The highly revered and rewarding pediatric nurse practitioner role is a popular choice for nurses who want to make a difference in the health of children. This advanced nursing career can be achieved through a master's or doctoral level pediatric nurse practitioner program, and most allow students to choose between primary or acute pediatric care. With online and campus-based options available, RNs wanting to enter a higher level of nursing practice will find that it is well within reach.

2021 – Best Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

The field of pediatrics is a particularly rewarding one for advanced practice RNs. Building lasting relationships with children who are ill or injured is just one of the aspects of the role that Pediatric Nurse Practitioners get to enjoy. Choosing the right Pediatric NP program is of great importance, and our rankings of the top online/hybrid Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs help students find their perfect fit.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, visit our Methodology Page (

Maryville University

St. Louis, MO

Maryville University, based in St. Louis, offers multiple pathways to the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) specialty, including an MSN Primary Care PNP, a BSN-DNP, and a DNP option. These programs are offered online, with no campus visits required, and clinical rotations are arranged in the student's hometown area for ease of convenience. Courses offered may include Pediatric Assessment and Diagnosis, Health Promotion of the Pediatric Population, and others.

DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • No GMAT or GRE requirement
  • No waiting list once you are accepted
The University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) offers two pathways for prospective pediatric nurse practitioners: one that focuses on acute care, and one that focuses on primary care. The online MSN in Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program requires 45 credits, and takes 31-35 months to complete, while the online MSN in Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program requires 41 credits and can be completed in 29-33 months. No matter the route chosen, UTA's programs utilize experienced instructors and innovative curriculum to prepare nurses for high-level pediatric care.

MSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Public 4-Year
  • No GRE requirement for students with a 3.0 or above
  • Tuition offered in pay-by-the-course format
University of South Alabama

Mobile, AL

University of South Alabama

Mobile's University of South Alabama offers both a Pediatric Acute Care and Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner pathway at the MSN level. These 45 credit-hour programs deliver classes online, but require some mandatory campus-based orientations that include simulation intensives. The curriculum for both programs includes support courses, MSN core courses, and specialty pediatric courses.

MSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • Clinical rotations can be arranged near the student's home at an approved medical facility
Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta's Emory University is home to both a Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program as well as a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. Each program track is designed to meet students' needs via a tailored, individualized approach. Clinical rotations are arranged at top hospitals with neonatal and pediatric clinics in the metropolitan Atlanta and Macon areas to give students real-world experience.

MSN Programs
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Students complete 500-720 hours of supervised clinical practice
Duke University

Durham, NC

Durham, NC's Duke University offers two distinct MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) pathways: Acute Care and Primary Care. These 43 credit-hour, 616 clinical-hour programs offer one-on-one clinical practice experiences, pediatric-focused coursework, and clinically active faculty. Duke's state-of-the-art simulation lab helps students grasp concepts in a realistic environment. Students can also maximize flexibility by choosing full-time or part-time study.

MSN Programs
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • The Acute Care PNP program is the only one in North Carolina

Choosing a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program

With many pediatric nurse practitioner programs available, finding the right one can be challenging. Prospective students should keep the following in mind:


Any decent, reputable pediatric nurse practitioner program will be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and/or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Local and regional accreditations may also be available. Accreditations help programs demonstrate that they are up to par with their academics.

Program Cost

Schools typically list tuition for pediatric nurse practitioner programs by credit. Master's and doctoral programs in the field typically charge anywhere from $485 to over $1,000 per credit hour, depending on location, school, and degree level chosen. Doctoral programs tend to be on the more expensive end, and require more credits to complete. Tuition costs typically do not include additional expenses such as program fees, course materials, and other items.

Program Length

MSN-level pediatric nurse practitioner programs are the shortest option, requiring roughly 50 credit hours and taking anywhere from 15 months to 3 years to complete, depending on full-time or part-time study. Doctorate programs require around 80 credit hours, and take approximately 3-4 years to complete. Both degree levels also require a minimum number of clinical hours in order to graduate.

Internship/Externship Opportunities

Many schools have pre-approved clinical preceptor sites for students at both the master's and doctoral levels to complete their hands-on education. Students can inquire about these relationships when they apply for the program, and can also find out about the process for performing clinical hours at a facility of their choosing.

Online/Campus Options

With pediatric nurse practitioner programs growing in popularity, many schools offer both online and campus-based options to accommodate busy students. Some schools even offer a "hybrid" program, allowing students to take many courses online but also offering classroom-based lectures and labs.

PNP Degree Levels Offered

There are two pathways students can choose from in order to become a pediatric nurse practitioner: the Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). While both programs give students the fundamentals on advanced practice in pediatrics, there are some differences between the two. Students should consider which program fits their needs before they start their applications.

Pediatric NP MSN Programs

MSN-level pediatric nurse practitioner programs typically offer students the option to specialize in acute or primary care. The curriculum mixes core advanced courses with specialty courses, and may include classes such as Introduction to Pediatric Acute Care, Advanced Nursing Assessment, and Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses. The University of South Alabama, for example, offers an MSN in both Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric Primary Care Nurse practitioner specialties.

RN to MSN Programs

Another route to becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner for nurses who have not yet completed their bachelor's degree in nursing is an RN to MSN program that is specially designed for registered nurses who have an associate's degree in nursing or a non-nursing bachelor's degree. These RN to NP programs allow nurses to complete both the BSN and MSN degrees in less time than two separate programs. Some programs, like the one at Regis College, allow nurses to specialize their studies in pediatric nursing by taking advanced practice nursing courses on health management and promotion of patients ages newborn to 21.

Pediatric NP DNP Programs

The doctoral pediatric nurse practitioner program offers more coursework than the MSN level degree, with classes focused on management and leadership. This pathway is suited to those who want to enter the highest levels of pediatric nursing practice. The curriculum includes classes such as Management of Complex and Chronic Problems in Pediatric Care, Biostatistics, and Well Child Advanced Practicum. Arizona State University is an example of a school that offers a DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program.

RN to DNP Programs

For nurses with their BSN who want to advance their careers to the doctoral level of pediatric nursing, many schools offer an alternative path: the BSN to DNP program. These specialized bridge programs allow nurses to earn their master's degree in nursing and doctoral degree in nursing simultaneously, in less time than two separate programs. Upon graduation from a BSN to DNP program, nurses will be prepared for leadership roles and advanced practice careers in their chosen field of nursing. For nurses who are interested in becoming pediatric nurse practitioners, schools like Maryville University offer BSN to DNP programs with concentrated studies in pediatric nursing.

See our list of post master's PNP graduate certificate programs.

Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Due to today's increasingly busy lifestyles, online learning programs have begun cropping up for many specialties, pediatric nurse practitioner programs included. Online programs allow students who may find it troublesome to attend classroom courses the chance to complete their graduate degrees from the comfort of their own homes. Students should thoroughly research online programs, as some do have a minimal amount of on-campus requirements.

Advantages of an Online Program

Many students find the flexibility and convenience of an online pediatric nurse practitioner program invaluable. Those enrolled in online courses are generally able to complete courses when and where they choose, making it ideal for those who work or have family obligations. Online programs are also perfect for students in rural areas with no convenient in-person option nearby. There are also monetary advantages to online programs, as students save on commuting, gas, and parking fees that campus-based programs often require.

Program Accreditation

Online pediatric nurse practitioner programs should be properly accredited. Like campus-based programs, ACEN or CCNE accreditation is recommended. Looking for proper, nationally recognized accreditations is an especially important way for students to check on the validity of online options.

Costs and Length

Online pediatric nurse practitioner programs will require the same amount of credits as campus-based schools do, but the total length of these programs may fluctuate more as students tend to have more flexibility in coursework completion. Tuition costs for online MSN and DNP pediatric nurse practitioner programs fall in the $500 to $1,000 per credit range, but students don't have to worry about transportation or relocation costs with distance-based learning. Maryville University, for example, offers online MSN and DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program pathways.

What Are the Admissions and Certification Requirements?

Admissions requirements for most pediatric nurse practitioner programs include:

  • BSN or higher
  • Scholastic GPA of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university
  • Written expression of goals
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Current resume/CV
  • Current active RN license

There are pediatric nurse practitioner certification pathways through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (which offers the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner credential, or CPNP-PC) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (which has offered the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified, or PPCNP-BC credential, in the past - but now is available for renewal only). Eligibility requirements for each include:

  • Must hold a current, U.S. RN license
  • Graduate of an accredited pediatric nurse practitioner program (MSN or DNP)

Pediatric NP FAQs

Caring for children with cancer is extremely delicate. Parents and families are usually understandably in shock after a diagnosis is made. Pediatric oncology NPs can assist families in managing the diagnosis by offering resources such as support groups, social work referrals, financial planning, and even arrange care with a psychiatrist as needed. Stress, anxiety, and grief are common in families of children with cancer, so a pediatric oncology NP needs to be able to utilize the available resources to support a patient’s medical as well as psychosocial needs.

While pediatric oncology can be an emotional challenge for NPs, it is also extremely rewarding. The NP can help support families on their journey by acting as a lifeline. Having a “constant” in the chaos of cancer treatment is extremely necessary for parents. Moreover, assisting patients and families during the grief of a terminal diagnosis as well as during the joy of remission is invaluable.

Pediatrics is a specialized population.  There are differences in anatomy, disease processes, and treatments that are not the same as in the care of adults. Therefore, prior experience is critical to becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.

When nurses enroll in an advanced degree nurse practitioner program, they must choose a specialty track to focus on. It could be adult-gerontology, pediatrics, acute care, or family medicine. Some programs require a year or two of previous staff nurse experience in pediatrics before enrollment, while others allow for concurrent experience. Students are encouraged to check the school website to determine specific admission criteria.

Staff nurses who have no pediatrics experience and who wish to become pediatric nurse practitioners should consider cross-training to pediatrics. The more experience attained, the smoother the transition to a pediatric nurse practitioner in the future.

Pediatric nurses differ from pediatric nurse practitioners in many ways. Pediatric nurses perform essential nursing functions to care for pediatric patients. This includes physical assessment, developing a nursing care plan, implementing nursing care and treatment, and evaluating response. They administer medications and vaccines as well as other procedures in the hospital or ambulatory care setting.

Pediatric nurse practitioners are advanced-practice nurses. This means they have earned a bachelor's degree and moved on to a master's or doctoral degree nurse practitioner program. Pediatric nurse practitioners have also completed a pediatric NP "track" within their advanced-degree program, which prepares them to care for the pediatric population. Additionally, they must obtain pediatric nurse certifications.

Pediatric nurse practitioners can perform the same functions as a pediatric nurse, but they mainly are responsible for the overall management of care of pediatric patients. They conduct physical exams, take a history, diagnose, and can prescribe medications. They can also act as a patient’s primary care provider.

Both pediatric staff nurses and pediatric NPs are highly specialized. Children are not just "small adults." They have anatomical differences and specific disease processes that require specially trained nurses and NPs to care for them.

List of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Pediatric nurse programs can be found throughout the country, including the following schools listed below.

Select Your State:


SchoolContact Information
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294
(205) 975-7529
University of South Alabama
5721 USA Dr N
Mobile, AL 36688
(251) 445-9400


SchoolContact Information
Arizona State University
411 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(480) 965-7788
University of Arizona
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
1305 N. Martin | PO Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154


SchoolContact Information
Azusa Pacific University
MSN Programs
901 E. Alosta Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 969-3434
California State University Long Beach
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4111
Loma Linda University
11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923
University of California San Francisco
UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435
University of San Diego
5998 Alcal? Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600


SchoolContact Information
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
12950 E. Montview Boulevard
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-2152


SchoolContact Information
Yale University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
400 West Campus Drive
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 785-2389


SchoolContact Information
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-7703
University of South Florida
DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MDC Box 22
Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 974-2191


SchoolContact Information
Augusta University
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-9767
Emory University
1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980
Georgia State University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
33 Gilmer St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 413-2000


SchoolContact Information
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
845 South Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-7800
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
1601 Parkview Ave
Rockford, IL 61107
(815) 395-0600


SchoolContact Information
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
600 Barnhill Drive, NU 122
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-2806


SchoolContact Information
University of Iowa
50 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-7018


SchoolContact Information
University of Kentucky College of Nursing
315 College of Nursing Building 751 Rose Street
Lexington, KY 40536
(859) 323-5108


SchoolContact Information
Grambling State University
403 Main St
Grambling, LA 71245
(318) 247-3811
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
175 Sam Sibley Dr
Natchitoches, LA 71497
(318) 357-6011


SchoolContact Information
Johns Hopkins University
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-4766
University of Maryland
655 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-6109


SchoolContact Information
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250
MGH Institute Of Health Professions
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
36 1st Avenue
Boston, MA 02129
(617) 726-2947
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000
Regis College
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000
Regis University
Graduate Certificate Programs
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000


SchoolContact Information
University of Michigan
426 N. Ingalls St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 763-5985
Wayne State University
5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-4082


SchoolContact Information
University of Minnesota
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-9600


SchoolContact Information
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 984-1000


SchoolContact Information
Maryville University
650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 529-9300
Mizzou Online- University of Missouri
136 Clark Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2491
Saint Louis University
DNP Programs
3525 Caroline Mall
Saint Louis, MO 63104
(314) 977-8909
University of Missouri - St. Louis
1 University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
(314) 516-5000
University of Missouri Health
DNP Programs
S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-0277
University Of Missouri Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000


SchoolContact Information
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
(402) 280-2700
University of Nebraska Medical Center
42nd and Emile
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 559-4000

New Jersey

SchoolContact Information
Rutgers School of Nursing
180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 972-4307
Seton Hall University
400 South Orange Ave.
South Orange, NJ 07079
(973) 761-9000

New Mexico

SchoolContact Information
The University of New Mexico
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
2502 Marble Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131
(505) 272-0858

New York

SchoolContact Information
Columbia University
617 W 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-5756
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
433 First Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 998-5300
Stony Brook University
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 689-8333
University at Buffalo
3435 Main St. Wende Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

SchoolContact Information
Duke University
307 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-3786
The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Carrington Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211


SchoolContact Information
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000
Kent State University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1375 University Esplanade
Kent, OH 44242
(330) 672-7930
The Ohio State University
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-4041
The University of Akron
302 E Buchtel Ave
Akron, OH 44325
(330) 972-7111
The University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft
Toledo, OH 43606
(800) 586-5336
University of Cincinnati
2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(151) 355-8550 x0
Wright State University
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton, OH 45431
(937) 775-3333


SchoolContact Information
Oregon Health & Sciences University
3147 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 494-8311


SchoolContact Information
Drexel University
1601 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 895-2000
Thomas Jefferson University
111 S 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 503-8890
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
418 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281
University of Pittsburgh
3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586


SchoolContact Information
East Tennessee State University
365 Stout Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-4578
King University
1350 King College Road
Bristol, TN 37620
(800) 362-0014
Tennessee Tech University
1 William L Jones Dr.
Cookeville, TN 38505
(931) 372-3101
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
910 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-5500
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1200 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-4151
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
(731) 661-6545


SchoolContact Information
Texas Christian University
2800 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76129
(817) 257-7000
Texas Tech University
3601 4th St.
Lubbock, TX 79430
(806) 743-2730
Texas Woman's University
304 Administration Dr.
Denton, TX 76204
(940) 898-2000
The University of Texas at Arlington
701 S Nedderman Dr
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-2011
The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3434
The University of Texas at El Paso
500 West University Avenue
El Paso, TX 79968
(915) 747-5000
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr
San Antonio, TX 78229
(210) 567-7000


SchoolContact Information
Old Dominion University
MSN Programs
5115 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-3000
University of Virginia
225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3388
(434) 924-0141


SchoolContact Information
University of Washington
1410 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2100

West Virginia

SchoolContact Information
West Virginia University
6700 Health Sciences South
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-0111


SchoolContact Information
Marquette University
1250 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(800) 222-6544

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