Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) Career and Certification

A certified pediatric nurse (CPN) works directly with children and young adults. Learn about the job duties, education requirements, certification and employment outlook for this career path. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a certified pediatric nurse (CPN), you interact with children, teenagers and their parents to identify health issues and implement a treatment plan designed by a physician. Registered nurses can become CPNs after being certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. These specialized nurses work in physicians' offices, community clinics or hospitals.

Responsibilities Serve as direct caregiver, plan and implement nursing interventions, evaluate patient outcomes, lead pediatric nurses
Certification Certification offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Must first be an RN with at least 1800 hours of pediatric nursing experience.
Career Outlook (2016-2026)* 15% expected employment growth for registered nurses

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Certified Pediatric Nurse?

A certified pediatric nurse is a licensed registered nurse (RN) certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) as being trained to handle adolescent and child health issues (www.pncb.org). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the specialization means that you understand the particular health issues that affect a young child, pre-teen or teenager (www.bls.gov). Sometimes, you may help perform physical examinations to ensure that a child is developing normally. Most nurses work in locations such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians' offices
  • Community health clinics

What Education Do I Need?

A pediatric nurse need only be an RN. To become an RN, all states require that you graduate from an accredited nursing degree program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

A diploma or associate's degree prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN. However, bachelor's and master's degrees in the field are also available and may increase your employment opportunities or salary.

How Do I Become Certified?

Certification is regulated by the PNCB. To become certified, you must be a licensed RN, prove that you have 1,800 hours of professional experience as a pediatric nature over a continuous 2-year span at the same employer and pass an exam.

What Are My Career Prospects?

A 2017 report by the BLS showed that the agency expected employment opportunities for registered nurses to grow 15% over the 2016-2026 decade. The BLS also reported that, in 2016, there were more than 2.9 million nurses in the nation and these professionals earned a median salary of $70,000 per year as of 2017. The lowest paid tenth of registered nurses earned less than $48,690 and the highest paid tenth earned more than $104,100, per the BLS.

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