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What Do You Need to Become a School Nurse in Ohio?

Under House Bill 1 passed in 2009, all educators, administrators and support professionals in Ohio public schools must obtain licensure. These requirements apply to school nurses providing medical care and health education to students in elementary and secondary schools. The Ohio Department of Education oversees the licensing of school nurses, including the establishment and enforcements of license requirements.


School nurses in Ohio must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing. As of December 2010, 31 colleges and universities offered baccalaureate degree programs that carried the approval of the Ohio State Board of Nursing, including both private and public institutions. Baccalaureate degree programs in nursing typically require two years of full-time study to complete, though some programs have accelerated options available for nurses already with an associate's degree in the field. Programs consist of both classroom study and clinical training in hospitals and other medical settings.

Temporary License

The first step to becoming a school nurse in Ohio is receiving a Temporary License from the Ohio Department of Education. To qualify, applicants must have a valid registered nursing license. Applicants without this licensure can apply for through the Ohio Board of Nursing. The license requires the successful completion of a written examination known as the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses. In addition to submitting proof of RN licensing, prospective school nurses must undergo a criminal background check. The Temporary License remains valid for 12 months.

Professional License

The second level of licensing for school nurses is a Five-Year Professional Pupil Services license. To qualify, completion of six credits of training from a state-approved provider is required. As of 2010, eight colleges offered Ohio Department of Education-approved programs: Ashland University, Cleveland State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, Wright State University, Xavier University and Youngstown University. Nurses who did not previously hold a Temporary License must complete a background check to qualify for the Professional Pupil Services license.

Pupil Activity Permit

Ohio nurses who wish to serve as nurses for school activities like sporting events, but do not wish to work daily in a public school, can apply for a Pupil Activity Permit. A valid Ohio registered nursing license exempts nurses from the training requirements necessary to obtain the permit. Nurses must submit proof of their license with their application. A criminal background check is also necessary.


Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.