How to break into school nursing


How did you all get your school nurse job?

Listed on the school's website?

Through Craigslist, a recruiter, something else?

Did you just apply even if they didn't say they were hiring?

Do you have to know somebody?

Did you start out as a substitute?

I am an RN, BSN currently working full time 40 hrs/wk in a pediatric OR (also have previous med/surg experience). I have always been interested in school nursing (did a semester clinical) but the biggest deterrent is what appears to be the massive pay cut I would undoubtedly have to take. I probably wouldn't consider it if I wasn't at least comparable to what I make now.

But I am still quite curious. What is the first step to finding out more about this job? It's just a little daunting because it's not like a hospital where they are always looking for nurses; if a school has their one nurse, they're set. So how do you get into it?

ChristineAdrianaRN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 168 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric and Adult OR. Has 7 years experience.

Thought of another question. If we are speaking in terms of "annual salary", that is for the nine months of the school year and not the summer, right? So technically you could work somewhere else during the summer and make some extra money on top of that, right? Something to consider...


206 Posts

I "broke"into school nursing by subbing in the district as much as I could. Fortunately, I was not employed fulltime, which gave me the ability to work 1-5 days a week in 6 different schools. I proved myself very worthy of the position that I knew was opening up and was considered and hired the same hour the previous nurse handed in her paperwork. Make a great name for yourself, make yourself available.

I am paid from Sept until June. I work per diem during the summer.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

I found my job (I work 2 days/week at a boarding school in addition to another job) by looking up boarding schools in my state and then going to the individual schools' websites to see if they had positions posted.

You can find school nursing jobs in any number of ways. I'm not sure if all states use this, but is a good website for school based jobs. I also made a list of the towns in my immediate vicinity that I would consider working in and looked at many of those towns' websites to see if they had any nursing positions posted. Many of them did, but by that time, I had found and accepted another position.

As far as pay goes, I am a per diem employee at my school so I am paid hourly. Full-time school positions are (at least in my state) usually salaried and you can choose if you want your salary spread out over the entire year or just the school year. At least that's what I know my mother has the option to do. You have the whole summer off so yes, you can work another job during the summer. Many school nurses do camp nursing or there are any number of things you can pick up per diem.

NutmeggeRN, BSN

8 Articles; 4,584 Posts

Specializes in kids. Has 40 years experience.

I was lucky to be contacted by someone that thought of me and that I would be a good fit. I was/am many years later I am still there.:yeah: I am very fortunate to be in a district that pays nurses on the the same step scale as teachers.....I would see if there are any sub positions to see if it is a good fit for you. I have had more than one nurse all fired up about being in the school and then find out that it is the last thing they want to do! Good Luck!


18 Posts

I am a school nurse in CA. I have my RN, BSN but I started off in an LVN position as a 1:1 nurse in the district (to get my foot in the door, so to speak!). After one year of that, my school district received a grant for a 0.4 increase in school nursing and I applied for the job and got it. I am working part-time with another school nurse who works full time.

In CA, the best place to find school jobs is (in my opinion). There are a few on craigslist every once in a while too.

Hope this helps!

Specializes in Nursing Education. Has 19 years experience.

I think some States it is easier to get into. I moved to SC recently and started as a sub for the district. I just kept checking the district site for jobs until I saw a "subs needed as." I have now got a job 2 days a week and work PRN in the hospital. I love the hours; the pay is a big cut for me, but it is worth the summers with my kids. I could not get into the school nursing in previous states I have lived though, and some states require certification. I think it helps if you have a BSN and experience.