Should You Get a School Nursing Certification?

by Howard Gerber on May 17, 2018

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school nursing certificationSchool nurses are required to have a registered nursing license. Most schools also prefer to hire nurses with a bachelor’s degree. But there are also various types of certifications for nurses to enhance their skills and marketability. If you work as a school nurse, you may want to consider earning a school nursing certification.

Why Should You Earn a Certification?

Although it is considered voluntary, earning certification as a school nurse is beneficial. Certification is offered through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN). The NBCSN certification establishes a national standard for the skills and knowledge for practice as a school nurse.

School nursing jobs may not be as easy to come by as other types of nursing work. Some school districts have cut funding for student health services. They may only hire one school nurse per school or a few nurses to cover an entire district.

There is a lot of competition for jobs. Earning certification gives a nurse the edge. Also, state and individual school districts may have different requirements. Some districts may require school nursing certification currently or in the future. Nurses that are certified may also earn higher wages than those without certification.

Certification Requirements

Nurses that wish to earn certification through the NBCSN must meet certain requirements. Applicants for certification must hold a registered nursing license and a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing or a closely related field. They must also show proof of 1000 hours of clinical experience in school nursing in the last three years before taking the certification exam.

Clinical experience involves providing direct or indirect nursing care in a school setting. An example of direct care involves assessing, treating, and caring for students. Indirect care may involve supervision of other school nurses or clinical staff.

After meeting eligibility requirements, applicants can complete an application and submit the exam fee. The certification exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. The test must be completed within four hours.

The certification exam content includes questions on health appraisal, nursing management, and disease prevention. Questions regarding special health conditions, health promotions, and professional issues are also included.

Nurses are required to renew their certification every five years. To recertify, nurses must show they kept current with new developments in the field by completing continuing education classes. 75 continuing education units must be completed every five years.

Additional Certifications to Consider as a School Nurse

In addition to becoming a certified school nurse, there are other certifications and credentials a school nurse may want to consider. School nurses do not need all of the certifications listed below. But holding certain certifications may increase a school nurse’s marketability and earning potential. Consider some of the following:

  • Advanced cardiac life support
  • Pediatric advanced life support
  • Certified pediatric nurse
  • Certified asthma educator

School nurses have diverse responsibilities. They must also do a lot of the work independently. What certifications have been the most helpful to you as a school nurse?

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