Best Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (PNP)

Best Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (PNP)

Aspiring nurse practitioners (NPs) looking to work with children can gain all of the necessary expertise by completing an accredited online pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) program. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), skills developed in online programs include administering childcare and special needs services, implementing real-life practitioner skills into the workplace, and treating common and acute pediatric illnesses.

To become a PNP, each candidate must first obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and a master of science in nursing (MSN). reports an average base salary of PNPs at $124,450, while data from indicates a median pay of $91,000.

AANP reports that PNPs fill versatile roles within the healthcare system. These professionals find employment in hospitals, clinics, pediatric offices, and school-based health centers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for general NPs to grow by 52% from 2019-29.

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Applying to a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Degree Program

Common prerequisites for applying and becoming a PNP include a 3.0 GPA, prior experience as a practicing professional nurse, paying the school’s application fees, and an active registered nurse (RN) license in your state. Students can take the NCLEX-RN exam after completing their state’s prerequisites to earn licensure. Each state maintains distinct requirements for students applying for the exam.

A letter of recommendation or any other additional outside work experience could also help a student’s chances of gaining admission into a program. Many of these programs incorporate an accelerated track to earn a doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP) while pursuing an MSN. A DNP provides a student with advanced clinical practices to prepare for higher-level leadership positions, opening up more career opportunities with higher salaries.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Long Does it Take to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

    To become a PNP, a student must receive a BSN and an MSN. When applying for an MSN or a DNP, programs require each applicant to possess their BSN, which commonly takes 3-4 years. The MSN typically takes another two years for students to earn. Becoming a PNP also requires a state RN license.

  • What Is Accreditation, and Why Is it Important?

    Accreditation demonstrates that a postsecondary institution meets a certain level of educational quality as established by an accrediting body. Accrediting bodies access institutions on a national or regional level in the U.S. to determine whether the institution meets its academic criteria. Graduating from an accredited school indicates that the degree has met rigorous educational standards.

  • What Is the Difference Between a Pediatrician and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

    Educational experience and overall work duties demonstrate differences between pediatricians and PNPs. A pediatrician completes a minimum of 12 years of secondary education, as compared to the typical six years it takes to become a PNP. Both professions provide care for children, but only pediatricians can prescribe medications and perform surgery.

  • What Is the Difference Between a CPNP-PC and a CPNP-AC?

    Acute care PNPs (CPNP-AC) and primary care PNPs (CPNP-PC) both provide healthcare services to children and young adults. However, they have different specializations for the type of care they provide. A CPNP-AC specializes in care for patients with acute or chronic illnesses. A CPNP-PC maintains a patient’s health and performs routine check-ups.

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Top Three Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

  1. Maryville University

    Saint Louis, MO

    Located outside of St. Louis, Maryville University is a private institution consisting of approximately 11,000 enrollees. Maryville's nursing school outlines five specialty tracks across several degrees, depending on fields of interest and experience.

    Students pursuing a master of nursing with an online pediatric nurse practitioner concentration must complete 44 credit hours. The core curriculum includes courses such as theoretical foundations of nursing practice. The PNP concentration requires courses in health promotion of the pediatric population and pediatric assessment and diagnosis.

    Applicants must submit a CV or resume, plus BSN transcripts proving they have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individuals must also possess current, unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse in the United States.

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  2. University of Texas - Arlington

    Arlington, TX

    Founded in 1895, the University of Texas - Arlington educates approximately 60,000 students with a focus on research and development. UTA provides comprehensive online pediatric nurse practitioner programs for individuals looking to earn master of nursing degrees.

    The online MSN in pediatric primary care nurse practitioner program prepares pediatric nurses to provide expert, evidence-based care for children from birth to 21 years of age. From preventative care to disease treatment, nurses who earn a degree with a PNP-PC concentration develop the skills to succeed in pediatric healthcare.

    The curriculum includes topics such as advanced pathophysiology. Learners also complete clinical practices and an advanced nursing practicum.

    Students must earn 41 credits to complete the degree. Program length is 29-33 months on average, and tuition costs $654 per credit. Interested individuals may apply online and must include copies of official transcripts and proof of an active RN license.

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  3. The University of Texas at El Paso

    El Paso, TX

    With a student body over 80% Hispanic, The University of Texas at El Paso enrolls nearly 25,000 students in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees spanning 10 colleges and schools. UTEP offers one of the best pediatric nurse practitioner programs.

    The program offers five specializations, two of which are pediatric programs for nurses providing care to patients 21 years of age or younger. Those concentrations are the pediatric acute care nurse practitioner track for those working in hospitals or with chronically ill patients, and the pediatric primary care nurse practitioner concentration for nurses who wish to become primary care providers for children and adolescents.

    Prospective students may apply in the fall or spring during admission cycles. Credits required vary by concentration, beginning with the 46-hour PNP-PC program which also requires 675 clinical clock hours. The PNP-AC program requires 54 credits and 765 clinical clock hours

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