Be a School Nurse

By Eric Hammer

If you love children and want a steady job which is in demand, you may well want to consider a career as a school nurse. As a school nurse, your job will involve working in schools and taking care of the basic scrapes and bruises that come along during the course of a school day. You'll also need to deal with kids who happen to get sick during the school day and know when to call for the paramedics.

In essence, you are the first responder in the school for the kids and the gatekeeper toward getting sent home early because the child happens to be sick. You may also find that as a school nurse, you are called upon to deal with children who are experiencing drug problems and or who are trying to get out of gym class. In short, no two days will be exactly alike, but you will have plenty of down time between seeing children during which time you can relax.

The other nice thing about being a school nurse is that the job is fairly secure, given that there will always be school children and there will always be a need for an official school nurse since it is often mandated by law.

How Much Can You Make?

The average salary for a school nurse is typically in the range of around $45,000 per year, putting it squarely in the middle class. It's important to keep in mind though that school nurses often get to keep teacher's hours, meaning that you get a significant amount of vacation time, however unlike teachers, you won't need to haul piles of school papers home with you to grade.

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Many school nurses also work during the summer in summer camps in order to earn extra money. In some cases, the school nurse is not a full time position but a rotating position where you work only a few days each week at a school. This will depend largely on budget concerns as well as local laws which dictate whether or not a school nurse must be present and for how many students a nurse is needed.

In some cases, you may start work as an assistant school nurse if it happens that you are working in a particularly large school. This is especially possible in some high schools, where the student population can reach into the thousands.

In all cases, a school nurse does need to be able to keep his or her cool under difficult circumstances as you never know what may happen next. While rare, it is possible you may deal with stab wounds and or gunshot wounds if a student brings a weapon to school. This means that you need to be able to deal with a hysterical child and calm them down quickly, while also administering first aid until such time as the paramedics are able to arrive.

Qualifications / Requirements

Generally, in order to become a school nurse, you merely need to take the same kind of schooling as a standard nurse. This is typically a two year course of study which will allow you to work in any kind of nursing profession. In some cases, states may have specific licensing requirements for a school nurse which differ from the standard nursing requirements.

First Steps

Start by checking with your state licensing board to find out if there are specific requirements to become a school nurse or if you merely need to take a standard nursing course of study. Then, attend a school where you can earn your degree.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about becoming a school nurse:

Innerbody: How to Become a School Nurse - This is an excellent guide to becoming a school nurse from an organization dedicated to health topics in general.

National Association of School Nurses - A professional organization dedicated to those who choose to become a school nurse.

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