Please tell me the point of having a school nurse credential?

  1. Good afternoon,

    I hope I'm posting in the correct location (I'm using my phone for this). I also didn't see any previous posts on the subject. I'm an ADN student, and I'm already looking at my next options. One of those options is school nurse. I know some say wait a year, etc. My question is actually about the school nurse credential that California has; I don't know if this is offered in other states or how many other states have it. From what I see and from what I know, being an experienced nurse will help you get a position as a school nurse. Can someone please tell me the point of having a school nurse credential? Thank you in advance!
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    About Jcat117

    Joined: Jul '13; Posts: 29; Likes: 7
    from US


  3. by   juan de la cruz
    Sounds like in California, you need to actually be credentialed as a school nurse. It is not an advanced practice role but it sounds like a BSN is required.

  4. by   TheCommuter
    Moved to the School Nursing forum.
  5. by   Jcat117
    Thanks, Juan. I'm just curious if it's actually needed. I'm not sure if it's needed for public schools, private schools, or if it's needed at all. I'm wondering if it's more of a perk to show that you're really interested in being a school nurse. The DON at the school I attend states that it's not required. I'm just curious to if it's not really required, then why is it there? Doing my research
  6. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    OP, I went straight into school nursing 1 year ago right after I passed the NCLEX and haven't looked back. I love it! However, being certified or credentialed can depend on the school and really, the best foot into the door is subbing. More schools, even public ones, don't require certification to sub, but again, it can differ widely between states and districts.

    I work at a public charter school and I am working on my school nursing licensure, but not having it did not stop me from getting the job. However, a public school in my neck of the woods (MA), they want the licensure first, which requires a BSN and 2 years as a school, pediatric, or community nurse (and a test/coursework, etc). Private schools usually do their own thing, but again it can vary.

    The CA School Nurses Organization should offer some more insight: CSNO.
  7. by   NutmeggeRN
    Sounds like it is a State of CA requirement. and the point is, that if it is required, then you must have it.

    It will not give you an upper hand in the application process because anyone applying for a job (it appears) would have to meet the requirments....BSN, Valid license etc.

    Sooo...if you pass your NCLEX coming out of your ADN program, it would appear that you would not be eligible to be a school nurse in CA.

    CA nurses, does that seem correct?
  8. by   JustBeachyNurse
    NJ also requires a school nurse credential and a BSN as do several other states. You can work for a limited time as a school nurse (sort of an emergency cert ) while you complete the credential.
  9. by   schooldistrictnurse
    There is also a national certification available. It is recommended to have I believe three years of experience before seeking the national certification. In my state (WI) BSN is required but no certification or additional credential required.
  10. by   coughdrop.2.go
    Yes it is. In California, where I am a current school nurse and a new one at that!, you must have a School Nurse credential. In order to even become a school nurse you need a BSN. When hired by the first school District you will receive a Preliminary School Nurse Credential. You then have 5 years to complete a School Nurse Credential Program within California. There are a few programs out there and they range from 1-2 years. Some of them are online with a few in class meetings, but most programs have hybrid online/classroom instruction. The classes are like Graduate courses and some programs offer a Masters option. After completing the program AND working 2 years as a School Nurse in California you will then qualify for your Clear Credential, or permanente credential. The California Credential is different from the National credential you can test for from the NASN. Please note that this is true for Public Schools and Charter Schools. I'm not sure about Private Schools, but they could be in the same boat.

    It is possible to be a School Nurse as a New Grad. I did and I know several nurses that have as well. The county next to me that is part of my NASN/California School Nurse Organization Chapter has an excellent 5 day conference for New School Nurses and a lot of us in the classes are New Grads.

    Edit: Also, you can work as a Health Tech with an ADN, but you will not be a Credentialed School Nurse. What this means is that you will be be able to do hearing screening and if you do vision screening and a Student fails, in California that student has to be retested by a Credentialed School Nurse in order to qualify for referral. Basically you can still do First Aid and respond to Emergencies, but you will still need to work under a Credentialed School Nurse with a BSN. California use to have it where an ADN nurse may become a Credentialed School Nurse while they are in a RN to BSN program, but now you must be a BSN when you start work for the District.
    Last edit by coughdrop.2.go on Jan 23, '14 : Reason: Added more information
  11. by   KelRN215
    In Massachusetts, you need a separate "school nurse license" from the Department of Education. As far as I can tell, it's a way for the state to get nurses to pay them more money.
  12. by   Jcat117
    Thank you, Kenderella89! This is extremely helpful information for a California nurse interested in school nursing. I wonder if there are conferences to sit in for nursing students just to check things out and see if it's of interest?

    Thanks again, and I'm really glad to hear that you're enjoying school nursing so much!

  13. by   Jcat117
    Thank you, everyone! This has all been very helpful information, and leads me in the right direction!

  14. by   RN4STUDENTS
    In NJ you don't need to be certified to be a school nurse. I thought you had to be but was hired when I was sub nursing. I have a 3 year contract as a school nurse in a public school. WithIn those. 3 years I will get my certification.