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)
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
- 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
- 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
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.