Top Master’s In Community Health Nursing Programs

February 21, 2022 , Modified on June 24, 2022 · 3 Min Read

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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Top Master’s In Community Health Nursing Programs
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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.

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

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.)

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.

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.

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, 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 range between $57,620 and $73,420.

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