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Become A School Nurse

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Working As A School Nurse

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $47,840

    Average Salary

What Does A School Nurse Do

School Nurses help schools to improve the health and well-being of children, as well as of young people. They promote healthy living, train teachers on healthcare issues, and advise the school on healthy policy.

How To Become A School Nurse

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses also must be licensed.


In all nursing education programs, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. BSN programs typically take 4 years to complete; ADN and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. All programs include supervised clinical experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Many registered nurses with an ADN or diploma choose to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the nursing profession and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 or more years of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, registered nurses must have a nursing license. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing can give details. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, and pediatrics, among others. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a higher standard, and some employers require it.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must be able to assess changes in the health status of patients, including determining when to take corrective action and when to make referrals.

Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions. Nurses need to explain instructions, such as how to take medication, clearly. They must be able to work in teams with other health professionals and communicate the patients’ needs.

Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when caring for patients.

Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.

Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs. Organizational skills are critical to ensure that each patient is given appropriate care.

Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.


Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuous education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses can advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions are requiring a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication skills, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.

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School Nurse jobs

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School Nurse Career Paths

School Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor Nurse Manager
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Nurse Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Manager Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Educator Respiratory Therapist
Director Of Clinical Education
11 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Private Duty Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Director Of Staff Development
8 Yearsyrs
Nurse Case Manager Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Private Duty Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Nurse Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Psychiatric Nurse Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Clinical Manager Career Manager
Managed Care Director
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor Clinical Pharmacist
Manager Of Clinical Services
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Family Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Patient Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Nurse Manager Program Director Personal Trainer
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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School Nurse Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Tagalog

  • German

  • Mandarin

  • Portuguese

  • Arabic

  • Vietnamese

  • Hindi

  • Filipino

  • Amharic

  • Romanian

  • Hebrew

  • Yoruba

  • Bengali

  • Thai

  • Italian

  • Cebuano

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School Nurse

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School Nurse Education

School Nurse

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Real School Nurse Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Dean, School of Nursing Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Aug 15, 2015 $308,000 -
School Nurse Atwater Elementary School District Atwater, CA Sep 12, 2015 $69,206 -
School Nurse Corona-Norco Unified School District Norco, CA Sep 30, 2015 $69,006
School Nurse Corona-Norco Unified School District Norco, CA Oct 01, 2012 $54,275

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Top Skills for A School Nurse


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Top School Nurse Skills

  1. Emergency Care
  2. Administer Medications
  3. Health Education
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Administered emergency care to students and staff.
  • Take vital signs, administer medications to students.
  • Promote health education throughout the school community including effective preventative health measures.
  • Assisted with development and implementation of health/safety curriculum and emergency preparedness plans.
  • Offered programs on hand washing, diabetes, and other topics related to health.

Top School Nurse Employers

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School Nurse Videos

Rachael, R.N.--My nursing career and advice for soon to be nurses!

A Day in the Life - Sheila (School Nurse)

A Day in the Life of a School Nurse