Public Health Nurse Programs

What is a Public Health Nurse Program?

A public health nurse program aims to prepare students to work in nursing and health care roles in the community. They often work to promote and protect populations and the community as a whole through social and public health issues.

Sponsored Results

These individuals are typically already a registered nurse (RN) or they may be working towards becoming one in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. They typically work in advocacy and service for the community as a whole rather than working with just one patient. These professionals may work in a range of fields including health departments, in global health leadership roles, and in disease prevention. They are less likely to engage in traditional nurse practice. Students typically complete a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree to enter the field. Some go on to doctoral degrees.

Public Health Nurse Bachelor’s Programs

Students may need a bachelor’s degree to earn a public health certification. Those just starting out may complete a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). A Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (BA) is less specific. This program typically takes 4 years to complete. Some bridge programs may be available.

A public health nursing program may be a part of the bachelor’s education. Electives may help students focus on areas of interest to them. This may include areas of community/public health nursing. An online PHN may be an option here. Some hands-on education could also still be necessary.

Master’s Public Health Nurse Programs

Some students may wish to further their education with an MSN in public health nursing. Many times, students may complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing. Then, they could work towards the PHN degree at the master’s level. This may allow students to switch from patient care. They may begin studies to help them work in healthcare services that impact the community as a whole. Some may focus on nonprofit education as well.

The master’s degree program takes at least 2 years to complete. It may be possible to choose an online PHN program. This may allow students to work and learn at the same time.

PhD Public Health Nurse Programs

A Doctor of Nursing Practice is usually the highest level of education possible in this field. Students may wish to complete this degree program to take leadership positions in the field. In this field, they may work to address the needs of their communities. This may include in diverse populations. They may help provide community education and wellness programs. Often, they advocate for public policy changes.

Some PhD programs could take 2 to 4 years to complete. Many are research based. Students sometimes work to resolve problems they see within their communities. They may help address or define determinants of health. Some may focus their education on changing health care systems. They may also aim to work in research fields in health agencies. This may include local or national levels. An online PhD in public health nursing may be an option here.

Top States for Employment for Registered Nurses
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
California282,290$100,730
Texas212,230$70,730
New York180,170$83,680
Florida178,330$63,060
Pennsylvania143,130$68,230

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Registered Nurses
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$139,01015,990
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$133,6701,520
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$129,27035,480
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$121,9303,170
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA$120,51018,240

Bureau of Labor Statistics

What can I do as a Public Health Nurse?

As a public health nurse, you could be able to work in positions that involve working with the public or for the public. This may include working to educate people about health issues. It may include increasing access to care. Some people may work to help education the public about high risk health problems and needs. These nurses often work less in patient care and more in the community itself. This may include working with vulnerable populations. Those with a master’s degree may work to fill leadership roles in health related tasks within the community or health system.

Sponsored Results

Is a Public Health Nurse Program worth it?

Completing a public health nurse program may prepare students to work in a variety of fields. This type of nursing degree program prepares students to work in the community. It is often less individual driven. Those who enjoy working to help support the community as a whole may benefit from this career path. Those interested in health promotion, environmental health, and health policy may enjoy this program. Those working as a community service manager may earn an annual median salary of $69,900 per year, according to the BLS in 2020.

24% of social and community service managers have a master's degree

Important skills for Social and Community Service Managers:

  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Public Health Nurse Programs Jobs & Salary

Students may enter into one of several career paths with this nursing degree. With proper licensure, they may be able to work in these fields. This depends on the practicum studies in the school of nursing they enroll in as well as other factors. 

Occupation2020 Annual Median SalaryJobs
Health Services Manager$104,280 per year422,300
Epidemiologist$74,560 per year8,000
Health Education Specialist$48,140 per year127,100
Community Service Manager$69,600 per year175,500

Top States for Jobs as a Health Services Manager

StateJobs2020 Annual Median Wage
California42,200$138,030
Texas34,380$110,870
New York24,360$156,140
Massachusetts16,310$136,930
Pennsylvania16,260$107,710

What classes will I take in a Public Health Nurse Program?

Classes range widely based on what the student studies. Here is a look at a few example courses.

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

Introduction to Pharmacology:

This course often introduces students to the study of different medications. In this course, students may gain a base knowledge of different drug purposes. Items such as interactions, dosages, and administering of the drugs are usually all covered.

Health Care in the Community:

This course often focuses on the delivery of healthcare to the community. Students may be going out for field experience to see how the program works and what all is entailed in the profession.

Fundamentals of Nursing:

This course often introduces students to the field of nursing. It typically has a design to be broad range and covers multiple areas of the field to provide a solid foundation for the student.

Applied Nutrition in Health and Disease:

This course may cover the nutrition aspect that nurses are going to deal with. Knowing how to understand different diet restrictions and what to allow patients to consume based on the orders from a doctor.

Graduate Degree Courses:

Neurobiology of Mental Health Disorders:

This course often covers the topic of mental health disorders. The program typically goes over trying to find the causes and effective methods of treatment. There is often research in trying to determine the root causes of these disorders, such as trauma, injury, infection and development.

Integrated Care:

This course often covers the basics of integrated care. Typically covering topics such as how to implement and use programs. Topics may also include working with the community and developing plans of action for implementing these programs and tools.

Clinical Pharmacology:

In this course students may cover the interactions of different types of medications as well as how to administer them. This may include vaccinations and ways to educate and inform the public on the benefits of the programs and tools available.

Health Assessment:

In this course students may learn to assess not only individual patients but groups and communities. This course often helps to provide the tools and knowledge needed when conducting the assessments of groups and breaking down the data gathered to reach a hypothesis.

How long does it take to complete a Public Health Nurse Program?

Many factors determine the length of this type of degree program. Typically, a student may complete a public health nurse program in about 18 to 24 months. Some accelerated options may be available. That includes taking courses through the whole year, skipping summer. It may include taking more courses at one time. This may help to shorten the program. Completing some work experience may help students qualify for a shorter program through some schools. Students who need more time may be able to do some programming planning. This may allow them to student at a part time rate.

Certifications

In most situations, individuals may only need an RN to work in this field. In some cases, students may wish to seek out additional certifications. These may be voluntary. Check with your state to verify requirements. The certifications available are often through the American Nursing Credentialing Center as well as the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

These could include Advanced Public Health Nurse (APHN) and General Public Health Nurse.

Accreditations

Nursing practitioner programs are often accredited by several organizations. The most common include:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Some specialty accreditations may exist as well. This includes the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). 

Scholarships for Public Health Nurse Programs

Take a look at some of the available scholarships for this degree program. Keep in mind other options may exist as well.

Connie Scheffer Public Health Endowed Scholarship

Value: $500 one time non renewable
Deadline: June 30
Requirements:

  • High school graduate or beyond
  • Attend a college or University in Kansas
  • Resident of Kansas
  • US citizen
  • Minimum of 6 semester hours
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Pursuing nursing career
  • Essay
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Application
  • Official transcript

This scholarship is for nursing students attending a college or university in Kansas, they must also be a resident of Kansas. This is a non renewable one time award for $500.

Vivian Drenckhan Student Scholarship

Value: $2,500 one time non renewable
Deadline: September 30
Requirements:

  • Pursuing public health degree
  • Member of SOPHE for at least 3 months
  • Financial need
  • Must be one third of the way done with coursework
  • Essay
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Application
  • Official transcript
  • Personal statement

This is a $2,500 scholarship awarded to three students. This scholarship is non renewable and is based on financial need. The program is for students who have already been in school and have completed a portion of their program in public health.

NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Value: $80,000 scholarship for 4 years of study
Deadline: March 18
Requirements:

  • US Student
  • Minimum of 3.3 GPOA
  • US citizen
  • Full time student
  • Financial need
  • Career in biomedical, behavioral or social science related research
  • Application
  • Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Interview

This scholarship awarded in increments of up to $20,000 per year for four years. Students must maintain the academic standards to keep the award and must demonstrate a significant financial need to qualify.

Ellen M. Buchart Scholarship

Value: $2,000 non renewable
Deadline: March 1
Requirements:

  • Member of Kentucky Public Health Association
  • Major related to science or health
  • Completed at least one year as undergraduate
  • Essay
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Application
  • Personal statement
  • Transcript

This is a one time scholarship for students who are members of the KPHA and are in junior or senior standing as undergraduates. Preference is given to students in public health programs.

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

Value: There are a total of 40 scholarships that are awarded. There are ten for $10,000 and 30 for $5,000. These scholarships are for one year and they are non renewable.
Deadline: June 27
Requirements:

  • Two essays
  • Application form

This scholarship program is designed to help those students who have already completed at least one of ear of school in a healthcare program. The primary basis for this award may be demonstration of leadership as well as academic performance.

ENA Foundation Graduate Scholarship Program

Value: $3,909
Deadline: April 28
Requirements:

  • Acceptance letter
  • Statement of goals
  • Copy of nursing license
  • Official transcript
  • Verification of tuition costs
  • Application form
  • Two letters of recommendation

This award is for students who are in good standing as a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). Students must be pursuing an MSN and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA as well.

A Nurse I Am Scholarship

Value: This is a $2,000 non renewable scholarship. There may be up to seven recipients for this award.
Deadline: March 31
Requirements:

  • Application form
  • Essay

This award is for any student who is in nursing school anywhere in the US. The applicant for the award needs to watch the “A Nurse I Am” documentary in either the 32 or 62 minute version. It is recommended that the applicant watch both videos.

WiseGeek Nurse Appreciation Scholarship

Value: This is a $500 one time non renewable scholarship.
Deadline: December 31
Requirements:

  • Application form
  • Official transcript
  • Personal statement

This scholarship is for current or prospective nursing students. This is open to all levels of secondary students. The purpose of this scholarship is to help offset loans and tuition.

Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship

Value: This is a $5,000 scholarship. It is non renewable.
Deadline: April 30
Requirements:

This is a scholarship designed for students who did not immediately enroll in college after high school. It is a one time scholarship and requires the completion of a 500 word essay in order to qualify.

CastleBranch – GNSA Scholarship

Value: There are four scholarships awarded per year in increments of $2,500 per semester. This scholarship is non renewable.
Deadline: December 30
Requirements:

  • Application form
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Essay

This scholarship is for students in a graduate nursing program that is an AACN member institution. In order to be eligible the student must have at least a 3.5 GPA. If not a member already winners must join the AACN Graduate Student Nursing Academy (GNSA) and make a post summarizing their essay.

15 Schools with Public Health Nurse Programs

Choosing a school for a Bachelor of Science Degree or a Master of Science Degree may be a challenge. Take a closer look at schools offering a public health nurse program.

SchoolDescriptionAverage Net PriceGrants & Scholarship AidMore Programs
Kent State UniversityKent State offers an online bachelors of science in in Public Health. This is a four year program and is fully accredited. They also offer a masters program.$19,034 per yearStudents receive an average of $8,035 per student per yearMasters in Clinical Epidemiology
Southern New Hampshire UniversitySNHU offers an online public health degree at the bachelors level. It is a total of 120 credit hours and is fully accredited. Is fully online program.$41,217 per yearStudents receive an average of $3,875 per student per yearMasters in Public Health, Health Science, Healthcare Administration, Health Information Management
Walden UniversityWalden offers a MSN in Public Health Nursing. This a 53 credit fully online program. This program is fully accredited.N/AStudents receive an average of $3,990 per student per yearBSN to MSN, RN to MSN, FNP, PNP, PhD in Nursing, BSN, Nursing Certificates
Drexel UniversityDrexel University offers an online MSN program in Public Health. The program is fully accredited and may be completed in 45 credits.$39,463 per yearStudents receive an average of $25,373 per student per yearRN to BSN, Behavioral Health Counseling, RN to MSN, Master of Health Administration, DNP, Post masters certificates
Grand Canyon UniversityGrand Canyon U offers a Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in Public Health. The program requires a total of 40 credits and may be completed in 8 weeks.$20,818 per yearStudents receive an average of $11,337 per student per yearN/A
Jacksonville State UniversityJacksonville State offers an online program in Public Health the school is fully accredited and requires 38 hours to complete the core of the program.$13,616 per yearStudents receive an average of $8,291 per student per yearMSN in Public Health with Emergency Management, MSN in Public Health with Nursing Education
Cedarville UniversityCedarville University offers an MSN in Global Public Health. The program is available completely online and is fully accredited. Students have full time and part time options to take classes.$24,965 per yearStudents receive an average of $17,226 per student per yearPediatric Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pharm D
Worcester State UniversityWorcester State offers a 35 credit hour MSN program for Public and Population Health. The program is fully online and may be completed in 18 months. The program is fully accredited.$16,183 per yearStudents receive an average of $4,922 per student per yearMSN Nurse Educator
Aspen UniversityAspen University offers an MSN in Public Health that may be completed in two years. The program is fully accredited and is available online.$11,779 per yearStudents receive an average of $2,554 per student per yearForensic Nursing, Informatics, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education
University of HartfordThe University of Hartford offers a MSN with a focus on Public Health. The program may be completed in 24 months and is available online. The program is fully accredited.$28,692 per yearStudents receive an average of $28,809 per student per yearNursing Education, Nursing Management
Purdue University GlobalPurdue University Global offers a fully accredited MSN program. The number of credits may vary from 60-90 based on the focus of the online program. The program is fully accredited.N/AStudents receive an average of $8,035 per student per yearAdult Gerontology, Executive Leader, FNP, Nurse Educator, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
University of MarylandThe MSN in Public Nursing at the University of Maryland may be completed in as little as two years. The school is fully accredited and only requires the completion of 38 credits.$17,643 per yearStudents receive an average of $10,156 per student per yearHealth Services Leadership, Nursing Informatics, RN-MSN
UNC CharlotteUNC Charlotte offers a fully online MSN in Public Health program. The program is fully accredited.$16,029 per yearStudents receive an average of $7,347 per student per yearDNP, Nursing Education, Informatics and Analytics, Nursing Administration
University of NevadaUniversity of Nevada, Reno offers a dual degree program of MSN with a Master of Public Health. The program is online and fully accredited.$19,034 per yearStudents receive an average of $8,035 per student per yearNurse Educator, Clinical Nurse Leader, FNP, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Simmons UniversitySimmons University offers a dual MSN Master of Public Health program that is online. The program is fully accredited.$29,021 per yearStudents receive an average of $31,645 per student per yearBehavior Analysis, Social Work, DNP, FNP
Emory UniversityEmory University offers a dual MSN and MPH program. The program is available online and is fully accredited.$25,672 per yearStudents receive an average of $41,159 per student per yearAdult Gerontology, DNP, FNP, PhD in Nursing

Sponsored Results

  • Award-winning programs created to help you succeed.
  • A quality education doesn’t have to be expensive. Earn an accredited degree for less.
  • Programs start monthly – Apply free this week!