Masters in Community Health Nursing: Program Overview

Master's degree programs in community health nursing teach registered nurses (RNs) to develop, implement and promote nursing service programs in susceptible populations and communities. Graduate students learn to identify high-risk populations, as well as plan and implement health promotion and disease prevention services.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in community health nursing train students to care for vulnerable populations and communities. Hands-on training in health policy development and program evaluation is provided though clinical experience and nursing practicums. Most programs are 36-48 credit hours of work and part-time enrollment is usually available. Applicants to the master's degree program must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing. In addition to submitting standardized test scores, applicants must be licensed RNs. Prospective students typically complete a statement of intent and submit three letters of recommendation.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in nursing, GMAT or GRE scores, licensed RN, submit three letters of recommendation and statement of intent
  • Program Length: 36-48 credit hours
  • Other Requirements: Clinicals and nursing practicum

Master's Degree in Community Health Nursing

Community health nursing students take courses that cover theoretical foundations in nursing, research methods, health promotion and disease prevention. Graduates can qualify to take the national exam to become advanced practice nurses in community health nursing. Courses that may be included are:

  • Epidemiology principles
  • Policy and professional issues
  • Management principles and practices
  • Health assessment
  • Health promotion

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the employment outlook for registered nurses, including community health nurses, to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2012 to 2022 ( The estimated 19% growth rate is expected to come from technological advances, increased emphasis on preventive care and an increased need for elderly care. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that registered nurses made a median annual salary of $66,640.

Continuing Education Information

Completion of the master's program qualifies students to sit for the certification exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to become advanced practice clinical specialists in community health nursing. The examination consists of ten parts and covers community health nursing foundations, assessment and application.

Community health nurses holding a master's degree can pursue a doctorate degree in nursing. They may pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. in nursing. The DNP is typically designed for nurses pursuing practical medical training, whereas Ph.D. programs focus on scholarly application.

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