Enjoy working with children? Does working in a school environment sound appealing? Then perhaps you may be interested in learning what it takes to become a school nurse. Ready to know about this career? Great then read on!

Become a School Nurse

Table of Contents

Quick Summary

School nurses provide students with physical examinations; provide annual audio and vision screenings. Their overall goal is to keep students healthy and help to educate staff, parents, and students to promote better health.

According to The National Association of School Nurses, RNs do not just work for schools they also work for hospital districts, health, and public health departments, state agencies, and hospitals.

The degree you will need to practice: Some schools may require you to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN).

Certification: the National Board for Certification of School Nurses offers certification for school nurses.  This certification is called The National Certified School Nurse (NCSN).

Median annual salary: $46,162*


What does a School Nurse do?

One of the most popular misconceptions about school nurses is that their job consists of putting ice and bandages on students’ scrapes or bumps or bruises. However, this could be further from the truth. School nurses play a vital role within school systems, and their jobs consist of large amounts of paperwork, record keeping, and healthcare planning.

A majority of school nurses assess every kid who is entering kindergarten to make sure he or she has received all of their required shots. Furthermore, school nurses must keep track of student health records that include state-mandated immunizations.

School nurses meet with students, record their height, and weight annually. Additionally, they have to make sure they check students’ visions and conduct hearing tests.

Their jobs often involve interacting with parents and staff and developing care plans for students who have special diet needs or have allergies.

Student nurses’ job often includes being health educator and sometimes speaking to groups of students within teacher classrooms. Some nurses provide health education presentations that help with wellness and disease prevention, environmental health so students and staff can go to school in a healthy environment.

School Nurse job duties:

  • Speak to students about the importance of diet and exercise
  • Perform health screenings for students in elementary, middle school, and high school
  • Give students their required medication (As some may have allergies or other special medical needs that require medication)
  • Sometimes collaborate with physicians in regards to medical finds
  • Offer referrals for students and parents that have special health needs
  • Keep student medical records up to date
  • Help school personnel keeps the class sanitary and up to health code


What education will I need to become a School Nurse?

School nurses are registered, nurses. There is no appropriate education for registered nurses to go to become school nurses. However, while in school several elective credits have courses that focus on health education for children and adolescents.

Top Core competencies and skills needed to be a successful school nurse

  • Must like and enjoy kids
  • Have a strong understanding of pediatric medicine
  • Have experience working with kids
  • Understand developmental stages of children
  • Have strong communication skills
  • Know how to stay calm and provide first aid in an emergency
  • Solid understanding of computers to keep student medical records up to date

How can I advance my career as a school nurse?

With years of experience, you can gain administrative or even supervisory roles. Some RNs have even moved up to Registered School Nurse; this means that you could oversee and manage all of the health aides that work for schools.

State school nurse consultant could be another position you could qualify for with more years of experience and could work for school districts providing nursing consulting services to students and staff.


Career Outlook

Like the school, enrollments increase so will the demand for qualified school nurses. The nursing specialty school nurses will be in high demand in the future. The Department of Labor predicts employment for RNs will grow through 2030.

Read also – How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN) Guide

Check out our other Nursing School Guides.