The Benefits of Working as a School Nurse

Job Responsibilities, Salaries and More

School nurse putting band aid on child's elbow. Getty Images, Jamie Grill

Becoming a school nurse may be the perfect career move for individuals who are torn between a career in education and a career in the medical field. Working in a school may also appeal to nurses seeking employment in an environment outside of a hospital or doctor’s office. Find out if a school nursing career is right for you by learning about the responsibilities schools nurses have, the advantages and disadvantages of the profession, the salaries they earn, and where to find school nursing jobs.

 

Job Responsibilities 

The responsibilities of school nurses run the gamut. School nurses have the duty of encouraging students to get vaccinated, leading disaster preparedness and emergency protocols, managing the care of students with chronic medical conditions and providing health education to students and staff, according to the ​National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

How to Become a School Nurse

Specific requirements for school nurses vary from state to state, so before you embark upon your career as a school nurse, be sure to find out what your state or local guidelines are. The nearest NASN chapter may be your go-to source for this information.

A number of school nurses are already registered nurses or advanced practice registered nurses. Additionally, a national certification is available for school nurses through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses in partnership with the NASN.

The National Certified School Nurse credential helps to standardize the profession nationwide and ensure a high quality of practice.

Where to Find School Nursing Jobs

Private and public schools aren’t the only employers of school nurses. Such nurses may also work for county and state boards of education in addition to:

School nurse openings can be found on the NASN website as well as on the websites of state and local school nurse professional associations. Local boards of education may also post school nurse openings on their websites or job boards.

Average Salary

A variety of sources, including Absolutely Healthcare’s Salary Wizard, indicate that the median salary for school nurses nationally is just under $44,000 per year. School nurses in the 75th percentile earn about $55,000 annually. The earning potential of the school nurse tends to be lower than the earning potential for nurses in hospitals or physician’s offices.

The Advantage of Being a School Nurse

School nurses enjoy standard workday hours that the average nurse doesn’t have. School nurses generally don’t work nights or weekends and often are off for the whole summer. The work schedule of the school nurse is just one perk of the job for those who have a passion for health education and working with children.

The Disadvantage of Being a School Nurse

While school nursing careers are relatively secure, they may be subject to state budget cuts. Depending on the employer and the political landscape in your school district, school nurses are sometimes a target for cost-saving cutbacks in the event of a recession or economic downturn.

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