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School Nurse Requirements in California

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School nurses contribute to the health, well-being and academic success of children in preschools and elementary, middle, junior high and high schools. In California, public school nurses are licensed registered nurses (RNs) who have completed specialized training. They have the authority to conduct immunization programs and to provide treatment to students who become ill or injured at school. They can assess and evaluate the health and developmental status of students, interpret medical and nursing findings, and refer students and their parents or guardians to community resources for services. School nurses can also design and implement health maintenance plans for students, according to the directions of the students’ physicians.


In California, a school nurse candidate must graduate from a nursing program approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. To qualify for a school nurse services credential, an applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

RN License

All working RNs in California have licenses issued by the California State Board of Registered Nursing. To qualify for an RN license, an applicant must hold an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Applicants must also undergo a criminal background check.

Preliminary Credential

Public school nurses in California must have the school nurse services credential, which is issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. There are two types of credentials. The preliminary credential, which is valid for five years, is not renewable. To qualify for this credential, applicants must show proof that they have a bachelor’s or higher degree and a California-issued RN license.

Clear Credential

The clear school nurse services credential is a renewable license that is granted for five years. To qualify for this credential, applicants must prove that they have a valid preliminary school nurse services credential and a California-issued RN license. They must have two years of work experience as a school nurse. Also, they must have completed a school nurse program that is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Teaching Authorization

Many public school nurses teach health classes to students. In California, they may teach classes while under the supervision of licensed teachers. School nurses who obtain the special teaching authorization in health may teach classes on their own. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing grants this special teaching credential. To qualify, a school nurse must have a valid California-issued school nurse services credential and an RN license. She must have completed a teaching preparation program and have fulfilled the basic skills requirement that proves she is proficient in reading, writing and mathematics.


According to, the average annual salary for school nurses in California ranges from $40,000 to $70,720.


Susan Echaore-McDavid is a freelance writer. She has authored career books in law enforcement, law, aviation, science, forensics, transportation, engineering, and education, among other areas. She has also written and edited educational materials for adult and adolescent audiences with reading, learning and language needs. She currently maintains two personal blogs.

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