Complete Guide to the Dermatology Nurse Practitioner (DNP) Specialty

Last Updated/Verified: Mar 2, 2024

Definition: What Is a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner?

A Dermatology Nurse Practitioner (DNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who specializes in providing comprehensive care for patients with skin, hair, and nail conditions. DNPs in dermatology are trained to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of dermatological conditions, including skin cancers, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more. They work collaboratively with dermatologists and other healthcare professionals to offer patient-centered care that addresses both the medical and aesthetic aspects of dermatology.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice for dermatology nurse practitioners is diverse and encompasses various facets of dermatological care ranging from skincare, disease prevention, and cosmetic procedures. DNPs are skilled in the following:

  • Conducting thorough skin assessments
  • Identifying and diagnosing skin disorders
  • Developing personalized treatment plans
  • Skin biopsies
  • Cryotherapy
  • Providing patient education on skincare
  • Assisting with cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections

Skills & Abilities

Dermatology nurse practitioners possess a unique skill set tailored to the intricacies of skin health and disease. They are proficient in differentiating between various dermatological conditions based on visual cues and diagnostic tests. DNPs excel in the use of dermatoscopy to analyze skin lesions and identify potential malignancies. Their ability to provide patients with education about skin conditions, treatment options, and skincare routines empowers patients to actively participate in their care. Communication skills are crucial in discussing treatment plans, addressing patient concerns, and collaborating with dermatologists and other specialists to ensure holistic patient management.

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Certification & Subspecialties

To become a certified dermatology nurse practitioner, individuals typically follow a path similar to other nurse practitioners. They begin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, gain experience as registered nurses, and then pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a focus on dermatology. After completing their education, aspiring DNPs can seek certification through organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the Dermatology Nurses’ Association (DNA).

Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP)DCNP: Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner
OrganizationDermatology Nurses’ AssociationDermatology Nurse Practitioner Certification Board (DNPCB)
CostDNA member: $200
Nonmember: $275
Number of Questions175175
Eligibility RequirementsHold a current and unrestricted license as a registered nurse (RN) in the U.S. or Canada

Have a minimum of 2 years of dermatology nursing experience as an RN

Have a minimum of 2000 hours of work experience in dermatology nursing within the past 2 years in a general staff, administrative, teaching, or research capacity
Current NP State Licensure

Master's degree in nursing
National certification as a nurse practitioner

Minimum of 3,000 hours of general dermatology practice within the last 3 years and with current practice in dermatology (hours obtained from a formal dermatology NP academic program count towards the 3,000 hours)

While dermatology itself is a specialized field, DNPs may choose to specialize further in areas such as:

  • Cosmetic dermatology
  • Pediatric dermatology
  • Dermatological surgery

Becoming a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a dermatology nurse practitioner requires a comprehensive educational journey. Aspiring DNPs typically start with a BSN degree, gain clinical experience as registered nurses, and then pursue advanced nurse practitioner education with a specialization in dermatology. Advanced nursing programs provide specialized knowledge in dermatological assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and patient education. After completing their education, individuals can seek national certification and state licensure as a nurse practitioner specializing in dermatology.

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Employment Opportunities

Dermatology nurse practitioners find employment opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings. These include:

  • Dermatology clinics
  • Private practices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical spas
  • Academic medical centers

DNPs play a critical role in providing both medical and cosmetic dermatological care, offering solutions to a wide range of skin conditions and concerns. Their ability to diagnose and treat skin disorders, as well as their knowledge of aesthetic procedures, make them valuable assets in enhancing patients’ skin health and confidence.

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Salaries for dermatology nurse practitioners can vary based on factors such as geographic location, years of experience, education level, and the specific healthcare setting. The median annual wage for dermatology nurse practitioners as of 2023 was around $108,264. Given the specialized nature of dermatology and the potential inclusion of cosmetic procedures in their practice, DNPs specializing in dermatology may command competitive salaries.