School Nurse Salary Info: What Nurses Earn at K-12 Schools Around the Country
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
- The average base salary for a school nurse was $51,530, as of July 2023.
- School nurses are often the only healthcare provider in a school.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses helped schools stay open for in-person learning.
- New York school nurses had the highest average salaries, making around $79,450 annually, as of September 2023.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school nurses are often the only healthcare provider in a school. This makes them a vital resource for not just keeping students healthy but also for helping them learn about and manage their own health.
While school nurses and nurses who work in healthcare generally have the same qualifications, the type of services they offer may look very different.
Differences in responsibilities are reflected in pay, with registered nurses outearning school nurses by nearly 30%.
In this report, learn more about school nurses and school nurse salaries, including how different factors affect pay.
How Much Do School Nurses Make?
According to Payscale, the average base salary for a school nurse was $51,530, as of July 2023. This was more comparable to the average salary of a teacher — which came out to be $52,830 in August 2023 — than that of a registered nurse, who made $72,500 on average in August 2023.
School nurse salaries typically go up along with years of experience. Those starting out in the field with 1-4 years of experience made an average annual salary of $45,000, according to Payscale. In contrast, those who had over 20 years of experience made roughly $60,000.
How to Become a School Nurse
To become a school nurse, you must earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Like hospital nurses, school nurses also must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and gain clinical experience prior to employment.
While school nurses and nurses who work in a hospital or a care center may have the same degree qualifications, their responsibilities may greatly differ.
School nurses, for example, may have responsibilities centered more around education: how to take care of your mental health, how to manage chronic conditions, and how to access care.
In contrast, hospital nurses typically work alongside a physician and have responsibilities that have to do with caring for hospital patients: performing diagnostic tests, administering medication, and following up with patients about post-hospital care.
Frequently Asked Questions About School Nurses
Why Are School Nurses Important?
Data from the National Survey of Children's Health from 2020-2021 shows that more than 40% of school-age children and teens have at least one chronic health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, food allergies, or seizure disorders.
School nurses administer medications that students with chronic health conditions may need. As often the only healthcare provider in the school, they may be the only ones permitted to do so.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses played an important role in helping schools stay open for in-person learning by enforcing health and safety standards for students and staff.
What States Pay School Nurses the Most?
According to ZipRecruiter, New York school nurses had the highest average salaries, making around $79,450 annually, as of September 2023. School nurses from New Jersey and Wisconsin made average salaries near the $70,000 mark. School nurses from North Carolina and Arkansas made the least, bringing in a little more than $50,000 per year on average — nearly $30,000 less than New York's school nurses.
What Is the Highest-Paying Nurse Profession?
Nurse anesthetists continue to be the top earners in the nursing profession, bringing in an average salary of approximately $200,000 per year. Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives all averaged salaries well over six figures as well.