Plastic Surgery Nurse 2021 Salary Guide

by NurseJournal Staff
• 5 min read

Interested in working as a plastic surgery nurse? Explore information about plastic or cosmetic nurse salaries with this guide.

Plastic Surgery Nurse 2021 Salary Guide

In This Article

Average Salary for Plastic Surgery Nurses | What Kind of Salary Growth Can Plastic Surgery Nurses Expect? | Highest-Paying and Lowest-Paying States for Plastic Surgery Nurses | Plastic Surgery Nursing Salary by Workplace Setting | Ways to Increase Pay as a Plastic Surgery Nurse | Frequently Asked Questions | Learn More

Plastic surgery nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work alongside surgeons performing invasive and cosmetic procedures on individuals who need reconstructive surgery or want to change their appearance. This career path can offer many advantages. For instance, plastic surgery nurses earn a strong annual mean salary of $80,010.

This guide covers everything you need to know about plastic surgery nurse salaries. It uses 2020 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a government organization with comprehensive statistics on employment and salaries.

For more on plastic surgery nurses, check out NurseJournal's career page.

Fast Facts About Plastic Surgery Nurses

  • Annual salaries for all RNs range from $53,410 to $116,230.
  • Plastic surgery nurses work in several roles and settings, including physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, and sales.
  • Plastic surgery nurses provide perioperative and postoperative care on cosmetic and reconstructive procedures.

Source: BLS, 2020 | International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses (ISPAN)

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Average Salary for Plastic Surgery Nurses

Although the BLS does not report salary information for nurses in the plastic surgery specialty, these nurses fall under the broader category of RNs. The BLS reports the average annual pay for RNs as $80,010, with salaries typically ranging from $53,410 to $116,230.

In addition, this profession comes with many job opportunities. The BLS projects a 7% employment growth for RNs from 2019 to 2029.


Average Annual Salary for all RNs

Source: BLS, 2020


Average Hourly Wage for all RNs

Source: BLS, 2020

What Kind of Salary Growth Can Plastic Surgery Nurses Expect?

The table below shows how plastic and aesthetic nurse salaries increase as they gain experience. The data, which displays the average RN income over time, comes from the 2020 Medscape RN/LPN Compensation Report.

Average Annual Salary of Plastic Surgery Nurses by Experience

Highest-Paying and Lowest-Paying States for Plastic Surgery Nurses in 2020

Although the BLS does not provide salary data specifically for plastic surgery nurses, these nurses share a similar scope of practice as RNs. This information, therefore, comes from BLS data on RNs as a whole.

The highest-paying states for RNs include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Alaska. The annual mean wage for nurses in California reached $120,560 in 2020.

In contrast, Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi, Iowa, and Arkansas ranked as the lowest-paying states for RNs. The continued demand for plastic surgery also drives higher salaries. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' 2018 statistics, Western states demonstrated the greatest demand for plastic surgery.

Find Out More About How Much Nurses Earned in 2020

Plastic Surgery Nursing Salary by Workplace Setting

Workplace setting affects wages for plastic surgery nurses as well. The table below displays data from the BLS on the average salary for RNs in different workplaces. Outpatient care centers and general medical and surgical hospitals listed average earnings above the mean RN salary. Nurses working in physicians' offices saw a mean salary below $72,000, less than average RN pay overall.

Workplace Setting Average Salary
Outpatient Care Centers $89,300
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $81,680
Physicians' Offices $71,660
Source: BLS, 2020

4 Ways to Increase Pay as a Plastic Surgery Nurse

As with any industry, plastic surgery nurse salaries vary based on several factors. A nurse with 20 years of experience in Los Angeles may earn more than a recent graduate in Little Rock, Arkansas. Certifications, education level, and professional membership organizations can also make a difference.

The following list provides four ways for plastic surgery nurses to increase their pay.

1. Become a certified plastic surgery nurse.
Board certification demonstrates that nurses possess the knowledge and experience to qualify as experts within their specialty areas. Nurses can also use their certification as leverage to negotiate for higher pay. Interested nurses can apply for the certified plastic surgery nurse credential from the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB).
2. Pursue an advanced degree.
Even though a nurse only needs an associate or bachelor's degree to qualify for RN licensure, a master's or even doctorate in nursing can lead to positions with greater responsibility and better pay.
Nurses who already possess an associate degree can take advantage of nursing bridge programs. These degrees allow nurses to earn bachelor's or master's degrees with an accelerated timeline, and many allow professionals to continue their work while studying.
3. Relocate to a higher-paying region.
Location also contributes to plastic surgery salaries. Urban areas, places with a greater demand for plastic surgery, and regions with higher living costs usually deliver higher salaries. States like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Oregon generally offer higher salaries for RNs.
4. Join an organization.
Becoming a member of a professional organization like ISPAN can lead to higher pay. While ISPAN membership will not automatically result in higher salaries, being a part of these groups can help nurses meet other professionals and network with potential employers in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions: Plastic Surgery Nurses

How much do plastic surgery nurses make?

Along with other RNs, plastic surgery nurses make a mean annual salary of $80,010, according to the BLS. Specific plastic and cosmetic nurse salaries vary, though, based on factors like experience and location. BLS figures show that plastic surgery nurse salaries can range from $53,410-$116,230.

What does a plastic surgery nurse do?

Plastic surgery nurses take on important roles during invasive and surgical procedures. They screen patients, educate them on procedures, and provide perioperative and postoperative care. Some plastic surgery nurses perform noninvasive procedures, such as Botox or chemical peels, without the supervision of doctors.

How do I become a plastic surgery nurse?

First, nurses need either an associate or a bachelor's degree to earn RN licensure. Many plastic surgeons' offices and departments offer orientation or training to nurses who wish to specialize in plastic surgery nursing. Nurses interested in this field need two years of experience working within plastic or cosmetic surgery before applying for board certification. They also need to pass a PSNCB exam.

What factors influence plastic surgery nurse salaries?

Several elements factor into plastic surgery nurse salaries. Areas with greater demand for plastic surgeries and a higher cost of living typically come with higher salaries. Years of experience can affect pay, since nurses receive raises as they gain knowledge and expertise. Certification and education level can also play a role as nurses with advanced degrees often earn greater salaries.

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