ZipRecruiter analysis indicating that aesthetic nurses in the bottom 10% of earnings are making $50,500 per year, and those in the top 10% are earning $138,500.

There are many variables that determine aesthetic nurse salaries, including geography, years of experience, work setting, and education. 

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RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

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WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

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Aesthetic Nurse Salary by State

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Tennessee $99,310 $47.75
Hawaii $96,376 $46.33
Nevada $95,253 $45.79
Massachusetts $94,908 $45.63
Minnesota $94,864 $45.61
Connecticut $93,926 $45.16
Rhode Island $91,492 $43.99
Oregon $91,341 $43.91
Alaska $90,716 $43.61
Washington $90,604 $43.56
Ohio $89,928 $43.24
New York $89,772 $43.16
North Dakota $89,124 $42.85
Utah $87,655 $42.14
Iowa $87,305 $41.97
Maryland $86,204 $41.44
South Dakota $85,466 $41.09
Virginia $83,891 $40.33
Idaho $83,390 $40.09
New Hampshire $83,095 $39.95
Colorado $82,184 $39.51
Kentucky $82,180 $39.51
California $82,009 $39.43
Vermont $81,551 $39.21
Kansas $81,358 $39.11
Delaware $81,297 $39.09
Nebraska $80,983 $38.93
South Carolina $80,272 $38.59
Mississippi $79,845 $38.39
New Jersey $79,441 $38.19
Arizona $79,437 $38.19
Wyoming $78,742 $37.86
Arkansas $77,961 $37.48
Maine $77,874 $37.44
Oklahoma $77,381 $37.20
Illinois $76,873 $36.96
Indiana $76,701 $36.88
Michigan $76,603 $36.83
Louisiana $75,949 $36.51
Montana $75,862 $36.47
West Virginia $75,672 $36.38
Missouri $75,645 $36.37
Wisconsin $74,044 $35.60
Texas $73,976 $35.57
Pennsylvania $73,873 $35.52
New Mexico $70,103 $33.70
Alabama $69,195 $33.27
North Carolina $67,262 $32.34
Florida $65,177 $31.34
Georgia $63,660 $30.61

Source: ZipRecruiter 

Aesthetic Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

According to Payscale, aesthetic nurses can expect their income to grow substantially as they gain more experience, though research conducted by Medscape indicates that many nurses stop receiving merit raises after approximately 21 years.  

  1. Less than 1 year of experience earn an average hourly wage of $28.96

  2. 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $30.53

  3. 5-9 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $33.54

  4. 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $36.04

  5. 20 years and higher years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $37.91

 Via Payscale

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GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

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CCNE
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At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

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CCNE
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Online
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RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Capella University

Capella’s online RN-to-BSN degree is an accredited program designed for working nurses. Thousands of nurses have completed their BSN program with FlexPath, that allows you to control your pace and set your own deadlines. With FlexPath, you can complete your RN-to-BSN program in 9 months and under $10,000. Fastest 25% of students. Cost varies by pace, transfer credits, other factors. Fees apply.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Aesthetic Nurse Salary by Work Setting

Most aesthetic nurses work in either dermatology or plastic surgery private practices or medical spas, though some work in outpatient care settings. While nurses working in private offices generally earn less than those who work in hospitals, the specialized care that aesthetic nurses provide at outpatient surgery centers can command a higher salary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2022, the annual mean wage for registered nurses working in outpatient care centers is $97,200, compared to $79,810 in physicians’ offices. 

How to Increase Your Salary as an Aesthetic Nurse

The wide range of salaries paid to aesthetic nurses reflects geographic differences, as well as the influence of the setting in which you work and how many years of experience you have under your belt. 

Beyond these important factors, there are several steps you can take that will have a significant impact on what you will be paid as an aesthetic nurse. 

Increased Education 

You must have a registered nursing license to become an aesthetic nurse, which includes completing an accredited nursing program at the associate's or baccalaureate level and passing the NCLEX-RN. To begin your aesthetic nurse training, you can gain experience by working with board-certified physicians in plastic/aesthetic/cosmetic surgery, dermatology, facial plastic surgery, or ophthalmology. You can also pursue further education through specialized courses from accredited educational programs like those offered by the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery. 

Any additional aesthetic/cosmetic nurse certifications and education that you choose to pursue can have a profound impact on your compensation and should be considered an investment in yourself and your future. Options include: 

Salary Negotiation 

Though many view the salary that accompanies a job offer as set in stone, the national nursing shortage and demand for skilled aesthetic nurses have put you in a position where you may be able to negotiate for a higher salary. This is especially true for those who have pursued additional education or who have extensive experience working in aesthetics.  

To put yourself in the best position to negotiate, take time to research what others in your area are being paid and make a list of the special skills or experience that you bring to the facility.

Practice what you are going to say to the hiring manager, being careful to remain confident and respectful. Be open to the value represented by benefits and perks such as additional vacation days or schedule flexibility. 

Consider Travel Nursing 

In the face of the national nursing shortage, an increasing number of hospitals, clinics, and private practices are turning to travel nurses. Nurses with training in a specialty area like aesthetics are in particular demand and command generous fees and bonuses.  If you have the flexibility and an interest in travel, you can significantly increase the amount of money that you earn in a short period.   

How You Work 

While your initial image of life as an aesthetic nurse may have followed the path of a career nurse who works full or part-time at the same facility for an extended period of time, you can increase your salary potential by considering some of the alternatives listed here: 

  • Per Diem – Per diem translates to per day, and per diem nurses get paid for each day that they work. Because they are available on a flexible basis, their hourly pay rate is generally higher than those who work a standard shift. The disadvantage to paying a per diem aesthetic nurse is that you will not receive vacation, healthcare insurance, or other typical employee benefits. 

  • Contract – Contract nurses sign agreements with a facility promising to work in a position for a specific, limited period of time. Contract nurses have the advantage of knowing the hours and compensation that they will receive and may be offered extensions if the need continues or another opening arises. Travel nursing is a type of contract nursing assignment. 

  • Additional Compensation – Nurses who are interested in increasing their income beyond what they are receiving as salary can opt into any of the following ways of earning additional money. 

  • Overtime – This is a higher hourly pay provided to those who work beyond a full-time shift, which is usually interpreted as 40 hours per week. Each employer will offer their own overtime pay structure, with some paying time-and-a-half and others as much as triple pay for overtime hours. 

  • Shift differential – Shift differential is a higher hourly payment offered to those who are willing to work shifts that are harder to fill, including night shifts, weekends, and holidays. 

  • Bonuses – Bonuses may be offered as signing incentives or as rewards for superlative performance. Aesthetic nurses whose skill or manner attracts additional clients to a private practice or who are able to encourage clients to pursue more services would be highly likely to be offered this type of compensation. 

  • Hazard Pay – Hazard pay offers nurses a higher rate of pay for working in dangerous or difficult conditions. 

Is it Worth it to Become an Aesthetic Nurse?

Even the most affordable nursing programs represent a big investment, and comparing the costs of attendance to the salary that is likely to be earned is both reasonable and practical. Assessing whether an aesthetic nursing career is worth the educational costs depends upon certain variables, with the most important being the cost of the school you select.  

While educational costs can vary based on where the school is located, whether a degree is pursued on a part-time or full-time basis, and whether students are from in- or out-of-state, earning an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) generally costs anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree costs from $30,000 to $120,000. An advanced practice nursing degree adds between $35,000 and $70,000.  

Considering these costs and comparing them to the median salary of $89,970 earned by an aesthetic nurse, it is easy to see that aesthetic nurses can quickly recoup their educational expenses while working in a career that is emotionally fulfilling and that offers significant job security and satisfaction.  

There are many reasons for choosing a career as an aesthetic nurse. Beyond the satisfaction that comes from helping patients improve their appearance, the profession is distinguished by the fact that practitioners generally work in private offices rather than in a hospital setting and that most of their patients are non-emergent and seeking elective procedures.   

Though these characteristics are unique, there are several other nursing specialties that are similar enough to be worth your consideration. Here are a few, with the median average salaries that practitioners earn. 

  • Dermatology Nurse – According to ZipRecruiter, the national average annual salary for dermatology nurses is $60,792  

  • Fertility Nurse – According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for a Fertility RN in the United States is $95,216 a year. 

  • Ophthalmic Nurse ZipRecruiter reports that Ophthalmic nurses earn an average annual salary of $73,594. 

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Capella University

Capella’s online RN-to-BSN degree is an accredited program designed for working nurses. Thousands of nurses have completed their BSN program with FlexPath, that allows you to control your pace and set your own deadlines. With FlexPath, you can complete your RN-to-BSN program in 9 months and under $10,000. Fastest 25% of students. Cost varies by pace, transfer credits, other factors. Fees apply.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Aesthetic Nurse FAQs

  • Is aesthetic nursing a good career? 

    • Aesthetic nursing offers numerous advantages, including working in a calm and highly scheduled environment and being able to help patients improve their self-confidence and quality of life by offering services and treatments meant to improve their appearance. 
  • Where do aesthetic nurses make the most money?  

    • Aesthetic nurses have the greatest earnings potential working in medical spas that they own and operate themselves as aesthetic nurse practitioners. 
  • What is an aesthetic nurse? 

    • Aesthetics nurses provide non-invasive cosmetic procedures and injections and provide support to dermatologists and plastic surgeons.  
  • How long does it take to become an aesthetic nurse? 

    • To become an aesthetic nurse you need to complete a registered nursing program. This can be accomplished through either a two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing program or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Following completion of these programs, aesthetic nurse candidates need to complete a certification program, which takes an additional two days. 
  • What qualifications do you need to be an aesthetic nurse?

    • To become an aesthetic nurse, you need to be licensed as a registered nurse and to have completed an accredited aesthetic nurse certification program. 
    Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
    Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
    Nurse.org Contributor

    Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is a freelance writer and editor who is driven by details. She loves to dive into research, ensuring that the information she provides educates, engages and illuminates. Before starting her own business she spent years working in advertising and raising three kids. Today she lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where her she and her husband enjoy travel, the Jersey Shore, and spoiling their grandchildren.

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