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Negotiating Your Worth as an Aesthetic Nurse

Getting information regarding the average pay of an aesthetic practitioner isn’t particularly easy. People don’t often share their pay and even when they do, results can vary greatly depending on roles, experience and location. But, some of the best data available online for aesthetic practitioners can be found in the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists’ 2010 Practice Profile Survey. While the data is from 2009, we can expect the incomes to have risen at a steady pace since then due to increased demand.

Key Observations

By far, most aesthetic practitioners are female aestheticians above 40 with 10 years of experience and work for Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons. While registered nurses make up the second largest group of practitioners, they have generally higher incomes. Still, most employees are paid a base hourly rate with commissions and bonuses resulting in yearly incomes exceeding $50K/year (BLS reports that now all registered nurses make closer to $70k/year). As you might know, this is a lucrative field that provides new opportunities for medical professionals. But, you still need to make sure you are properly compensated for the value you provide for a practice.

Showing Your Value

Some of the data from the survey is predictable. The more experienced you are, the more services you can provide which will increase hours and commission. Aesthetic practitioners need to make sure they are recognized for their experience. What the data doesn’t show is the benefits that people with experience can bring to a practice, such as more patients. With more benefits being added to hourly rates, there is room to negotiate profit sharing. (Each practice must research their state’s laws. In some states, profit sharing in medical practices is explicitly illegal).

Beyond Negotiations

There are countless articles of advice available online that can help you better negotiate your terms of contract, but nothing can provide more insight than actually knowing what your peers are paid. As the political arena in the United States has brought more attention to the income disparity between men and women, there is no better place to look than in the medical field. Generally, as skills, experience and credentials become more important, the gender wage gap increases. So, don’t settle. Ask peers and friends if they would be willing to disclose their pay and that you will share in kind. You might be surprised at what you learn, and you might learn that you deserve better.