How Much Does a School Nurse Make?

New York has the highest number of active school nurses, and a school nurse’s salary grosses $72,000 on average yearly and $34.78 per hour. This guide contains the average school nurse salary across the states in the United States.

There are other things you need to know about how much a school nurse makes, including the skills of a nurse, what schools should have a school nurse and why they should have one. This article will treat all and more.

Who Is A School Nurse?

A school nurse is a medical employee who provides health services in schools and other educational settings. Medical personnel who work in schools as school nurses are specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN).

The term ‘school nurse’ is defined by the National Association of School Nurses as a specialized practice of nursing that advances the well-being, academic success as well as lifelong achievement, and health of students.

They work with school-age children and young people, together with their families to improve health and wellbeing. Nurses who work in schools use their clinical judgment and public health knowledge to identify and qualify health risks and provide preventive measures to mitigate the spread of that health risk.

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How Much Does A School Nurse Make?

Many states pay the school nurse an average of $49,000 to $60,000. As with all other professions, a lot of factors determine the school nurse’s salary. Such factors include state of practice, qualifications, and certifications, additional skills, and experience.

According to indeed, school nurses earn an average salary of $29.72 per hour in the United States and $9,125 overtime per year.3.7k salaries reported.

According to, the average hourly rate for a school nurse is $26.86 while the yearly income is $48,530. The salary range for a school nurse can be deceiving and vary greatly from state to state and even within the same county in a state.

From research, one can find that a school nurse can receive higher pay in a particular state and lesser in another state. For instance, New York has the highest number of active school nurses, and a school nurse’s salary grosses $72,000 on average yearly and $34.78 per hour. Next are New Hampshire and Wyoming. Texas pays $49,000 annually, Missouri $48,000 and North Carolina pays the least, paying $45,000 at $21.87 per hour. The school nurse’s salary is not as high as their colleague who works in traditional settings.

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Average School Nurse Salary By State

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
New York$72,337$6,028$1,391$34.78
New Hampshire$70,244$5,854$1,351$33.77
West Virginia$62,847$5,237$1,209$30.21
New Jersey$59,830$4,986$1,151$28.76
Rhode Island$58,294$4,858$1,121$28.03
North Dakota$57,395$4,783$1,104$27.59
South Dakota$55,719$4,643$1,072$26.79
New Mexico$54,725$4,560$1,052$26.31
South Carolina$53,374$4,448$1,026$25.66
North Carolina$45,483$3,790$875$21.87
Table from ziprecruiter

What Are The Duties Of A School Nurse?

As a school nurse, you’re obligated to perform the following duties:

  • Provide first aid care and health assessment;
  • Write care plans and coordinate the care of students with chronic or acute health conditions;
  • Communicate with teachers and staff to ensure the safety and well-being of students;
  • Administer medications and monitor delegated medication administration;
  • Assist in the evaluation of students for Special Services (Special Education);
  • Coordinate and provide vision and hearing screenings;
  • Assist families in accessing health insurance and health care services; and
  • Educate and train staff on asthma, life-threatening allergies, diabetes, and blood-borne pathogens.

The importance of having school nurses cannot be overstated. It’s worth every dime that is spent to employ a school nurse and install a functional clinic.

Why Do Schools have Nurses?

The benefits of employing school nurses are inexhaustible and it far outweighs the costs. Chiefly, we have school nurses to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and promote a healthy learning environment.

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School nurses help students and their families get access to health insurance. They also help them coordinate care by communicating between the family and health care providers.

Additionally, they educate families on what healthcare services are available to their child at school and the best treatment option suitable to handle the child’s condition. School nurses also:

  • Save lives
  • Help increase the healthy population of the school
  • Prevent the outbreak of diseases
  • Provide safety nets for fragile students
  • Serve as a go-between between school personnel, family, community, and health care providers.

Similarly, school nurses help to save money in the long run. Research shows that for every child that receives treatment in school, the government saves $2.20. These costs are gotten from certain future emergencies and the financial cost of parents staying home to take care of their sick children.

Where Do School Nurses Work?

While a school nurse is a Registered Nurse who can work in a variety of settings, they are most often found at a public or private preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school.

Nurses working in college settings will have slightly different responsibilities due to the fact that they are caring for an older student population with varied requirements. More so, school nurses can also be found in vocational schools and juvenile detention centers.

Here’s a full list of possible work locations that school nurses should consider: 

  • Alternative schools
  • College/University
  • Department of Health
  • Hospitals
  • Overseas military bases
  • Pre-schools
  • Private and parochial schools
  • Public School Systems (elementary schools, middle/jr. high school, high school)
  • Summer camps
  • Vocational schools

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What Are The Skills Required To Become A School Nurse?

These are the skills a school nurse will require to work efficiently among school children. Such skills are soft skills and a school nurse must employ them while treating school children across the various classes or grades of learning. They are: 

1. Care and compassion

To treat a child, a school nurse should not disregard the pain of the child nor trivialize it. They should understand that a bruised knee is the same as a headache. The school nurse also should show compassion for the total well-being of a child. Understanding that every aspect of a child’s life is necessary and needed to promote effective learning.

2. Leadership

A school nurse should model and lead a child into what health and personal hygiene are all about. She does not only teach and educate them, she must live out these health tips for the children to see and emulate. A child does not learn by teaching, he learns by observation.

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3. Efficient communication skills

A school nurse should be able to understand a child despite its learning grade. From preschoolers to students of higher classes, a school nurse must be able to receive and pass across the information. Also, the school nurse must be able to communicate with parents and teachers, and insurance companies about health care choices and treatment options.

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4. Attention to details

The school nurse should keep accurate records of student visits. She should be able to take follow-up actions and remember scheduled appointments. A missed detail can make all the difference in a child’s life.

5. Active participation in school

The school nurse must actively participate in school activities and programs. This is to ensure that public health policies are fully complied with within the school as well as observe the health of the students.

6. Knowledge of pediatrics

A school nurse should have a good knowledge of pediatric medicine. And she should be able to update her knowledge base to international standards. This will help her to relate with all classes of students despite their ages and it will help her understand the various developmental stages in a child.

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7. Computer skills

A school nurse should possess computer skills to provide accurate records of each sick child. 

A school nurse should be well versed in other areas of medical practice such as pediatrics, emergency, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mental health, public health, health care, and patient management, amongst others. The school nurse, however, must be a registered nurse within the state of practice.

How To Become A School Nurse

To become a school nurse, you can follow the following steps:

1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

To become a school nurse, you must first complete and receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from a recognized university. Again, if you have an associate degree in Nursing, you will not qualify to apply as a school nurse. Studying for a BSN may take 2-4 years, depending on the length of the program.

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2. Pass the NCLEX

The next step is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). It is a national examination for the licensing of nurses. It is available in the United States. 

3. Become Licensed in Your State

Once you pass the NCLEX exam, the next step is to become licensed in the state you are to practice.

4. Acquire Experience

To function as a school nurse in the US, you will need to have some years of clinical experience before you can work in the school districts. This allows you to work on certain soft skills and become more independent in your nursing abilities. 

5. Meet Additional Requirements

Educational requirements are subject to the state of employment. As a result, many state requirements vary to an extent. In addition, possessing a Master’s in Science of Nursing or a Master’s in Education will be helpful for you.

A few examples of school nurse pre-employment requirements include:

  • Arizona: The school nurse certificate must be issued by the Arizona Department of Education 
  • New Mexico: School nurses must have an RN license and a bachelor’s degree. But a school nurse supervisor must have a master’s degree.
  • California: The school nurse must have a current credential in school nursing. besides, this requires 26 credits after the bachelor’s degree in nursing

States that require a credential in school nursing usually take the certification examination during a Master of Science in Nursing program. 

If you are interested in school nursing in the states of California, New Virginia, and Pennsylvania, you should fully investigate the requirements to become a professional school nurse. In the same way, if you are interested in a supervisory role, you are equally to have both an MSN and Certification in School Nursing. 


With only a few states paying more than the national average, transferring to a new place as a School Nurse should be approached with caution.


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