A number of fully online school nursing certificate programs are available from public and private colleges, and there are a few hybrid master's degree options as well. In addition to online courses, these programs require the student to participate in on-campus courses, residencies, clinical hours or a practicum. In order to apply, prospective students need an registered nurse (RN) license and 3-5 years of nursing experience. They must also either have a bachelor's degree or be enrolled in a program.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - School Nursing
Registered nurses can take additional courses and earn an MSN in school nursing. There are not very many of these programs available online, and students generally need to attend some on-campus courses or one or more residencies in addition to clinical hours. This type of program is often offered as an add-on option to a certificate.
The program includes courses in:
- Teaching methodologies
- Nursing research
- School nursing
- Healthcare economics
- Theoretical basis of nursing
- Legal and ethical issues in school health
- Leadership, administration and management in school health
School Nurse Certificate
Online certificate programs can be completed either in conjunction with a bachelor's degree program or independently. Program prerequisites usually include completion or current enrollment in a bachelor's degree program in nursing, a nursing license and 3-5 years of clinical experience. Unlike traditional on-campus programs, students interact with facilitators using basic technology, including e-mail, discussion boards and instant messaging. Some online programs include on-campus components, but alternative arrangements can be made for out-of-state students.
The required number of mandatory program credits is dependent upon state requirements. Coursework explores issues associated with providing healthcare in a school environment. Although coursework is online, a 100-hour practicum is usually required, which is completed at a school near the student's home. Some schools also require short on-campus residencies, at the beginning and/or end of the program.
Certificate programs include the following courses:
- School health educational perspectives
- Nursing issues
- Drug abuse
- Evidence-based practice in public health
- Health assessment of school-aged children
- Human relations
- Mental health
Board Certification Information
Individuals need to have a state nursing license, a bachelor's degree in nursing or a closely related field, a certificate or master's degree in school nursing and 1,000 clinical hours in school nursing before they can take the examination and become certified by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses (NBCSN).
There are multiple educational options for experienced nurses who want to direct their careers toward school nursing. After finishing a graduate certificate or master's degree in the field, they can take the school nurse certification exam.