Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Schools rely on nurses to diagnose children's illnesses or injuries and determine the treatments they need. They also administer and monitor immunizations, including inoculations required by law, and advise health administrators and teachers on health education and infection control. If you want to work as a school nurse, you need at least an associate degree. In return, you can expect to earn an above-average annual salary.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual school nurse pay was $49,007 as of 2018, according to the job site Salary.com. With a degree as a Registered Nurse (RN), you may earn more. Depending on the employer, you may get hired as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), also called a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. LVN school nurse jobs average $21.26 per hour, or approximately $34,016 if you assume a 40-hour week for the 40-week school year.
Before you start your career, you must pass an exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in your state to get licensed as a nurse. School nurse certification is earned by exam through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. Depending on the employer, certification may or may not be required. Other important qualifications for this job include an attention to detail, compassion and patience and organizational, communication and critical-thinking skills.
Average annual salaries vary according to geographic location. In Alaska, school nurse pay averages of $50,906, while in Alaska they earn an average of $54,278. In Alabama, the average salary is $44,820 per year. School nurses in Minnesota typically earn $47,058, while in Massachusetts the average is $52,645. School nurses in Florida earn an average of $46,131, while comparable jobs in Washington, D.C. pay an average of $54,511.
Contributing Factors to Salary Differences
School nurse pay is higher in Illinois and New York because living and housing costs are typically higher in those states. For example, if you earned $70,000 as a school nurse in Shreveport, Louisiana, you'd need to make $95,237 in Chicago to maintain your living standard, according to CNN Money's "Cost of Living" calculator. In Albany, New York, you'd have to make $82,811 to enjoy the same living cost as in Shreveport. School nurses might also earn more the longer they work for schools, as teachers and other school staff members often get compensated on a gradation scale, earning more as they accumulate more years of service. Level of education, special skills and certifications can also contribute to salary differences.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent increase in employment for registered nurses, including school nurses, through 2026, which is faster than average. Technological advances in medicine enable medical professionals to diagnose and treat many more types of illnesses and injuries, which may increase jobs for school nurses. School enrollments are also expected to increase, especially in kindergarten and elementary, and schools may need more nurses to care for these students.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Registered Nurses
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Information Site for Licensing
- National Association of State Boards of Education: Requirements for School Nurses
- National Association of School Nurses: Role of the School Nurse
- Kentucky Department of Education: Role of the School Nurse
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images