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Becoming A Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist

In this blog post, we’ll dive into everything about becoming a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS), including the training and requirements, the benefits of becoming one, the exam and training process, and more. Let’s begin!

The road to becoming an aesthetic nurse specialist requires dedication, commitment and passion for the craft. In addition to completing formal education and certifications, aesthetic nurses must possess certain qualities that set them apart from other healthcare professionals. 

What Is a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist?

A CANS is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed specialized training and certification in the field of aesthetic nursing. This certification demonstrates that the nurse has met rigorous standards of knowledge, skill, and experience in administering non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, and laser treatments. 

This career is the pinnacle of success for any aspiring nurse. It offers a truly unique opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and help them look and feel their best. CANS are highly sought-after professionals with specialized knowledge and skills related to cosmetic treatments and procedures, allowing them to provide enhanced patient care.

Prerequisites And Qualifications To Become A Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist

Achieving certification as an aesthetic nurse specialist is like running a marathon: it requires dedication, endurance, and careful preparation. In order to become certified, there are several prerequisites and qualifications that must be met.

  • Valid Nursing License

The first requirement for becoming a CANS is to hold a valid nursing license. Depending on the state, this can include having a diploma from an accredited registered nursing program or having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

  • Two Years of Aesthetic Practice Experience

Additionally, all applicants must have at least two years of experience practicing as registered nurses in an aesthetic setting such as medical spas, dermatology practices, cosmetic surgery centers, and plastic surgery offices.

  • Aesthetic Nursing Certification Examination Passer

In addition to these basic requirements, potential candidates must also pass the Aesthetic Nursing Certification Examination administered by the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB). 

This exam covers topics such as skin care treatments and techniques, anatomy and physiology of the skin, pharmacology related to aesthetics, laser and light-based treatments, business aspects of aesthetics practice, patient safety protocols, and legal considerations. The PSNCB also offers continuing education courses that provide additional preparation for the exam.

Once all criteria have been met successfully, and certification has been awarded, nurses gain access to valuable resources such as professional development opportunities with industry experts and access to clinical research studies. With this knowledge base in hand, it is possible for aesthetic nurse specialists to provide safe and effective services to their clients while staying up-to-date with industry developments.

Benefits Of Becoming A CANS

Becoming a CANS can offer many benefits to nurses interested in pursuing a career in aesthetic nursing. Here are some of the key benefits of obtaining this certification:

  • Demonstrated Expertise

A CANS certification demonstrates that a nurse has met rigorous standards of knowledge, skill, and experience in administering non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, and laser treatments. This certification can set you apart from other nurses and demonstrate to potential employers that you have the expertise necessary to provide high-quality care to patients.

  • Career Opportunities

Obtaining a CANS certification can open up many career opportunities in the field of aesthetic nursing. It can allow you to work in a variety of settings, including medical spas, plastic surgery offices, and dermatology practices. Additionally, it can increase your earning potential and allow you to work with a wider range of patients and treatments.

  • Professional Development

Pursuing a CANS certification can provide a sense of professional satisfaction and pride in your accomplishments. It demonstrates a commitment to ongoing education and development in the field of aesthetic nursing, which can be personally and professionally rewarding.

  • Credibility

A CANS certification can provide credibility to a nurse’s practice in the eyes of patients and other healthcare professionals. It shows that the nurse has completed specialized training and has demonstrated a high level of knowledge and skill in the field of aesthetic nursing.

  • Networking

Pursuing a CANS certification can provide opportunities to network with other nurses and healthcare professionals in the field of aesthetic nursing. This can allow you to learn from others, share your knowledge and experience, and develop relationships that can be valuable throughout your career.

These benefits make becoming a CANS an appealing option for nurses looking to advance their careers in aesthetic medicine. With its potential for increased job opportunities, higher wages, and expanded resources for professional growth, obtaining this certification has become a popular choice amongst healthcare professionals wishing to specialize in aesthetic nursing services. 

Education And Training Requirements

The education and training requirements for becoming a certified aesthetic nurse specialist are quite comprehensive. Most states require that applicants have an associate’s degree in nursing or higher before taking any certification exams. Applicants must complete advanced medical aesthetics coursework, such as skin anatomy and physiology, laser treatments, and injectables. Many programs also offer hands-on experience with patients through clinical rotations or externships.

Once all educational requirements are met, candidates must pass the CANS exam administered by the PSNCB. The CANS exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as patient assessment, procedures & treatments, safety & legal responsibilities, pharmacology & medication administration, and more.

Candidates can prepare for this exam using online resources and practice tests offered by PSNCB and various professional organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses (ASPSN). Moving forward, candidates should be aware of the exam preparation and testing process necessary for becoming a CANS.

Exam Preparation And Testing Process 

Preparation for becoming an aesthetic nurse specialist includes completing a series of exams and tests that demonstrate expertise in patient care and safety.

The exam process typically begins with a written examination covering topics such as medical terminology and patient assessment. After passing the written exam, candidates take part in a hands-on practical examination assessing their ability to perform specific aesthetic procedures such as laser treatments and injectable fillers. The practitioner must demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of clinical practice before being awarded certification. 

To ensure successful completion of both the written and practical examinations, many candidates choose to participate in preparation courses offered by accredited organizations. These courses provide an opportunity to review key concepts, brush up on skills, and gain insight into test-taking strategies from experienced professionals. 

Additionally, some states may require additional certifications or credentials prior to taking the exams; potential applicants should research their state’s requirements thoroughly before beginning their studies. 

Career Opportunities For CANS

CANS have ample career opportunities. These include positions in medical spas, cosmetic surgery centers, dermatology clinics, and other healthcare settings. Many certified aesthetic nurses also choose to pursue a career as independent practitioners or consultants. The following are five job possibilities for individuals who obtain their certification:

  • Medical Spa Nurse – Aesthetic nurses working in medical spas are responsible for performing treatments such as laser hair removal, facial injections, Botox injections and chemical peels.
  • Cosmetic Surgery Nurse – Aesthetic nurses specializing in cosmetic surgery are typically responsible for pre-operative assessments and post-operative care. They may also assist the surgeon during operations in some cases.
  • Dermatology Clinic Nurse – Aesthetic nurses working in dermatology clinics provide treatments such as skin examination, acne treatment, and injectable fillers.
  • Plastic Surgery Clinic Nurse – Aesthetic nurses practicing plastic surgery provide pre-operative assessments and post-operative care to patients before and after surgeries, such as breast augmentations, face lifts, and rhinoplasties.
  • Independent Practitioner/Consultant – Many aesthetic nurse specialists choose to become independent practitioners or consultants to work with clients on a one-on-one basis. These professionals often provide services such as skin analysis, product recommendations, and beauty advice.

All these jobs can be rewarding for those interested in a career related to aesthetics. With the right training and certification, CANS can pursue a variety of professional opportunities that offer the chance to help people feel more confident about their appearance.


The field of aesthetic nursing is becoming increasingly popular as a specialty. Aesthetic nurses fill an important role in providing cosmetic treatments to clients and helping them to look and feel their best. Becoming a certified aesthetic nurse specialist can open the door to a fulfilling career with numerous opportunities for advancement.

Academy for Advanced Practice can help you start your aesthetic career with our comprehensive aesthetic training programs. From botox and dermal fillers to joint injection training, we have experienced instructors with real-life experience in the field. Book an appointment to learn more!

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