How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

If you’re interested in a dermatology nursing career, one of the first questions you’re likely to have is, “How do I become a dermatology nurse?”

We’re here to answer that question today! This post will discuss how to become a dermatology nurse, including what education, licenses, and training you do (and don’t!) need.

Do I Need a Special Degree for Dermatology Nursing?

First, we want to clarify a common question people have when embarking on a dermatology nursing career: What specific degrees or certifications do I need?

The answer is that you don’t need any additional degrees, education, or certifications to become a dermatology nurse after completing your nursing degree program and obtaining your licensure. Some job positions may require additional certification or training, but many do not. 

If you’re a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN), you can apply for jobs in the dermatology field fresh out of college and with no previous work experience. Additional experience and earned specialty certifications can always help you land higher-paying jobs, but they’re not needed to enter the field.  

How to Become a Dermatology Nurse 

Want to know how to become a dermatology nurse? Let’s look at the process, starting from the ground up. 

1. Choose Your Desired Licensure 

Before you do anything else, you’ll want to consider what type of nurse you’d like to become. The degree program you’ll complete will depend on the licensure you want to obtain.

These are your choices, in order of how quickly you can complete a degree program:

  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN)
  • Registered nurse (RN)
  • Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)

2. Complete a Nursing Education Program

After you’ve selected your desired licensure (or at least what you’d like to start with), you’ll want to pick a degree program.

LPNs and LVNs need to complete a nursing program, which may award a certificate or diploma and typically take about one year to complete but may take longer. These programs are usually found in technical schools and community colleges, but some may be available in high schools or hospitals.

RNs also need formal education. It’s common to obtain your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) when becoming an RN (and many employers prefer candidates with BSNs). Still, you can complete an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma program instead. These programs can take between two to four years on average. 

To become an APRN, you’ll need to complete a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). These degree programs typically take an average of two years each. 

3. Pass Your Licensure Exam 

After completing your degree, you must pass your licensure exam. 

LPNs will need to take the NCLEX-PN exam, and RNs will need to take the NCLEX-RN exam

4. Consider Dermatology Certifications 

You won’t need dermatology certifications to get started in the dermatology field, but they definitely won’t hurt. There are several different certifications that dermatology nurses can obtain in order to demonstrate their proficiency and skill set. These certifications can help increase your competitiveness in the job market, qualify you for higher-level positions, and help you earn more. 

The most common is the Dermatology Nurse Certified (DNC) certification from the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. However, you can only apply to sit for the exam after two years of working as an RN in the dermatology specialty, so this is a good one to obtain after starting your career.

You can also become certified in different cosmetology practices, allowing you to administer treatments like botox, chemical peels, laser hair removal, dermabrasion, and tattoo removal. To become an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse, you’ll need to obtain your Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist certification.  

And if you’re working as a nurse practitioner (NP), you can get certifications specific to your licensure in the dermatology field. A great example would be the Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP) certification from the Dermatology Nurses’ Association. 

Final Thoughts 

Working as a dermatology nurse can be enriching and fulfilling, and the good news is that it’s no harder to become a dermatology nurse than to join any other nursing specialty

When new to the field and looking for a job, remember the following tips to increase your success:

  • Keep your options open. Dermatology nurses don’t just work in private offices; they may also work in spas, hospitals, and outpatient facilities.
  • Look for jobs that match your experience. Jobs requiring a certification you can only complete after two years in the field are an automatic no, so keep an eye out for entry-level positions. 
  • Search by licensure. Instead of just searching for “dermatology nurse,” try searching for “dermatology nurse RN” or “dermatology nurse LPN” to find jobs you’re well suited for. 

What do you think? Are you interested in becoming a dermatology nurse? Have any questions? Check out our community and talk to real nurses to get their feedback!

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