How to Become an Aesthetic Nurse in the UK

According to the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) there are over 4000 aesthetic nurses in the UK. The cosmetic industry continues to grow rapidly and is set to be worth well over £900 million by 2019 in the UK alone. With numerous benefits, including monetary reward and greater professional flexibility, it’s no wonder that many nurses in the UK are considering entering aesthetic medicine.

In fact, compared to doctors, dentists, and clinics combined, aesthetic nurses perform the majority of Botulinum Toxin and dermal filler treatments in the UK.

Based on the projected growth of the cosmetic industry and continuing economical pressures within the healthcare sector, there couldn’t be a better time to begin a career in aesthetic medicine. But how do you become an aesthetic nurse in the UK? It’s probably easier than you think… Here it is, in 7 simple steps.

1. NMC Registration

Before you attend any Botulinum Toxin (sometimes known as Botox®) and filler training you must have a valid NMC registration. The BACN also advocate that you attain at least 3 years of general adult nursing experience before entering into the specialised area of aesthetic nursing. This is to ensure that you have a solid foundation of transferable knowledge and experience in general nursing. Having this will allow you to progress smoothly and successfully into any specialty, including aesthetic practice.

British Association Of Cosmetic Nurses


2. Prescribing or Non-Prescribing?

Botulinum Toxin is a prescription-only medicine. This means that your clients will need to have Botulinum Toxin prescribed to them before any treatment can be administered. You may already be a nurse prescriber, in which case you’ll be able to do the prescribing yourself. However, if you’re not a nurse prescriber then there are two options available to you:

Complete the V300 course:

Completing the Non-Medical Prescribing (V300) course provides you with the most autonomy and flexibility although it involves an initial commitment of time and training. This aesthetic nurse course is offered through many universities in the UK and once completed, you will be qualified to prescribe Botulinum Toxin. This is a recommended option if you’re considering changing your career to become a full-time aesthetic nurse.

Arrange an alternative prescriber:

Prior to performing Botulinum Toxin treatment on a client, you can arrange for a doctor, dentist, or nurse prescriber to do a consultation with them. They can then prescribe the Botulinum Toxin. However, this option is only suggested if you are planning to work through an established aesthetic practise.

If you’re not sure which is the best option for you then you can discuss this with your training provider. The NMC and your indemnity provider will also be able to offer advice and support with regards to this matter.

3. Find a Training Provider

Of course, one of the biggest steps in becoming an aesthetic nurse in the UK is to find a training provider and begin your course. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, not only by the number of training providers, but also by the variations in the courses that they offer.   

Here are the most important factors that you should look for when choosing a training provider:

  • Combined courses in Botulinum Toxin and dermal fillers. As an aesthetic nurse, it’s likely that the majority of your clients will request a combination of Botulinum Toxin and dermal filler treatments. Some training providers offer separate courses for Botulinum Toxin and dermal fillers. Combined courses, however, usually provide better value for money and encourage a client-centred approach. This means that a range of treatment options are considered, based on the client’s individual needs and expectations.

  • Training with live model patients – never mannequins! This is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a training provider. You will only be able to gain direct tactile feedback from injecting live model patients. Furthermore, practice with live model patients allows you to develop your consultation technique, understand the importance of positioning and lighting, and learn how to manage difficulties and complications as they occur in real-time.

  • Trainers who are all qualified (or training) surgeons in the fields of plastic surgery or maxillofacial surgery. It’s essential that you learn under trainers who are clinically up to date and have advanced understanding and skill in handling the facial tissues, through an expert knowledge of facial anatomy.

  • A competitive trainer to delegate ratio. Some training providers ‘mass produce’ aesthetic practitioners with large groups of students learning under one supervisor. To become a confident and competent aesthetic nurse, look for a course which offers small group tuition. This will ensure you receive maximum injecting experience, close supervision and continuous feedback.

  • Always make sure that any training course you attend is CPD certified and fully insured. CPD certification guarantees you a high standard of teaching and the CPD points can be used towards annual appraisals and revalidation. Courses should be fully insured under a recognised insurance body in order to protect you, as the delegate, and the cosmetic model patients you will be training with. You should also check that courses offered are fully compliant with the most up-to-date guidelines outlined by Health Education England (HEE) and the General Medical Council (GMC).

  • If you want to hit the ground running and start practicing as an aesthetic nurse as soon as possible, choose a training provider that also offers business and marketing support. Not only will you learn how to perform aesthetic treatments, you’ll also be provided with a structured approach to setting up an aesthetic business and tips on how to make the most of this lucrative industry.

  • Finally, choose a training provider that offers courses with the most highly regarded seal of approval - Level 7 Accreditation. More about this in the next step.

4. Book and Attend Your Aesthetic Nurse Training Course

You’ve found your training provider! Now it’s time to book your course. To become an aesthetic nurse in the UK, you will first need to complete a Combined Foundation Course in Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers. A good foundation course will cover upper face Botulinum Toxin and lower face dermal filler treatments. The course should deliver extensive theoretical teaching on applied facial anatomy, product pharmacology and the principles of treatment. Delegates should then gain hands on experience by injecting live cosmetic model patients under the close supervision of an expert trainer. This will provide you with expert critique and guidance throughout the process. On successful completion of the course, you’ll be awarded a recognised certificate that will allow you to begin your journey practicing as an aesthetic nurse.
What is Level 7 Accreditation?

You may want to take your foundation training one step further and gain a Level 7 Qualification in Injectables for Aesthetic Medicine. This certificate has been designed and created by the governing bodies to improve and standardise aesthetics training. The Level 7 Certificate therefore represents the most reputable qualification currently available in the UK today. It should be noted that you need to be an independent prescriber to complete the Level 7 certificate.

Regardless of whether or not you want to achieve the full Level 7 certificate, it is advisable to choose a training provider that is recognised with Level 7 accreditation. This will ensure that you receive the highest quality of teaching available on the market. Additionally, by completing foundation training with a Level 7 accredited provider you can choose to pursue the full certificate without having to repeat your initial training.

5. Get Insurance and Source Products and Consumables

After you’ve completed your Foundation Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers training course and received your certificate, you will need to get indemnity insurance. You will also need to decide where you plan to source your products from. As an independent prescriber, it may be easier to order them independently through an online pharmacy, such as Health Xchange or Church Pharmacy. Alternatively, you may plan on using the products and consumables supplied by the practice in which you will be working. Either way, as the practitioner it is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully equipped to deliver treatments with products and consumables which are sterile, in date, untampered, and appropriate for use.

6. Begin Practicing

Now for the exciting part! It’s now time to start practicing as an aesthetic nurse and develop your skills further. To support a seamless transition into practice and ensure your professional growth, it is a good idea to seek further training opportunities. This includes an Advanced Course in Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers, one-to-one training courses, or even the Level 7 certificate. It is also recommended that you find a senior mentor or supervisor to guide you during this initial phase of practice.

7. Build Your Skills

In terms of training, a Foundation Course in Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers is all you need to begin your journey and become an aesthetic nurse in the UK. However, this only covers basic Botulinum Toxin and dermal filler treatments. Once you’ve mastered those, you can take an Advanced Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers course that will allow you to practice more advanced techniques and offer a greater range of treatments to your clients. As an aesthetic nurse, you should strive to attend as many courses, conferences and masterclasses accessible through the cosmetic industry. You may also want to consider branching out into other areas of cosmetic practice, such as skin resurfacing techniques or cosmeceuticals.