How to become … an aesthetic nurse

20 April 2016


Are you really keen on becoming an aesthetic nurse? These are the steps you’ll need to take to get there.


Step one: complete a nursing degree and get NMC registration


If you want to work as a nurse in the UK, in either the public or private sector, you will need to complete a nursing degree. Nursing diplomas were once offered as recognised training courses for nurses, but they have been phased out in recent years. Since Autumn 2013, new applicants wanting to train as nurses have been required to complete a nursing degree.

Nursing degree courses are offered at universities across the UK, and the NHS careers website has an online search tool you can use to find a course near you. Each university will have its own particular set of requirements for entry, so do check the course information provided on your chosen university’s website.

Degree courses last for three years, and include both theoretical and practical learning, and so you won’t just do your training in a classroom, you’ll also have the opportunity to gain practical experience on a hospital ward. Nursing degrees give you the choice to specialise in one of four areas: adult nursing, children’s nursing, mental health nursing, or learning disability nursing. If you’re interested in working in the aesthetic medicine industry, the adult nursing pathway will provide you with the best grounding for your future career, and will be preferred by employers in this industry.

To work as a nurse in the UK, you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), who are responsible for regulating the professional standards of nursing. Once you have completed your nursing degree, your university will confirm your qualification with the NMC, but it is then up to you to complete the registration process. You will need to fill out a registration form, which can be done online at the NMC website. You will also need to pay a registration fee, which is currently £120. Your registration must be renewed on an annual basis.


Step two: get post-qualification nursing experience


The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses recommends that you gain at least three years of general adult nursing experience before you move into aesthetic nursing. If you gain this practical experience after completing your degree, you will gain additional knowledge and experience of dealing with patients and performing procedures, and this will give you a better grounding for any future specialism. Though you may get practical experience on your nursing degree, actually doing the job day-in, day-out for a few years will help you expand your skill set far more, and it will give you valuable experience communicating with a wide range of patients.

Employers in the aesthetics industry will generally look at post-qualification experience favourably, as it shows that you already have the skills and experience to look after patients and perform certain general nursing tasks adeptly. Just consider the route you choose to take – if you’re really interested in aesthetic nursing, then working on a children’s ward isn’t going to look quite as good as having adult nursing on your CV, for obvious reasons.


Step three: find an entry-level position in aesthetics, or undertake training independently


There are a few different roles for nurses within the aesthetic medicine and cosmetic surgery industry, so think about your end goal when deciding which route to take. Do you want to work as an independent injector running your own business offering dermal filler and wrinkle relaxing treatments? Would you like to work as a full-time employee in an established clinic performing a range of skin and body treatments? Or would you prefer to assist surgeons in theatres or provide patient care on wards?


Independent Nurse Injector / Prescriber


If your dream is to be a self-employed nurse providing a range of injectable treatments to private clients, then you will need to undertake training in toxin and filler procedures, and you will need to complete the V300 Non-Medical Prescribing course. Toxins such as Botox are prescription-only medicines, and so to work on your own you will need to be a qualified prescriber, otherwise you will only be able to provide these treatments if you always work alongside another doctor or nurse who has the qualification.

If you are undertaking training independently, you will be solely responsible for the costs of courses , and though these aren’t necessarily cheap, you are investing in your career. You may be paying out initially, but you will then be able to earn that money back when you start practising.


Aesthetic Nurse / Nurse Practitioner


‘Aesthetic Nurse’ is a broad term often used as shorthand for any nurse performing non-surgical aesthetic treatments, injectable or otherwise. However, in business terms, an aesthetic nurse is often a nurse who performs a range of aesthetic treatments, but is not a qualified prescriber, and sometimes does not perform any injectable procedures at all. In many clinics or medi-spas, an aesthetic nurse will carry out consultations with patients, and will perform the same range of treatments as the aesthetic therapists without nursing qualifications, such as laser skin rejuvenation and hair removal, skin peels, micro-needling, and microdermabrasion.

Some clinics in the UK will employ registered nurses with some post-qualification experience but no aesthetics training, and will provide training during employment. This will save you the cost of training courses, and is a good way to get into aesthetics and learn about the industry while having the security of permanent employment and a regular monthly salary. Just remember that it is likely that you will be trained in a range of skin and body treatments, but not necessarily injectables, and it is not common for employers to pay for you to complete your V300. You can’t expect clinics to take you on and train you to become an injector/prescriber straight away, as they haven’t employed you just to equip you will the skills to leave and set up your own business.

Many nurses take this route, and choose to train in injectables at a later date. Remember that if you work as an employee in a clinic before you become an independent injector/prescriber, you gain valuable experience of the industry and get to train in a range of extra treatments, so this gives you a great grounding for setting up your own aesthetics practice in future.


Cosmetic surgery nurses


Private hospitals require the same type of personnel as NHS hospitals, so many nursing roles are available in theatres, and pre- and post-operative care wards. Depending on the specialities of the clinic, you may be assisting surgeons who are performing cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, or vascular or weight-loss surgery, or monitoring patients on the wards. If you’ve already had experience of working with surgical teams or providing pre- and post-operative care in the public sector, you’ll have the essential skills needed for a role in cosmetic surgery.


Non-clinical roles: management, training and field sales


Nurses working in aesthetics don’t all work as practising clinicians, as this skill set is also desirable for other roles. The medical knowledge gained from nursing training and practical experience of aesthetic treatments is often seen as a good foundation for clinic management. Your health and safety knowledge means you’ll understand Care Quality Commission requirements, and if you’ve also got experience of non-surgical treatments you’ll be better equipped to supervise other aestheticians. Do remember that clinic roles usually require sales skills too, so this is a route best suited to those with commercial acumen.

If sales is an area of work that you really do enjoy, then you may also be able to consider sales roles for companies who manufacture or distribute aesthetic equipment, devices, prescription-grade skincare products, or pharmaceuticals. If you have practical experience of using aesthetic laser devices, cosmeceuticals, or toxins, and you can demonstrate that you have sales experience, perhaps prior to or during your nursing career, and the ability to sell to business owners and senior medical professionals, field sales could be for you. With companies usually paying a fair basic salary with the chance to earn a very good rate of commission on sales, these roles can earn you a great income, but do remember that a good deal of travel will be involved, and you’ll sometimes have to work late or at weekends, especially when trade shows are on.

If sales isn’t for you, but you enjoy imparting your knowledge, working with other aesthetic practitioners, and travelling, then perhaps training roles are worth considering. Aesthetic training course providers and suppliers of devices and pharmaceuticals all employ training staff to educate clients and clinicians, so you can work in a business-to-business role without having to worry about hitting sales targets.


Useful information

Use the NHS careers website to find a nursing degree course or to read information on nursing career options.

The Royal College of Nursing ‘s website provides information on becoming a nurse.

The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses website.


[This blog is intended to provide basic, useful information for those looking for a career in aesthetics. ARC Aesthetic Professionals is a recruitment consultancy – we do not provide or organise aesthetics training or insurance; we are not an advisory body or industry regulator.

Please note that while we’re happy to help where we can, we are not an industry authority that can provide official guidance on industry requirements or regulations.]


9 Responses to “How to become … an aesthetic nurse”

  1. Paige says:


    I just wanted to say how helpful this was!

    I’m in the first stages in starting my nursing degree and this has helped me massively.

    So whoever wrote this, thank you thank you thank you!

    It’s all I wanted to know and more and couldn’t find it anywhere :)

  2. Nicole says:


    Can any type of nurse do cosmetic training?


  3. Heather says:


    Apologies is this is not the right forum for this post. I have been a RGN for 11 years and am considering adding another string to my bow and training in Botox/fillers etc. I was just wondering if anyone would mind sharing their experiences in becoming an asthetics nurse with regards to finding clients and establishing a relationship with a GP to prescribe the Botox? Can anyone recommend a company to do the training with?


  4. Ellie says:


    This is very helpful, I have been searching for years into Aesthetic nursing and I’ve always found it a very grey area!

    I know you say about doing a V300 course in order to be able to prescribe (which I completely understand would help greatly). But what about filler? I know botox has to be prescribed, but what about if I wanted to administer lip fillers etc? Is this possible to do without getting prescribed?

    Sorry It may sound like a silly question but I am a third year student nurse and I feel like I have forever been trying to find the answer!

    Thanks, Ellie

  5. Victoria Vilas says:

    Hi Ellie,

    Thank you, glad the article has been useful!

    And no, that’s not a silly question at all! Dermal fillers do not require a prescription. Rather than rambling on about it here, there’s more about it in this article:

    Hope that helps!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hello, I recently finished nursing school in Mexico, in my country to be an aesthetic nurse it´s actually so new I can have studies outside of my country, so the part that says “at least three years of general adult nursing experience before you move into aesthetic nursing”. What happens if I don´t have that and wan to apply directly to aesthetic nurse. I would really like to get enrolled in a program of Aesthetic nurse.

    Best regards

    • Victoria Vilas says:

      Hello! Nursing training differs from country to country, and being honest, we are not knowledgeable on nursing in Mexico and whether your training will be accepted by providers of aesthetic training in the UK. Because of that, I don’t want to answer your question and risk giving you the wrong answer!

      However, I would suggest contacting the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and the BACN (British Association of Cosmetic Nurses) as they may be able to answer your question.

      Good luck with your career!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright 2013 ARC Aesthetic Professionals | Site Map