Pediatric Nursing Schools and Courses

A Master of Science in Nursing can help you become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Learn about program prerequisites, common coursework and professional certification. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

In order to become a pediatric nurse, you will need a master's degree. Some courses or portions of pediatric nursing programs are available online, but most require a hands-on component.

CoursesAnatomy, physiology, pharmacology, phlebotomy, nursing theory, nursing research, leadership
Degrees Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Master of Nursing Science (MNSc)
Future Career OptionsCertified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) or Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN)

What Should I Look For in a Pediatric Nursing School?

Since most pediatric nursing programs are at the post-baccalaureate level, you should look for graduate schools that offer pediatric specializations within their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) degrees. The graduate training will teach you to step into a leadership role and take charge of difficult situations. Some schools even offer internship opportunities that may help you get your foot in the door at a hospital or clinic. The school you choose must be properly accredited; an accredited degree will ensure that you are eligible for further certifications after graduation.

It is recommended to attend a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Some schools that offer CCNE-accredited MSN programs with specialties in pediatric nurse practitioner include:

  • Yale University
  • Maryville University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Are Online Studies in Pediatric Nursing Available?

You may not find many fully online graduate nursing programs, but some schools combine seminars, online discussions and community support to create flexible program options. Classes like phlebotomy are not ideal for an online format and may require in-class participation. Clinical experiences require in-person attendance; however, some programs allow you to complete all courses through distance learning and arrange for clinical rotations at a medical facility in your area. Some online programs offer simulated clinical experiences.

What Prerequisites Do I Need to Complete?

Though an employment background in patient care or child development could help you succeed in this field, you do not have to have prior experience to enroll in a pediatric nursing degree program. However, you may need to earn your bachelor's degree in nursing before you can focus on the pediatric nursing specialty. You will need to complete coursework in general studies, child development and nursing up to the 400 level prior to transferring to a graduate school to earn a specialized nursing degree. Choose electives carefully to reflect your dedication to pediatric care.

What Courses Are in the Degree Program?

You can expect to take courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, leadership and phlebotomy. You may learn how to insert IVs, draw blood, administer medications, dress wounds and manage care. While most of the upper level coursework focuses on the child as your patient, you will also explore general nursing theory and practices. Some pediatric nursing programs focus on the newborn while others focus on older children.

Specific coursework can include:

  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Pediatric health promotion
  • Pediatric development
  • Chronic health conditions in children

What Careers Will a Degree Program Prepare Me For?

Upon completion of a master's with a pediatric nursing specialization, you can become a pediatric nurse practitioner to help care for sick or injured kids from birth to age 21. You could pursue a credential from an organization such as the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, or PNCB ( Possibilities include the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) credential, which has further specializations in primary care or acute care. A Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN) credential is also available. Certifications are based on a combination of education, experience and successful completion of exams.

Pediatric nurse practitioners choose to provide care in either acute or extended care settings. You'll often act as a liaison between doctor and patient by forming a unique relationship with the patient and their family. You might assist doctors in caring for patients in doctors' offices, hospitals, emergency rooms and delivery wards. You may have to work long shifts when first starting out to give children access to care all hours of the day and night.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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