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UIC School Nurse Program

Sorry if this has already been discussed. When I just tried to search for this topic, I was not able to find anything. Plus, I'm also new to allnurses.com.

I have been a school nurse for over a year and have my BSN. I currently live in Chicago and work full time at an elementary school in the suburbs. I am very interested in attending UIC's school nurse certification program but would like some insight from another nurse that is currently or has been in the program.

My questions are:

What was the application process like? How hard is the entrance exam? Did you like the program? Did it help you with your career? What were your perks in becoming certified (ex: more money, teacher contract, certified school nurses being in demand)? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

I am also in the Chicago burbs. I've thought about the certification program but another nurse in my district told me that she has asked about it and was told that they will not pay a nurse that much.

I had other concerns with it as well. One of the main ones being that I don't know if I would then start at the bottom rung of the teacher pay scale. In my district, the starting teacher pay for first year, bachelor's degree is 39500. I currently make 33500. It would be AT LEAST a 3-4 year plan for me to become certified (I have an associate's now, 3 young children, and another job. I'm also a single mom). At which point I would be making about 38000. So I would still be jumping up in pay, but not that much if I have to start at the bottom of the ladder. And then I'd have student loans to pay off. I'm not sure it would be worth it. And I'm not certain that I'd be able to be with the students. I've heard it's tons of paperwork and possibly summer hours.

I'd be interested in any responses as well!


Specializes in School Nursing, Public Health, Home Care.

Another thought to consider--there is national certification which is obtained by passing an exam. (cost--$400) This provides you an additional credential and a chance to expand your knowledge. It didn't get me any additional pay (in WI) but might be a factor in applying for a different school nurse job. check out: National Board for Certification of School Nurses


I am a school nurse in the Western Suburbs of Chicago too (Middle school). I am currently in the certification program at UIC, and as a 1st year school nurse the program has been a HUGE help! I am SO glad I began the program; it has taught me so much about the legalities of my job that I previously did not know about. I personally like to be ahead of the game instead of finding out on the job that I did something incorrectly. The program is VERY easy to follow and do when working (I work a side job and am in a Master's program, too). It's very straightforward and all the assignments are very pertinent to your job. The certification exam is also very easy; I was really worried about not passing but I just passed a few weeks ago! And I didn't even finish my 2nd class yet. Yes, the certification program is expensive (about $10,000), but in my mind it was worth it. Plus, at my school, with certification I get move to the teacher's union, with an increase in salary and better benefits, like insurance and pension. It was definitely worth it and VERY doable. Plus I think it makes you much more marketable. As of 2016, ONLY certified school nurses can make recommendations for student's IEPs, among a few other things. I think it'll only help you out :) Best of luck!


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