"School nursing, a specialized practice of public health nursing, protects and promotes student health, facilitates normal development, and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders that bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potentials."National Association of School Nurses
Certification & Curriculum
Certification Program Requirements
Prior coursework and professional experience will be evaluated toward meeting all requirements except the Nursing 470 course.
After completion of all requirements, the School of Nursing will endorse the candidate for licensure as a School Nurse through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
The candidate must then apply for licensure through DPI’s Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system. In the DPI system, the school nurse license is within the Pupil Services license category. More details on the steps and process to apply for licensure can be found on the DPI website.
Note: Certification also requires the completion of a four-year degree in nursing.
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Nursing 470 course description
Students acquire the theoretical and practical foundations for establishing and maintaining school health nursing services. Content is drawn from nursing and public health sciences and includes topics such as health promotion, disease prevention, epidemiology, evidence-based practice, ethics, and the role of the community health nurse. The nursing process is applied with a focus of providing care at the individual through the population level. The influence of socioeconomic, environmental, political, and cultural health determinants are analyzed using an ecological model.
Nursing, 8-9 credits (both of the following)
- 470 Primary Health Care Nursing in the School Setting, 2-3 credits (Note: N470 does not meet the 3-credit community health course requirement in the BSN@Home program, but may fulfill an elective requirement.)
- 472 Practicum in School Nursing, 6 credits (may be satisfied with three years’ experience as a school nurse)
Ed Policy, 3 credits (one of the following)
- 300 School and Society
- 412 History of American Education
- 500 Social Issues and Education
Curriculum and Instruction, 3 credits (one of the following)
- 501 Health Information for Teachers
- 541 Organization and Administration of School Health and Safety Program
Human Growth and Development, 3 credits (one of the following—either area)
- 362 Development of the Young Child
- 363 Development from Middle Childhood to Old Age
- 320 Human Development in Infancy and Early Childhood
- 321 Human Development in Adolescence
- 723 Development Processes Across the Lifespan
Many school districts require that nurses complete school nurse certification as a condition of employment.
Certification requirements differ by state, so if you are interested in employment outside Wisconsin, check the requirements of the state(s) in which you want to work.
The following websites may be useful in learning more about school nursing careers:
Program Plan & Requirements (pdf)
How to Get In
To enroll in the School Nursing Certification program, you must be one of the following:
- A licensed RN with a BS in Nursing. You do not have to be a school nurse.
- A student enrolled in the School of Nursing BSN program
- A student enrolled in the BSN@Home program at UW–Madison
Students enrolled in the BSN program at the School of Nursing can meet the requirements for certification during their course of study. Note: The N470 course does not meet the 3-credit community health course requirement in the BSN@Home program, but may fulfill an elective requirement.
BSN@Home students can meet some of the requirements during their course of study. After graduation, they can apply for University Special Student status to complete the requirements.
Students who are not enrolled in a degree program follow the University Special Student tuition schedule. To find the correct rates, select “Special” under the Choose a Program dropdown. Note: Wisconsin residents and non-residents are charged different rates.
Students not also enrolled in a degree program are not eligible for School of Nursing assistantships or scholarships but may be eligible for scholarships through the Adult Career and Special Student Services Office within the Division of Continuing Studies.
Apply by submitting the application form (pdf), along with official transcripts of all college-level coursework. The application asks about your education and work experience. There is one essay question about why you want to be a school nurse.
If You are Not Currently Enrolled at UW–Madison
If you are not currently a UW–Madison student, you need to become a University Special Student first. BSN@Home students can complete some of the requirements while enrolled in the BSN@Home program and then enroll as special students to complete the requirements.
Send All Materials to:
School Nursing Certification Program
UW–Madison School of Nursing
Suite 1100 Cooper Hall
701 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org