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Community Health Services Schools and Programs

If you are looking for a career to make a difference in the lives of others, consider becoming a community health services nurse.

How to Become a Community Health Services Nurse

Community health services nurses work in a variety of settings, but usually do not work in hospitals. Community health services nurses typically work in clinics (addiction rehabilitation, HIV/AIDS, pharmacies) and in assisted-living facilities, schools or prisons, or they might work in rural or urban primary care clinics. Some community health services nurses provide in-home care. Regardless of where they work, nurses interact directly with patients. Depending on their level of education and training they may examine, diagnose, treat, educate, and follow up with patients.

Community Health Services Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth rate for registered nurses of 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, a faster than average rate than for most occupations. Although faster employment growth is projected in physicians' offices (48 percent) and outpatient care centers (33 percent) RNs may face greater competition for these positions because they generally offer regular working hours and more comfortable working environments than do hospitals which generally require shift work.

Compensation

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break out compensation information for nurses who work in community health services, their figures for all nurses working in the U.S. show that there are more than 2.5 million registered nurses and that their annual average salary is $65,130. California is a good place to be a nurse as the state employs more than 240,000 with a mean wage of $83,040. As far as top pay, the top five metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are all in northern California which accounted for 51,110 jobs that paid between $88,970 and $104,400.

Education

To become a community health services nurse, you must complete a nursing program. According to the BLS, ""There are three typical educational paths to registered nursing--a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma."" The best opportunities for pay and advancement are for those who hold bachelors or master's degrees. Lorraine Watkins Lorraine Watkins is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to business and education websites. She holds an M.A. in English from California State University East Bay.

Nursing and Health Care Schools

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