Cosmetic Surgery Nurse: Salary and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cosmetic surgery nurse. Get a quick view of the salary as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Cosmetic surgery nurses are registered nurses who work specifically with patients undergoing cosmetic or plastic surgery. Like all nurses, they typically must earn a degree in nursing and pass the national licensing exam. Professional certification as a cosmetic surgery nurse is optional. It requires experience in the field and passing an examination. Salary information for this nursing specialty is not available, but demand for nurses in general is growing and salaries are above average.

Required Education Diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing*
Other Requirements National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)*
Projected Job Growth 19% from 2012-22 (all registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2013) $66,220 (all registered nurses)*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Salary Information

Although there is no data specific to cosmetic surgery nurses, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2012, the median annual salary for registered nurses was $66,220 (www.bls.gov). Employment for registered nurses is also expected to increase at a faster rate than most occupations, according to the BLS, rising 19% from 2012-2022.

Career Information

A cosmetic surgery nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who primarily cares for cosmetic surgery patients. Cosmetic surgery typically includes elective plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction, facelifts and tummy tucks; however, some cosmetic surgery nurses may also care for patients undergoing reconstructive surgery from severe burns, birth defects or deformities generated by cancer.

A cosmetic surgery nurse has many of the same responsibilities as other surgical and operating room nurses, including sterilizing equipment, preparing the operating room and caring for patients before and after surgery. Often, cosmetic surgery nurses work at private clinics and serve patients with very specific requests.


In addition to being a registered nurse, someone interested in pursuing a career as a cosmetic surgery nurse may wish to apply for voluntary certification from the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board. Certification typically requires a current RN license, at least two years experience as a plastic surgery nurse and passing the certification exam.

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