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.

2022 - 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 (https://www.registerednursing.org/rankings-methodology/)

1.

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

Wayne State University in Detroit offers a top-rated Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - DNP/MSN program that can be completed mostly online. The primary or acute care option allows dedicated nurses to specialize so they can work in their preferred setting. Programs take advantage of distance learning technology such as simulations but some on-campus classes are required.

DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
Quick Facts:
  • One year of full-time, RN pediatric in-hospital experience is required
  • Program graduates can sit for specialty examinations
  • The only urban research university in Michigan
2.

Maryville University

St. Louis, MO

With a focus on leadership, health promotion, and disease prevention for youth and adolescents, Maryville University offers several options, including an online MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree for experienced nurses. The flexible program is structured so that students can complete their degrees part-time while they continue to work.

DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
Quick Facts:
  • 100% online with no campus visits
  • In-person clinicals are completed at students’ home locations
  • A private institution of higher learning
3.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis

Memphis, TN

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center offers a top-rated, one-of-a-kind, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), program that offers a dual concentration in Acute and Primary Care. Some early courses are offered online, yet advanced-level courses must be completed on-campus for this select program.

DNP Programs
Quick Facts:
  • Graduates can sit for both national certification examinations
  • The intensive, full-time-only program does not encourage full-time employment
  • Applicants must have a clinical background caring for children

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:

Accreditation

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 is 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 the 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 masters 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 of 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 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
  • The 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.

Jump to Your State Listings

Alabama

Arizona

411 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(480) 965-7788

DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
1305 N. Martin | PO Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154

California

MSN Programs
901 E. Alosta Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 969-3434

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4111

11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923

UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435

5998 Alcal? Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600

Colorado

Connecticut

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

Florida

Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-7703

DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MDC Box 22
Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 974-2191

Georgia

DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-9767

1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
33 Gilmer St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 413-2000

Illinois

Indiana

600 Barnhill Drive, NU 122
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-2806

Iowa

Kentucky

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

Louisiana

403 Main St
Grambling, LA 71245
(318) 247-3811

Maryland

School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-4766

655 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-6109

Massachusetts

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
36 1st Avenue
Boston, MA 02129
(617) 726-2947

360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000

235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000

Graduate Certificate Programs
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000

Michigan

Minnesota

308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-9600

Mississippi

2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 984-1000

Missouri

650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 529-9300

136 Clark Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2491

DNP Programs
School of Nursing
3525 Caroline Mall
Saint Louis, MO 63104
(314) 977-8909

5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000

DNP Programs
S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-0277

Nebraska

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
(402) 280-2700

42nd and Emile
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 559-4000

New Jersey

180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 972-4307

College of Nursing
400 South Orange Ave.
South Orange, NJ 07079
(973) 761-9000

New Mexico

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
2502 Marble Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131
(505) 272-0858

New York

617 W 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-5756

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
433 First Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 998-5300

School of Nursing
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 689-8333

3435 Main St. Wende Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

307 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-3786

Carrington Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

Ohio

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1375 University Esplanade
Kent, OH 44242
(330) 672-7930

2801 W. Bancroft
Toledo, OH 43606
(800) 586-5336

Oregon

3147 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 494-8311

Pennsylvania

College of Nursing
111 S 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 503-8890

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
418 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281

3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586

Tennessee

365 Stout Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-4578

1350 King College Road
Bristol, TN 37620
(800) 362-0014

1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
(731) 661-6545

Texas

2800 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76129
(817) 257-7000

304 Administration Dr.
Denton, TX 76204
(940) 898-2000

110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3434

500 West University Avenue
El Paso, TX 79968
(915) 747-5000

Virginia

MSN Programs
5115 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-3000

225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3388
(434) 924-0141

Washington

West Virginia

6700 Health Sciences South
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-0111

Wisconsin

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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