The training and qualifications required to be a school nurse vary by state. Most states, however, require a school nurse applicant to be a graduate of an approved nursing program or bachelor's degree in nursing and a board passer of a state-approved licensure examination for professional nurses.
In some states, a school nurse must have a baccalaureate in nursing to qualify provisionally as a school nurse, but many states also allow graduates of associate degree and practical nursing programs as long as they hold a current license from the state's board of nursing. The states of Connecticut and New Mexico also require non-bachelor degree graduates to complete a certain amount of training and the equivalent of a number of college credits and continuing education units in order to be eligible for the school nurse position. Other states require candidates to have several years of clinical nursing experience, have a current certification in AED or CPR, or possess an Educational Specialist's Certificate.
Depending on the state, the provisional or pre-service requirements for school nurses may last up to 12 months to several years. In order to gain professional advancement, most states require the school nurses to complete a specific number of clock hours of professional advancement every few years to qualify for relicensure or to be employed as a full-time school nurse. The list of pre-service and professional advancement qualifications for each state may be viewed on the National Association of State Boards of Education's website.