Public Health Nurse Certification in California

A career in nursing offers several areas of specialization — one of which is public health nursing. As with other specialty certifications, a public health certification sets you apart from your colleagues and demonstrates your expertise. California has specific guidelines that nurses must meet to receive a public health nurse certification. The following is an overview of the process.

Public Health Nurse Certification in California

How Do I Obtain Public Health Nurse Certification?

The Board of Registered Nursing oversees the certification process for public health nurses in California. Students must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree as well as a California RN License Number prior to submitting the application.

In addition, the BSN program must include coursework related to public health nursing as well as child abuse and neglect prevention training. The online RN to BSN program at CSUSM meets these qualifications and prepares nurses for public health nurse certification.

While the initial paperwork may appear overwhelming, the three-step application process is relatively straightforward:

Step One — Degree Completion and Licensure

  • Upon completion of your RN to BSN program, apply for a California RN License Number.
  • Following receipt of your RN license, download the Public Health Nurse Certification Application found on the California Board of Registered Nursing website.

Step Two — Obtain Official Transcripts

  • Obtain an official copy of university transcripts. CSUSM students can initiate a transcript request by completing this form.
  • Complete page eight of the Board of Registered Nursing application which is the Request for Transcript Public Health Nurse Certification Form.
  • Submit both to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

Step Three — Submit Application

  • Complete the remaining pages of the Public Health Nurse Certification Application downloaded in step one.
  • Include your name, address, social security number, RN license number and degree program details on the application.
  • Provide a 2″ x 2″ photograph and the $150 application fee with your submission.
  • Mail or submit the application online through the Board of Registered Nursing website.

Once the Board processes your application, they will mail your certification documents directly to you. Ongoing renewal is not required since this is a lifetime certification.

Why Should I Get Certified?

Applying for your public health nurse certification can open additional career pathways and provide rewarding opportunities that otherwise may not be available. Public health nurses are integral to maintaining the health of communities across the nation, ensuring they receive the necessary services to keep the population healthy. These nurses frequently work for government health agencies such as county or state departments of health as well as occupational health facilities, nonprofit organizations, schools and correctional institutions.

The services you provide as a public health nurse are a critical contributor to the success of the healthcare system. In addition to coordinating preventive care like immunization clinics and cholesterol screenings, you may conduct informational sessions related to disease prevention and education as well. From obesity to viral outbreaks, public health nurses help communities eliminate or minimize the effects of disease and illness. In this role, you may also assist local residents in preparing for natural and manmade disasters and participate in recovery and relief efforts.

Finally, public health nurses often have a high job satisfaction rate. A June 2013 report conducted by the University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that public health nurses have extremely high levels of satisfaction.

Path to Certification

Obtaining public health nurse certification in California is a simple process, and the online RN to BSN program at CSUSM is the perfect preparation. This lifetime certification can lead to a range of new and fulfilling nursing opportunities for candidates that greatly improve the lives of those in the communities they serve.

Learn about the CSUSM online RN to BSN program.


California Board of Registered Nursing — Advanced Practice and Certification

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — New Report: High Job Satisfaction Among Public Health Nurses, But Many State Health Departments Struggle to Fill Vacancies

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