What Are the Requirements to Be a School Nurse?

As a school nurse, you'll work in an educational setting and care for students and faculty members. The work of a school nurse may involve accessing students for injuries or illnesses, stopping the spread of communicable diseases or conditions, such as head lice, and implementing activities to keep the school environment as healthy as possible. Read on to learn more about the requirements to become a school nurse. Schools offering Nursing & Public Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A school nursing position is a registered nursing position. This means you must fulfill the requirements for becoming a registered nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), you must complete a nursing education program and become licensed through your state. You may also consider becoming certified in school nursing.

Important Facts About Registered Nurses

Key Skills Critical thinking, communication, compassion, stamina, organization
Similar Occupations Dental hygienist, paramedic, physician's assistant
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 16%
Median Salary (2015) $39,318 per year

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com

Education and Training

The BLS states there are three options in nursing education. You may complete a diploma program offered by a hospital, earn an associate's degree in nursing, or earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are more readily available than diploma programs. If you wish to continue your education in nursing, a BSN will best prepare you for entering a graduate program. However, any of the three options will help you to meet the requirements for state licensing.

Any nursing program will include instruction in the classroom and clinical practice under the supervision of a licensed RN. Bachelor's degree programs will offer the most clinical practice and may allow you to practice in different settings, such as nursing facilities and hospitals. When choosing a program, it's important to choose one that is approved by the state in which you will be licensed.

Licensing and Certification

Licensing requirements and procedures are handled at the state level, usually by the state board of nursing. However, in every state, to become a RN, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Additional requirements, such as continuing education, may be set by each state and must be completed to legally work as a RN.

Unlike licensing, certification is voluntary. Certification as a school nurse is available through organizations, such as the National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN, www.nbcsn.org). The NBCSN offers a national certification that allows you to prove your skills and knowledge in the field of school nursing.

The NBCSN certification is available to you if you pass the certification exam. To be eligible for the NBCSN certification exam, you need to hold a current nursing license, have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing and meet clinical experience requirements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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