What Degrees Are Available in Pediatric Nursing?

To become a pediatric nurse, you must earn a diploma or degree in nursing from an accredited institution and attain a nursing license. After gaining work experience in a pediatric setting, you can take the Certified Pediatric Nurse exam. Several colleges and universities also offer master's degrees that prepare graduates for certification as nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists in pedicatrics. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Pediatric Nursing

Regardless of their specialty, all nurses begin their careers with a general nursing education. Traditionally, nursing students would earn a diploma or associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing; however, diploma programs are no longer a popular option. Often, nurses who receive 2-year associate's degrees go on to complete the 4-year bachelor's degree program after attaining an entry-level job.

According to the Society of Pediatric Nurses, www.pednurses.org, the path to becoming a pediatric nurse at the associate's or bachelor's degree level involves securing a position at a site that specializes in pediatric patients. Most of these institutions offer specialized classroom or clinical training geared toward working with children.

Students in associate's and bachelor's degree programs must first complete general education requirements before beginning their nursing courses. For nurses who desire more independence in their pediatric nursing practices, several colleges and universities offer a Master of Science in Nursing - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PNP) degree or an MSN - Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) - Pediatrics degree. Much like physicians, graduates of these programs can assess, diagnose and treat acute pediatric illnesses. Most require about two years of study and include coursework and clinical practice. Many courses are offered online.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Common CoursesChemistry, anatomy/physiology, health assessment, pharmacology, lab courses, clinical practice and more advanced classwork
Degree/Certificate LevelsAssociate's, bachelor's and graduate level and advanced practice certifications
Continuing EducationNational and state certifications are required as is continuing education & training
Online AvailabilityPartially online with some in-person classes or clinics
Median Salary (2018) $71,730 (for all registered nurses)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all registered nurses)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nursing Licensure and Certification

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers a licensing exam, known as the NCLEX, for nursing school graduates. Licensure as a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) is required in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories.

After completing training and gaining some experience, the nurse may take the Certified Pediatric Nurse exam, which is offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (www.pncb.org). Another certification is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC, www.nursecredentialing.org), and requires experience and continuing education training.

Advanced Practice Certification

The ANCC offers certification for advanced practice nurses. This NP and CNS certification requires completing the required education and passing a comprehensive exam. Maintaining certification calls for completing continuing education courses.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools