How to Become Public Health Nurse

How to Become a Public Health Nurse – Overview

Are you interested in a career in the healthcare sector? Would you like to know how to become a public health nurse?

Public health nurses are vital and among society’s most valuable roles. These 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, including the steps to becoming one, how much they earn, and more.

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 realize the benefits of public health nurses’ preventive health services, resulting in decreased healthcare costs.

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

The average salary for a public health nurse in the United States is approximately $58,000, according to the most recent data. However, this number can vary significantly based on experience, location, and specific role.

Academic Requirements for Public Health Nursing

The academic requirements for public health nurses are generally consistent across states, similar to those for other RNs. Continuous education units (CEUs) may be required, especially for those seeking advanced certifications.

To become a public health nurse, you need registered nurse (RN) training. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is often required, though some positions may allow nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

You must seek additional public health training, learn about public policy, and perform health administration and related subjects.

A graduate degree may be required for advanced or supervisory positions in public health nursing.

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 how to become a public health nurse. Students pursue a nursing degree primarily 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

To earn your public health certification, it would be best to graduate with a BSN from an accredited nursing program.

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

You must clear an entrance exam such as the Test of Academic Skills (TEAS) 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, becoming licensed to practice as an RN would be best.

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.

Some nurses also prefer to begin with a different specialization before entering public health nursing to gain more experience in their careers.

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

Become A Certified Public Health Nurse

The Certified Public Health (CPH) credential is a recognized certification in the public health field, not specific to public health nursing, which may also seek the Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN-BC) certification. Candidates must meet one of the below-mentioned specific criteria:

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

Recertification includes at least 50 hours every two years. The CPH designation is obtained through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

For CPH eligibility, the school or program must be accredited by CEPH, the relevant governing authority, The Council on Education for Public Health.

Continue For More Education And Training

It is recommended that all public health nurses continue education and training 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 five prominent places to work:

  • 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. Public health nursing is a rewarding career.

While nurses in office settings may have more regular hours and salaries, those in specialized public health roles or with advanced degrees can also earn high salaries, which vary widely across different settings.

Hence, if you want to earn a good income and use your skills to help the community, the above guide on becoming a public health nurse will help you.

I hope this article lets you get all the necessary information and tips on becoming a public health nurse.

See Also

Grants for Nursing School

Types of Nurses

Nursing Schools in Texas

How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Grants for Medical Travel

Travel Nursing Agencies

Best Nursing Schools in Las Vegas

Nursing School Interview Questions

Current Version
September 16, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
March 29, 2024
Updated By
Tim Bevelacqua, MN, RN

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