Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for pediatric nurse practitioners. Get the facts about education, licensing requirements and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

Pediatric nurse practitioners are registered nurses with a graduate degree who provide care to children and perform many of the same duties as pediatricians. They are able to provide more advanced care than registered nurses, as they have more training and education. They assess patients' illnesses, order diagnostic tests, create treatment plans, and give treatment. They also consult with doctors and other medical professionals. Because they work with children, they also should be able to communicate with parents and guardians regarding the state and treatment of their children. The following chart provides an overview about becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Nursing
Licensure or Certification Licensure as a registered nurse is required in all states; board certification is available
Key Responsibilities Examine patients and treat disease, illness, and injury typically found in children and adolescents; perform well-baby and child physical examinations and administer vaccinations; analyze symptoms of illness or injury, diagnostic tests and patient history to arrive on diagnoses; prescribe treatment and medication with doctor's approval; advise parents of child's healthcare and treatments
Job Growth (2014-2024) 35% for all nurse practitioners*
Median Salary (2016) $83,350 for pediatrics nurse practitioners**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

What Are My Job Duties as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

As a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), you'll provide care to infants, children, and adolescents in an extensive range of practice settings, including physicians' offices, hospitals, health departments and school clinics. You can provide some of the same care as physicians do, so you'll sometimes serve as some patients' regular health care provider. Your duties will typically include prescribing medication as well as ordering, performing, and interpreting medical tests. You'll also collaborate with physicians and other health professionals as needed in order to best diagnose, treat, and monitor chronic diseases.

How Is My Career Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that overall job opportunities for all nurse practitioners, including pediatric nurse practitioners, were expected to increase by 35% over the 2014-2024 decade. This growing demand for such skills may be due to a large number of retiring nursing professionals who must be replaced and to improvements in health care technology with an increased focus on preventive care. The annual median salary range for PNPs was $67,149 - $112,079, as indicated by Payscale.com in October 2016.

What Are My Education Requirements?

As an aspiring pediatric nurse practitioner, you'll first need to become a registered nurse, which can be accomplished in several ways. You can do this by completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program or a diploma program. You may want to go straight to a BSN program since that is the fastest way to be eligible for the later graduate programs required for nurse practitioners. After graduation, you'll also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse.

To become a pediatric nurse practitioner, you can complete a Master of Science degree in Nursing program (MSN). These programs typically take two years of graduate study to complete, and you have the option of an accelerated nursing program that allows you to earn a BSN and an MSN in 3-4 years. As a graduate-level student, you'll take coursework in pharmacology, ethics, prevention, health assessment, physiology and primary care.

What About Certification?

You can also pursue voluntary certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. The two relevant certifications are in primary care and acute care. For each certification, you'll need to have completed an MSN program and pass an examination, and annual recertification is required (www.pncb.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals interested in careers as pediatric nurse practitioners may also wish to pursue education to become pediatricians, which will allow them to provide even more advanced care to children. If they are not particularly interested in working with children, they could also become other types of doctors and surgeons. For those who do not want to spend as much time in school, they could pursue careers as registered nurses or enroll in educational programs to become physicians' assistants. Other possible careers in the medical field include those in occupational therapy and physical therapy.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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