The National Board for Certification of Nurses offers an official exam that upon completion grants nurses NCSN credentials for National Certified School Nurse. Some states also have state level certification, credentials, and/or license requirements for school nurses. Individuals looking into this career path may wonder whether or not they need an official School Nurse Certification to work within a school.

The answer to the certification question is that it is possible to work as a school nurse without being certified. The regulations on this vary by state and even by school district. Thanks to these differences, it is important to review specific state certification or licensing requirements beyond RN licensing and undergraduate degrees. The National Association of School Nurses has a listing of state affiliates to assist in additional resources on this matter.

Even when states and districts require certification, it may still be possible for some nurses to be hired without being certified. Some locations allow registered nurses to work under Certified School Nurses within individual school buildings or on a district level. Some schools also have temporary assignments for nurses to determine if this is a professional path that they are interested in. This allows individuals time to see if this specialty is something that they would like to pursue. Then they will be given a certain amount of time to obtain the additional certification.

For those interested in pursuing a job as a school nurse, reach out to people within your community. Ask if you can speak with a school nurse. Perhaps they can arrange for you to shadow at their school. Take time to ask about their educational background. Talk about the benefits of certification even if it is not required in your state. Remember that additional education is never a bad thing. Even if you can get a job without the certification, it may be a good plan to work toward it with evening, online, or summer classes.