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Community Health Nursing Certification

Find out what a community health nurse does and the training required for the field. Get information about certification and its possible effects on your employment.

What Is Community Health Nursing Certification?

Community health nurses promote health and assist with disease prevention by educating patients and coordinating community health programs. Community health nursing, sometimes called public health nursing, is an advanced practice nursing specialty. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers the Advanced Public Health Nurse-Board Certified credential.

If you completed a clinical nurse specialist master's degree program, you may be eligible to earn the Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist-Board Certified credential. In previous years, the ANCC offered board certification to RNs with bachelor's degrees, but that certification has since been retired.

Certification Offered Advanced Public Health Nurse-Board Certified credential through the The American Nurses Credentialing Center
Prerequisites RN license, master's degree, clinical experience
Job Outlook (2016-2026)15% growth (for registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2018)$71,730 (for registered nurses)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Criteria for Certification?

Eligibility requirements include an RN license and a master's degree in nursing. Community health and public health nursing are common concentrations in master's degree programs. You also need clinical experience and subject area knowledge of epidemiology, biometrics, environmental health and case management. Completion of an initial certification exam is required, and you need to renew your certification every five years.

Requirements for renewal may differ, depending on how many clinical hours you've completed in your specialty; for example, if you earn fewer than 1,000 clinical hours in a 5-year period, you may be subject to additional testing. Professional development or continuing education courses may also be necessary. Beginning in 2014, ANCC expects all advanced practice nurses to complete at least 25 contact hours in pharmacology.

What Would Certification Mean for My Career?

Board-certified community health nurses may work in various settings, including health departments, government agencies, schools and non-governmental organizations. You may work with high-risk or under-served patients and be involved in program planning and implementation. According to PayScale.com, most community health nurses earned between $42,000 and $85,000 as of July 2019, not including bonuses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that nurses would be in high demand from 2016-2026, especially in underserved areas (www.bls.gov).