What Are the Top Pediatric Nursing Schools and Programs?

Explore what you should look for when choosing a school with a strong program in pediatric nursing. Read about three schools with nationally ranked pediatric nursing programs, and review the degrees they each offer in this field. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Pediatric Nursing School?

Look for schools that prepare you for certification examinations from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Maybe you would like a pediatric nursing school with clinical rotation options in a highly ranked pediatric hospital or an affiliated medical school noted for pediatrics. Research centers can prepare you for a research or teaching career. Depending on your schedule and availability, you might search for a program that has online or dual degree options.

What Are Three Top Pediatric Nursing Programs?

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

JHU's pediatric nursing program was tied for fifth place by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. JHU had the 4th-ranked pediatrics medical school. JHU offers an accelerated opportunity to earn your bachelor's degree, RN license and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in a fast-track option that culminates in a year-long paid clinical residency after four years of study. The Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP) option is available as one of 13 graduate programs.

You can pursue part-time MSN studies in pediatrics or another specialty during your residency. If you already have a 4-year degree, you may be able to custom-design your B.S. to MSN degree to complete your pediatric nursing specialty studies quickly. The PPCNP program can be pursued full- or part-time. If you already have an MSN, you could take the post-master's pediatric primary care option. You might also pursue a joint MSN and Master of Public Health degree, a nurse educator certificate option or a Ph.D. Doctoral candidates have an MSN to Ph.D. option or either of two doctoral degrees. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is for students seeking administrative and advanced nursing practice roles. Ph.D. graduates typically pursue academic and research careers. These degrees and certificates are available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • MSN
  • MSN/Master of Public Health
  • MSN/Ph.D.
  • Post Grad Certificate- NP in Pediatric Primary Care
  • DNP
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing

University of Colorado in Denver, CO

UC-Denver's Anschutz hosts the Children's Hospital of Colorado. CON pioneered the nurse practitioner concept. Its Center for Nursing Research supports nursing research with facilities, computer and statistical resources and consultation on research projects. The CU-UNITE program prepares pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs), medical students and students in the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program to address needs of underserved populations.

The pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) program is one of nine graduate nursing specialties leading to an MSN. Two-thirds of the coursework is available online, and you'll complete 540 clinical hours. To participate in this program, you'll need a current Colorado RN license. If you already have an MSN, you could pursue pediatric nursing through a post-master's certificate program. Further pediatric study could be supported through an integrated MS and DNP program that will prepare you for advanced practice; additional options are the research-oriented MS and Ph.D. pediatric nurse practitioner or pediatric nursing leadership and special needs programs. These pediatric nursing degrees and certificates are available:

  • MSN
  • MSN/DNP
  • MSN/Ph.D. in Nursing
  • MSNP - Acute Pediatric Care
  • Post Grad Certificate- NP in Pediatric Primary Care
  • DNP
  • Ph.D. in Nursing

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania hosts the School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), which is 1st-ranked for pediatrics by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Clinical rotation sites might include The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the oldest pediatric hospital in the U.S. Penn Nursing's Office of Nursing Research facilitates collaborative research with CHOP and its research institute, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans' Center. Penn Nursing offers five pediatric master's programs and a post-master's advanced practice pediatric clinical nurse specialist opportunity.

You could enter the BSN/MSN or MSN program. MSN programs include some joint degree options, the 1-year pediatric nurse practitioner program, and specializations in pediatric neonatal, acute and chronic care, critical care or oncology. Students who have MSNs could pursue the advanced Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist program full- or part-time. A combined doctorate and master's in bioethics offers interdisciplinary study with guidance from the Penn Center for Bioethics. Other research entities include the Center for Health Equity Research. Penn Nursing has active exchange or service programs addressing conditions in Haiti, India and U.S. urban environments, in addition to the Ayfa Bora Consortium Fellowship to support preparation of health professionals and programs for African countries. These degrees and certificates are offered:

  • BSN/MSN
  • MSN
  • MSN/Ph.D. in Nursing
  • Post Grad Certificate- NP in Pediatric Primary Care
  • Post Grad Certificate- NP in Pediatric Acute Care
  • Ph.D. in Nursing
  • Ph.D. in Nursing/Master of Bioethics
  • Ph.D./MBA

More Top Schools for Pediatric Primary Care Nursing Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition and Fees*
Duke University4-year, PrivateDurham, NC$55,000
Yale University4-year, PrivateNew Haven, CT$42,000
Rush UniversityGraduate, PrivateChicago, IL$37,000
University of California--San Francisco4-year, PublicSan Francisco, CA$13,000
University of Washington4-year, PublicSeattle, WA$17,000
University of Illinois--Chicago4-year, PublicChicago, IL$17,000
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI$23,000
Vanderbilt University4-year, PrivateNashville, TN$48,000
Columbia University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$48,000
University of Pittsburgh Medical, PublicPittsburgh, PA$24,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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  • The George Washington University

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