Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a MSN in Leadership and School Nursing?

Graduates find jobs in the following areas:

  • School and camp settings.
  • Supervisors or directors in public health, or other agencies.
  • College level teaching in nursing at an associate or baccalaureate level. If at the baccalaureate level, you will need to consider a PhD or DNP in the future.

Why do I need a School Nursing Certification Level I?

Many states require certification in school nursing to work as a school nurse. In some cases, as in the state of Pennsylvania, school nurses without certification work as a health aide and not as a registered nurse. Whether or not the state requires certification, it is beneficial to educate yourself about issues pertaining to school nursing, law, ethics and specifically children with special needs.

What is the benefit of getting an MSN with a school nurse track (certification)?

Some choose to only take the four required courses for certification. In the state of Pennsylvania all school nurses must complete an approved certification program for Level I certification. The service time allotted to educational specialist Level I certificate is six years. The level one certificate must be converted to a Level II certificate to continue employment as a certified school nurse. Continuing in the MSN Leadership/school nurse track fulfills these additional requirements and also provides more opportunity for career advancement.

How do I convert from a Level I educational specialist certificate to a Level II?

To move to a Level II educational specialist the school nurse must have:

  • a minimum of 3 years experience as a Level I educational specialist (certified school nurse)
  • accrue 12 additional credits for permanent certification. With only 15 more credits, you will have sufficient credits for an MSN which will give you more credibility and career options
  • complete a PA Department of Education approved induction program. This is usually offered by the employing school district.

Must I decide when I apply if I want to pursue an MSN or just the school nurse certification?

No, you may begin with the school nurse certification courses and later decide you would like to pursue a MSN.

It seems like your program is geared specifically for school nurses in Pennsylvania?

The program certainly takes into account the Pennsylvania school nurse requirements, policies, and laws. It is an online program, making it accessible to nurses from any state. The school nurse coordinator is available to meet in person or through an online meeting with out-of-state applicants. The focus of this conversation is to ascertain the certificate program’s application to your school nurse role in your state. We request that you investigate the prerequisites for school nurses in your state before applying to make sure this program meets the requirements.

If I am an RN and have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, can I still apply for the school nurse program?

Applications will be considered on an individual basis. You are encouraged to contact the School Nurse Certification Program Coordinator with your specific questions related to this. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is the minimum education standard set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for a Level I School Nurse Certification. Students may enroll in the MSN Leadership in School Nursing program and take the courses required for certification, but the Level I certification will not be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education until ALL of the MSN requirements are met.

Is this program accredited?

Yes. The school nurse certification program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The MSN program is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Application Questions

Must I apply for full time study?

No. The initial school nurse certification courses are taken one course at a time. The remaining MSN Leadership & School Nurse courses may be taken full time or part time.

Do I need a BSN to enroll in the school nurse program?

Yes. A bachelor of science in nursing is a Pennsylvania Department of Education requirement. Baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines, even with an RN license, do NOT satisfy this requirement.

How do I apply to the program?

  • complete the online application and send $25.00 application fee to the EMU Business Office
  • have all official college transcripts sent to Eastern Mennonite University, Attn: MSN Program, 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg VA 22802.
  • please notify persons listed as references that EMU will be contacting them
  • complete FAFSA (for financial aid if applicable)

Program or course questions: Email: , Faculty, School Nurse Certification

About our program

Is the EMU MSN accredited?

EMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The baccalaureate and MSN programs in nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

How many total credits are required?

The MSN with a Leadership & School Nurse track consists of 37-38 credit hours. These credit hours include 10 credit hours of core nursing, 12 credit hours for the school nurse certification Level I, and 16 credit hours of leadership and education classes.

Is a clinical practicum required in a school setting?

The practicum involves 120 hours in a school setting supervised by a preceptor who is a certified school nurse. Students have the opportunity to request the school district in which they would like to complete their practicum. Arrangements are made with a preceptor along with the approval of the course instructor. Practicum experience is required at all levels of the educational system:
• 30 hours – elementary school
• 30 hours – middle school
• 30 hours – high school
• 30 hours – children with special needs

If I am already a school nurse without a certification, will I have to do the practicum?

A clinical practicum is required for all students. Please note that practicum hours must be completed in four specific educational levels as noted above. This is an opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills.

Is there a residency requirement?

Currently, there are two mandatory residency requirements, with a third residency strongly encouraged. The first session is a one day orientation to the school nurse track, in mid-May, at the Lancaster campus. The second mandatory session is a two or five day residency for the conflict course, depending on the course selected. (See curriculum plan.)

The residency session is a day and half orientation in early August, to the entire MSN program, at the Harrisonburg campus. This residency is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. If a student cannot attend this residency, the student must attend the NURS 501 Sacred Covenant course orientation synchronously, usually held on Friday afternoon of the August orientation session.

The remainder of the program is delivered via the internet using a learning platform called Moodle. This powerful educational technology allows you to get course assignments, ask questions to faculty and other students, and participate in critical analytical discussion with colleagues around the world. There are also synchronous sessions from time to time throughout the semester.

Technical requirements

Do I need a computer?

You will need a computer that is less than five years old with high speed internet access to successfully complete the requirements for the degree. You will also need current software in order to upload and open files in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Specific suggestions for your computer include:

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or 8; or Mac OS X Snow Leopard or newer.
  • Processor: Core2Duo or newer
  • RAM: 2+GB or RAM (recommended 4+)
  • Webcam, and one-piece headset and microphone (for synchronous class sessions)
  • Microsoft Office software: MS Office or Open Office (including MS Word, PowerPoint, & Publisher) preferably Office 2007 or more recent.
  • Broadband/high speed internet access

Is there technical support?

You will have technical support available 13 hours a day, five days a week through the Information Systems HelpDesk. The HelpDesk hours of service are 8:00am to 9:00pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am to 5:00pm on Friday.

Textbook and resources

Will I have contact with professors?

Yes. Each student will be assigned an advisor whom you may contact at any time. Also, professors in each course will communicate when and how they may be contacted.

What about textbooks?

Most courses will have a textbook but many of the resources will be online articles. Faculty recommend you purchase textbooks online or, in some cases use inter-library loan for short term access to a text. Upon acceptance into the school nurse program students will receive a welcome packet with a list of books to purchase.

How can I access library resources?

The EMU library may be accessed online. They are very responsive to distance learning students via a chat line or email or phone. There are extensive databases available via the webpage, many with full text access.