How to Become Public Health Nurse?

How to Become a Public Health Nurse How to Become a Public Health Nurse

How to Become Public Health Nurse? – Overview

Are you looking forward to obtaining a profession in the healthcare sector? Do you want to know how to become a public health nurse?

The public demand for healthcare services is increasing a lot. As per reports, the annual health expenditures from 1999-2019 have increased by 5.6 percent in the USA.

Public health nurses are vital and among the most vulnerable roles in society. The exceptional nurses advocate, educate, and provide critical health services to the community.

This article will shed significant light on everything related to public health nurses, the steps to become a public health nurse, how much they earn, and more.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic puts public health nursing at the peak of healthcare demands. They are impacting the global public health crises.

They work closely with the healthcare team and clinicians. Thus, they help educate and prevent diseases with the highest level of public health care possible.

How to Become Public Health Nurse – Careers You Can Pursue:

The Public Health Nurse can pursue professions including:

  • Radiation safety officer
  • Environmental health officer
  • Health services administrator
  • Clinical trial administrator
  • Community health worker
  • Contact tracer
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health educator
  • Regulatory specialist
  • Biostatistician
  • Infection prevention Officer
  • Public health nurse practitioner

Salary And Career Outlook of A Public Health Nurse

The demand for public health nurses is rising in the healthcare sector, especially in medically underserved and low-income communities.

All across the globe, governments are realizing the benefits of preventive health services that the public health nurses deliver resulting in decreased health care costs.

Public health nurses having fluency in multiple languages are more preferred as they work with diverse populations.

On a safe aggregation, a public health nurse makes $51,000 a year apart from other perks and benefits, making it the best paying nursing job; salaries vary greatly depending on experience, job location, and requirements.

Academic Requirements for Public Health Nursing

The academic requirements vary from state to state. Public but remain almost the same as other RNs. No special CEU is needed for public health nurses until they have acquired advanced certification.

How to Become Public Health Nurse

How to Become Public Health Nurse – Academic Requirements for Public Health Nursing

You need registered nurse (RN) training to become a public health nurse. You are required to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college, but some communities can entertain public health nurses with associate’s degrees.

You must seek additional public health training, know the public policy, perform health administration and related subjects.

Graduation can be mandatory for specific supervisory roles in public health nursing jobs.

The Principles of Public Health Nursing

  • Population-based assessment,
  • Policy development
  • Partnering with representatives
  • Primary prevention
  • Intervention strategies.
  • Stewardship and allocation of available resources

Duties And Responsibilities

These nurses are crucial for preventing disease and promoting public safety and healthcare. They help communities recover from public health incidents, including natural disasters and pandemic outbreaks. Their specific roles while helping their communities include:

  • Advocacy
  • Assessment
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Intervention
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Treatment

The Journey Of Public Health Nurse

Let’s start the tale of the journey of how to become a public health nurse. Primarily, students pursue a nursing degree to move into a public health nursing specialty.

The steps on how to become a public health nurse are as follows:

Enroll In An Accredited Program

It would be best if you graduated with a BSN from an accredited nursing program to earn your public health certification.



First, you must complete required health science courses that may include anatomy and physiology, biology, nutrition, biomedical statistics, and chemistry.

You need to clear an entrance exam such as the Test of Academic Skills (TEAS) exam or the Kaplan Nursing School Admissions test.

Some universities may also ask for letters of recommendation, CPR certification, a resume, and a face-to-face interview.

You need to be enrolled in and have a certificate accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Clear The NCLEX-RN

NCLEX-RN or The National Council Licensure Exam-Registered Nurse, recognized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, is the standard exam to test everything you’ve learned in nursing school.

It determines your skills and knowledge to work in the nursing field. As soon as you obtain your nursing degree, it would be best to become licensed to practice as an RN.

Get Experience In Nursing

The next step is to get at least two years of experience before becoming a public health nurse. After getting the RN license, you should find your first nursing job.

Before getting into public health nursing, some nurses also prefer to begin with a different specialization to gain more experience in their careers.

There are no such rules for choosing a specific career; however, prior nursing experience helps perform better in public health nursing.

Become A Certified Public Health Nurse

Certified Public Health. CPH is currently the only certification in the public health nursing field. Candidates must meet one of the below mentioned specific criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree along with experience of public health work of at least five subsequent years
  • A relevant graduate degree, with three subsequent years’ public health work experience
  • A credential from a CEPH-accredited public health school or program, as well as a minimum of three years of public health job experience after that.

The recertification includes at least 50 recertification hours every two years. You can get the CPH designation through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

For CPH eligibility, the criteria to meet is the school or program should be accredited by CEPH, the relevant governing authority, The Council on Education for Public Health.

Continue For More Education And Training

It is recommended to continue education and training for all public health nurses to ensure new studies, development, and innovation in healthcare and public health and open up new career opportunities.

CPH-certified nurses must submit at least 50 recertification credits every two years, with three-month extensions possible. You can also opt for an MSN or Master of Public Health-Master of Science Degree in Nursing.

The Work Places

Public health focuses more on entire communities, and the nurses work in various general settings. Below are the prominent five places to work:

How to Become a Public Health Nurse - the work places

How to Become a Public Health Nurse – the workplaces

  • Community Clinics
  • Government Organizations
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Schools
  • Voluntary Organizations.

Closing Thoughts

Public health nurses contribute incredibly to society by playing a crucial role in mitigating health crises during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Public health nursing is a rewarding career.

Nurses who work in office settings get paid a salary, wage and have fixed working hours. Nurses employed in a private office setting tend to earn the highest pay in this field.

Hence, if you want to earn good amounts and help the community through your skills, then the guide mentioned above on becoming a public health nurse shall help you.

Hope this article enables you to get all the necessary information and tips on becoming a public health nurse.

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