Top Master's In Community Health Nursing Programs

Updated November 23, 2022

Community health nurses are vital to public health. Learn about the best online community health nursing programs to begin this in-demand career.
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Community health nurses help improve public and individual health and are in high demand. If you're interested in a satisfying career helping the most vulnerable patients, this guide to the best online community health nursing programs can help you get started.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online community health nursing programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about online community health nursing programs, or go straight to our list of the best online community health nursing programs.

How Do Online Community Health Nursing Programs Work?

Community health nursing programs are graduate-level programs that prepare students to practice nursing, improve public health, and address social determinants of health.

In addition to core master of science in nursing (MSN) programs, such as advanced physiology, assessment, and evidence-based practice, both on-campus and online community health nursing programs include advanced topics. These typically cover such areas as culturally competent care, environmental health, and working with vulnerable populations.

Most programs take two years to complete.

Featured Online MSN Programs

Learn More About the Best Online Community Health Nursing Programs and Schools

#1 Top Master’s In Community Health Nursing Programs

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

One of the best online community health nursing programs, the University of Florida - Gainesville's master of public health (MPH) program is offered entirely online. Students complete assignments with weekly deadlines, and exams are proctored online. 

Learners choose one of two focuses: public health practice and social and behavioral sciences. The program comprises 48 credit hours. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and have a 2.0 GPA in all classes.

Details:

  • Program(s): MPH 
  • Campus: Gainesville, FL
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Tuition: $550 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA; students planning to take the public health concentration must have significant work experience in a health-related field.
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
52,407
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Top Master’s In Community Health Nursing Programs

National University

  • La Jolla, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

National University offers an online MPH program with three possible concentrations: health promotion, community mental health, and healthcare administration. Rather than traditional terms or semesters, the program consists of four-week classes that allows students to concentrate on just one course at a time. The program ends with an internship and a capstone project, under a faculty advisor’s guidance. Students can apply year-round.

Details:

  • Program(s): MPH
  • Campus: La Jolla, CA
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
  • Tuition: $442 per unit (individual courses vary in the number of applicable units)
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree with a 2.85 GPA or higher; undergraduate statistics class
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.9%
Average Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
16,670
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Applying to an Online Community Health Nursing Program

Online community health nursing program admission requirements are similar to other MSN programs, although they do not lead to an advanced practice registered nurse license. There also isn't a board certification for new applicants. (Previously certified community health nurses can renew their certification.)

  1. 1

    Admission Materials

    Prospective students need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), current and unencumbered nursing license, at least two references, a completed application, and an essay or personal statement.

  2. 2

    GPA Requirement

    Learners should have a 3.0 GPA for admission, but programs may admit students with lower GPAs if they have other signs of strong potential, such as work experience.

  3. 3

    Other Requirements

    If you have an associate degree in nursing (ADN), some schools offer a BSN-to-MSN bridge program. Most programs require or prefer experience working with low-income or other underserved communities.

Why Is Online Community Health Nursing Program Accreditation Important?

During nursing program accreditation, an independent organization assesses schools or programs. They evaluate the curriculum, faculty qualifications, and teaching methods. They also review staffing and staffing ratios, student outcomes, and program infrastructure (for example, the library's access to current materials).

Reviewers are either highly qualified practitioners or academics who can bring expertise in both teaching and nursing.

Accreditation determines whether graduates of a program have the skills and knowledge to safely practice nursing. This is why nursing schools, boards of nursing, and employers all require applicants to have a degree from an accredited program.

Because accreditation is crucial to your ability to practice and achieve career success, this guide only lists accredited programs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Community Health Nursing Programs


What is community health nursing?

One reason to start a community health nursing career is it focuses on wellness and prevention within communities by providing direct nursing care. Community health nurses also deliver health and patient education, and they work to prevent injuries and illnesses, especially among underserved populations.

Its focus on social determinants of health and prevention is like public health nursing, but community health registered nurses (RNs) provide more direct nursing care.

What is the difference between a public health nurse and a community health nurse?

Public health nurses and community health nurses both advance population health by addressing social determinants of health and creating healthier communities.

The difference between community health nursing and public health nursing is that community health nurses provide nursing care in the community, while public health nurses spend little or no time providing direct care.

How many years does it take to study community health nursing?

It takes four years to earn a BSN, and then two years for an MSN. Some on-campus or online community health nursing programs offer RN-to-MSN programs for students with a two-year ADN degree. Nursing bridge programs typically take three years to complete.

What is the salary of a community health nurse?

According to Salary.com, the median salary for community health nurses is $64,230, as of April 2022. This is below the national median registered nurse salary of $75,330, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half of all salaries from Salary.com range between $57,620 and $73,420.


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