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Flight Nurse School and Program Information

Sometimes patients need to travel while still in need of medical supervision and care, which is where flight nurses come in.  A flight nurse is generally a nurse practitioner who specializes in accompanying people on flights who require medical help for illness or injury while traveling. They monitor vitals, may help the patient eat, drink and use the restroom in flight, administer medication, and be prepared to provide emergency resuscitation if necessary.  Flight nurses may find themselves on private jets or public jets run by major carriers.  Obviously, flight nurses should anticipate extensive travel, and variable hours.

Flight Nurse Qualifications, Education, & Training

In most cases, flight nurses are fully trained and certified advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP).  There are several paths to becoming an RN.  Some nurses will get a bachelor of science in Nursing (BSN) degree at an accredited four-year college or university.  Others will pursue an associates degree in nursing at a junior or community college.  Still others will get a registered nursing diploma through a vocational or technical school, but diploma programs are less common.  After completing the level of education you choose at an approved nursing program, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.   To become an advanced practice nurse and become certified as a nurse practitioner, you will then need to go on to pursue a master's or doctorate degree in nursing while specializing in the mental health field.  Both degrees will require extensive hands-on clinical hours.  Some nursing schools offer specific flight nurse courses and certificates.

Job Outlook and Career Opportunity for Flight Nursing

As in all nursing fields, flight nurses are in short supply.  However, advanced practice nurses are in particularly strong demand and command a higher pay grade.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a registered nurse was $62,450*.  Those with more education or certification will stand to make more.  The top 10% were making over $92,000* annually.  As an advanced practice mental health nurse, one would be earning closer to the top 10%. *(according to BLS.gov)

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