Top Online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) play an especially important role in the lives of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses as well as well-visit checkups and preventive care. PNPs also seek to meet the physiological and psychological needs of their patients and help parents and families properly care for their children and infants for their optimal health and wellbeing.

There are two types of pediatric nurse practitioners: primary care and acute care. Primary care pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP-PCs) work in primary care settings, schools, hospitals, home care situations, and specialty clinics and refer patients to other health care team members when necessary. They are able to assess, evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients across the spectrum of primary care. The primary care PNP advocates for infants, children, and young adults to promote quality, cost-effective care and safety for all involved.

Acute care pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP-ACs) work with the same age ranges with patients who suffer from “acute, complex, critical, and chronic illness across a variety of care settings,” (Pediatric Nursing Certification Board). Acute care PNPs typically work in emergency departments, hospitals, intensive care units, home health care situations, and subspecialty clinics. They collaborate directly with health care teams responsible for the patient’s care and well-being, developing care plans and monitoring patient care and recovery. In addition, they secure parental/guardian permission when caring for their patients.

Online Pediatric NP Program Rankings

Distance-based PNP programs typically offer online coursework, flexibility in course load and time to completion, and a minimal number of required campus visits. Preceptorships are usually completed local to the student.

The NPSchools.com team compiled a complete list of online PNP programs for the 2019-2020 academic year and ranked them by an “AdvanceU” score that combines cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. Our database contains entries for more than 700 online NP programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels, including PNP-PC, PNP-AC and dual PNP-PC/PNP-AC programs. In order to qualify for inclusion in the NPSchools.com rankings below, a PNP program must require no more than nine campus visits in total.

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Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Career and Salary

The pediatric nurse practitioner field attracts about 9 percent of those studying to become nurse practitioners (AANP, 2018). Pay scales range from $80,670 to $182,750 for nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists, with the median wage for nurse practitioners landing at $107,030 (BLS, 2018).

The nurse practitioner field is growing at a much faster pace than average with an expected increase of 28 percent between 2018 and 2028 (BLS, 2018). The average for all occupations is 5 percent.

Aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners must earn a graduate nursing degree such as a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP). MSN- and DNP-prepared RNs may, alternatively, opt to earn a post-master’s certificate (PMC).