How do I Become a School Nurse?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

A school nurse is responsible for providing health care for students in a particular school, on a particular campus, or within a school district. An individual who wants to be a school nurse typically has to become a registered nurse to secure this position. Often, this involves earning a bachelor of science degree in nursing and then passing a nurse licensing exam. Following nurse licensing, a person who wants to become a school nurse may also have to take a school nurse certification exam.


An individual who becomes a school nurse works to provide not only nursing care, but also health education to students and sometimes other staff members. A person in this position often has the job of handling student health care evaluations, performing basic screenings, and providing first aid. For example, a person in this field may perform basic eye exams and may sometimes check students for the spread of infections. Sometimes school nurses also evaluate students to determine whether or not they are ill and need to go home from school, administer vaccinations, and provide medications or treatments a student’s doctor has prescribed for use during school hours.

The requirements a person must meet to become a school nurse depend on where he is hoping to work. In some places, an individual may be qualified to become a school nurse after earning the registered nurse title. This typically involves completing a nursing education program and passing a licensing exam. While schools in some jurisdictions may hire nurses who have completed associate’s degrees or diploma programs in preparation for licensing, most only hire or prefer those who’ve earned bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

A nurse who holds a bachelor’s degree and licensing is usually considered well qualified to become a school nurse, but there are some places in which school nurses are expected to have master’s degrees. Additionally, some aspiring school nurses seek to make themselves more attractive job candidates by earning degrees in related subjects. For example, an aspiring school nurse may pursue a degree or additional coursework in education or psychology as well.

Some jurisdictions also require school nurses to become certified through an authority that certifies school nurses. Requirements for certification may depend on the jurisdiction in which the person is seeking certification, but a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing is usually required. Additionally, a person who wants to earn school nurse certification usually has to take a school nurse certification exam.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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