Pediatric NP Programs

December 14, 2021 , Updated on May 11, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Review some of the best pediatric nurse practitioner programs and discover the various characteristics of specializing in the field.

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Pediatric NP Programs

The Best Pediatric NP Programs

Similar to other nursing specialties, the demand for nurse practitioners (NPs) is projected to increase exponentially by the end of the decade. An area in particular need of healthcare professionals is pediatrics.

The field of pediatrics provides nurses with options in primary and acute care through a variety of diverse settings. Learn more about the best pediatric NP programs that offer the best options for nurses looking to enter the field.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best pediatric NP programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about pediatric NP programs, or go straight to our list of the best pediatric NP programs.

How do Pediatric NP Programs Work?

Pediatric NP programs prepare graduates to provide advanced care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, schools, and clinics. Most programs incorporate the following elements:

1. Structure

Prospective students typically choose to focus on either acute or primary care. Both programs include graduate-level coursework and clinical experiences within the appropriate pediatric setting. Nurses can also take advantage of online programs, providing them with a more flexible way to earn their degree.

2. Coursework

Coursework for primary and acute care programs focus on graduate-level courses, electives, and clinical experiences. Both programs include coursework in pediatric development, advanced pharmacology, health promotion, preventative care, diagnosis, and management of chronic illnesses. They also provide family education and counseling.

3. Pace

The pace of a pediatric NP program can vary. Students attending on a full-time basis can graduate faster than those completing the program part time. Pacing also varies for students who complete an online program, as they are typically much more flexible than their in-class counterparts.

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Applying to a Pediatric NP Program

Before applying to a pediatric NP program, review the admission requirements to determine the necessary prerequisites for admittance. Admission requirements tell applicants how well a program suits their academic and professional background.

Applicants then compile application materials. Requirements for an online MSN program in nursing leadership include:

Admission Materials

Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), transcripts from previous academic programs, letters of recommendation/reference (academic and professional), a personal statement, and an interview with faculty member(s)

GPA Requirement

Pediatric programs typically require a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Other Requirement

Applicants must hold a valid, unencumbered RN license; a minimum of one full year of experience as an RN, and clinical experience in pediatric nursing

Why is Pediatric NP Program Accreditation Important?

It is important for applicants to select an accredited program. Earning a degree from an accredited institution provides a variety of benefits for graduates and their future employers.

  1. Receiving accreditation from the ACEN and the CCNE verifies that the program meets quality standards and adequately prepares students to become pediatric NPs.
  2. Accredited programs may not recognize credits earned from non-accredited programs.
  3. Most advanced degree programs expect applicants to hold a degree from an accredited institution.
  4. Students who attend unaccredited programs are not eligible for federal financial aid.
  5. Employers prefer graduates who attended an accredited program.

The Best Pediatric NP Programs

#1

Vanderbilt University

School Information
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Vanderbilt University offers multiple entry points to its MSN program. The university delivers MSN tracks for students with or without a bachelor's degree in nursing. Enrollees choose from several speciality areas, including pediatric nurse practitioner primary care.

One of the nation's top pediatric NP programs, the MSN program prepares students to pursue board certification. Students with a nursing background earn the degree online. Those without a nursing education must complete a pre-specialty year in Nashville.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric nurse practitioner primary care 
  • Campus: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,793 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree, minimum 3.0 GPA, prerequisite courses, transcripts; degree from an accredited school and unencumbered RN license for RN applicants
  • Minimum Time Commitment: N/A
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes, for students without a nursing degree
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#2

Duke University

School Information
Location Durham, North Carolina
Admission Rate 8%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Duke University delivers an MSN program with specialty options in pediatric NP acute care and pediatric NP primary care. The program prepares nurses to sit for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board exam.

Students complete the MSN online with some on-campus components. One of the nation's best pediatric NP programs, Duke's MSN features clinical experiences in diverse settings. During required two- to five-day intensives, students interact with peers and faculty. The intensives involve hands-on activities, including simulations.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric NP acute care; MSN - pediatric NP primary care
  • Campus: Durham, North Carolina
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,984 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Associate degree or bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school, minimum 3.0 GPA (preferred), prerequisite coursework, current RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: N/A
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $97,071 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#3

University of Pennsylvania

School Information
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 8%
Graduation Rate 96%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

An Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania offers an MSN with specialties in pediatric primary care NP and pediatric acute care NP. Each program prepares learners to pursue state and national board certification.

Students complete these top pediatric NP programs on campus in 1-3 years. The MSN offers full-time and part-time enrollment options. The pediatric acute care NP program features concentration options in critical care, oncology, and acute/chronic care.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric primary care NP; MSN - pediatric acute care NP
  • Campus: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $78,720-$227,118 total tuition and fees
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited school, statistics coursework, active RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.8 % first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $109,193 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#4

Emory University

School Information
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

A private college located in Atlanta, Emory University offers two of the nation's best pediatric NP programs. Students can specialize in acute care pediatric NP or pediatric primary care NP.

RNs complete the acute care program online with some on-campus requirements. All RNs complete theoretical, clinical, and specialty requirements. The degrees prepare students to pursue board certification.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric acute care NP; MSN - pediatric primary care NP
  • Campus: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,963 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree from an accredited school, Georgia or multistate RN license, at least 1-2 years of experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $100,571 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#5

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Students can pursue a nurse practitioner MSN with a pediatric primary care specialty from Florida International University. Learners study online or on campus in Miami. The six-semester MSN program prepares students to sit for national board exams.

Enrollees complete 45 credits, including core courses, specialized training, and 630 clinical hours. Students can also pursue a nurse educator certificate.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric primary care NP; dual MSN - pediatric primary care NP and nurse educator certificate
  • Campus: Miami, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $28,282 per year for Florida residents; $50,966 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited program, minimum 3.0 GPA, Florida RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Six semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.7 % first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $166,709 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#6

Case Western Reserve University

School Information
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Admission Rate 27%
Graduation Rate 84%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University offers an MSN program with pediatric NP and pediatric NP in acute care specialties. Students complete 40-45 credit hours and at least 600 clinical hours. The program lasts 18-24 months. 

One of the top pediatric NP programs, the pediatric NP track offers a distance format. Each program prepares RNs to sit for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board exam. Working RNs can study part time.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric NP; MSN - pediatric NP in acute care
  • Campus: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,263 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited nursing program, statistics coursework; one year of acute care pediatric nursing experience for acute care specialty applicants
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $104,192 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#7

Upstate Medical University

School Information
Location Syracuse, New York
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

SUNY Upstate Medical University delivers an MSN with a pediatric NP specialty. Learners can pursue the degree on campus in Syracuse or entirely online. The 50-credit program offers full-time and part-time enrollment options.

RNs develop advanced nursing skills in areas including clinical management and leadership. One of the nation's best pediatric NP programs, the curriculum features extensive clinical experiences. On-campus learners meet in person one evening per week.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric NP
  • Campus: Syracuse, New York
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $11,310 per year (in-state); $23,100 per year (out-of-state)
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing school, transcripts
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes, for some students
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $93,964 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#8

Villanova University

School Information
Location Villanova, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Villanova University delivers an MSN program with a pediatric nurse practitioner specialty. Learners can complete core coursework on campus or online. One of the nation's top pediatric NP programs, Villanova's offering prepares RNs for advanced practice in primary care.

RNs complete 610 hours in clinical settings, working with physicians and NP preceptors. Full-time students earn the degree in 18-24 months. Part-time students typically graduate in 2.5 years.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric NP in primary care
  • Campus: Villanova, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $995 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school, minimum 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, at least one year of clinical practice
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $165,766 for master's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#9

MGH Institute of Health Professions

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

The MGH Institute of Health Professions offers an MSN program with seven NP specialties, including pediatrics. Students learn on campus in Boston in an environment that promotes collaboration across the health professions. Students complete 48-58 credits, depending on their educational background.

RNs complete clinicals at sites that work with underserved populations. Learners can access an on-campus nursing center that serves the Boston area, along with research opportunities at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric NP
  • Campus: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,470 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited school, GRE scores, RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: N/A
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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#10

Thomas Jefferson University

School Information
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Description:

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) offers an MSN with a pediatric primary care NP specialty. Students can earn the MSN online or in a hybrid format. The program prepares learners to obtain board certification.

One of the nation's top pediatric NP programs, the 36-credit curriculum requires specialty coursework emphasizing diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision-making. RNs complete 672 clinical hours. New students participate in a one-day orientation.

Details:

  • Program(s): MSN - pediatric primary care NP
  • Campus: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,200 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN from an accredited institution, minimum 3.0 GPA, RN license 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2.5 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
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Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric NP Programs


How many years does it take to become a pediatric NP?

You can become a pediatric NP in as little as six years. Initially, it takes 2-3 years to earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and four years to earn a BSN. You can earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) in two more years, which is required to become a pediatric NP. It can take longer for individuals who cannot complete these programs as full-time students.

What are some duties pediatric NPs perform?

Pediatric NPs handle a wide range of tasks. Essentially, they evaluate the development of children from birth to adulthood (18-21), keep track of patient histories, perform physical exams, provide immunizations, diagnose and treat illnesses, promote healthy living, and educate patients and their families.

Where do pediatric NPs work?

Pediatric NPs can work in a variety of practice settings. The most common include primary care pediatric offices, hospitals, schools, and urgent-care clinics. While they often work alongside pediatricians, some states allow pediatric NPs to start their own practice.

What can I do as a pediatric NP?

Pediatric NPs can provide a majority of health services. Depending on their education and where they live, pediatric NPs can diagnose illness, perform physical examinations, prescribe medication, screen and assess patients, provide immunizations, and own their own practice.


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