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Public Health Nursing Careers & Salary Outlook


Public Health Nursing plays a critical role in the community including what they do, tasks performed, work environment, qualifications to become, area of focus, training & certification, education requirements, job outlook, salary, related job titles and salary by state data.

What They Do

Public health nursing is a very unique specialization in the registered nursing field. They help communities learn about treatments, disease prevention, and other medical information that they may otherwise never know. Public health nurses work with many different groups of people from children to teens and adults to elderly, assisting them in obtaining more information and confidence in how their bodies and minds are developing. Pregnant women and new mothers often gain insight and assistance in subjects like handling labor cramps and breast feeding, while children in schools might learn about preventing head lice and how to handle their developing stages or puberty. Older women might undergo training on how to cope with menopause, while older males could learn how declining testosterone levels can affect their bodies.

Top 5 Tasks Performed

The top five tasks completed by a public health nurse include educating the public about preventative medicine, hygiene and care, treating patients in public health clinics, working with youth in schools and community centers, and organizing and implementing courses and training within hospitals.

Work Environment

The work area of public health nurses can vary from state to state and nurse to nurse depending on what kind of training, experience, and interests are present. Some of them choose to stay in hospital settings or community clinics and design and implement community courses and information settings to inform patients about care, prevention, and treatments available to them. Others may choose to work in a school setting and teach children about hygiene, sexual health, and other subjects. Public health nurses can also work privately or on a consulting basis and help new mothers learn to care for their babies and assist with touchy subjects like breast feeding and vaccinations.

How to Become

Public health nursing is a specialized field of registered nursing, which means that a 3-year college diploma, 2-year Associate’s degree or a 4-year Bachelor of Science in nursing degree are necessary in order to continue on and practice. Graduates of these programs are expected to experience hands on practical training within their field of specialized study, and are also required to pass the national licensure examination or NCLEX-RN examination, which all registered nurses across the United States must complete. Secondary licensure and training may be sought through the Community or Public Health Certification Exam. Additional training might be necessary in specific facilities and states as well.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for public health nursing is very optimistic, with competitive pay rates and an expected growth of 19% as predicted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This predicted growth in employment opportunities may be due to the rise in obesity, diabetes, and other health related issues. It may also be spiking due to the increasingly elderly population across the country.

Training & Certification

Public health nurses must take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination required by all registered nurses as well as a Public Health or Community Health Nursing examination, which is required on a state by state basis.

Min Education Requirements

Associates, Some College, Bachelors

Sample of Reported Job Titles

Public Health Nurse, Community Health Nurse, Patient Care Manager, Occupational Health Nurse, Public Health Nursing Instructor

Some content from Nurse Journal

Academic Programs

Associate Degree in Nursing
Practical Nursing

Campus Locations

Parkway Campus
Cascade Station Campus

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