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How To Become A Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

October 17, 2022
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Steps to Becoming a Pediatric Nurse PractitionerWhat Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Do?Pediatric Nurse Practitioner SalaryFAQs: Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

”Akhil

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 5/23/22

Do you envision helping children lead fuller, healthier lives when you picture your dream job? In that case, becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner may be right for you. Read on to learn more!

Many noble professions exist in our society, and a pediatric nurse practitioner ranks as one of the most dignified. These nurse practitioners devote their time to ensuring the health and safety of children. The work can be exhausting, but many feel any hardships are worth it.

Wondering how to become a pediatric nurse practitioner? Curious about how long the process takes? In this guide, we’ll answer these questions to help you start your career path. 

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Steps to Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

You’ll spend significant time in school pursuing a nursing career. Though the road seems long, it’s a noble and rewarding profession. We’ll discuss how to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, so you’ll know what to expect once you’re ready to begin your journey. 

Education 

Practitioners must meet specific licensing requirements before they can practice pediatric nursing. The required schooling for pediatric nurse practitioners includes obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) and a master’s degree. Many colleges offer these degree options.

Experience

Once you begin nursing school, you’ll have many opportunities to gain experience in the field. In addition to education, every nursing program consists of components like clinicals that help you gain first-hand experience applying what you’ve learned. 

You’ll see what it’s like being a nurse and find out if you’re fit for the career path. 

If your high school offers a nursing pathway, you can begin clinicals before college. You’ll get the added benefit of more nursing experience and hone your skills before pursuing a bachelor’s degree. 

You can also volunteer at your local hospital or ask if you could shadow a pediatric nurse practitioner to gain more experience. Caring for children requires immense dedication and practice, so acquiring this experience is necessary for your career. 

Licensing

Once you’ve acquired your BSN, you’ll need to take an exam to earn licensure. To become a nurse, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure (NCLEX) and receive your RN license. 

This exam tests your nursing knowledge and determines if you’re ready. Before taking the exam, you’ll need to contact the nursing regulatory body in your state to obtain an Authorization To Test (ATT) to determine your eligibility. 

Once you’ve passed the NCLEX, you’ll need to obtain an RN license in your state. Nurses must be licensed in the same state they wish to practice. After completing your bachelor’s and passing the NCLEX, you’ll begin a Master’s Degree in Nursing to become a nurse practitioner. 

Certification

After earning your master’s, you’ll begin the certification process by taking the National NP Certification Board Exam to become a licensed nurse practitioner and then applying for licensure in your state. To maintain your NP status, you’ll need to renew your certification periodically by meeting certain requirements or continuing education, depending on your state. 

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What Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

A pediatric nurse practitioner provides the utmost care to children as old as 21. Whether you work in a clinic or a hospital, your job is to ensure the health and safety of children. Children are more susceptible to disease and sickness since their immune systems are not fully developed; therefore, they can require more attention. 

You’ll be taught essentially the same basics as a regular nurse practitioner, but you’ll also learn how to apply this knowledge to children. Children are susceptible to the same illnesses as adults, but you might treat these differently depending on age. 

Ultimately, you’ll provide the best medical care to children with the freedom to have a little fun with the job. Part of your job is to make them feel safe and comfortable. You’re allowed to be silly and have a little fun to make children feel relaxed. And most importantly, you’ll be making a difference.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Salary

How much pediatric nurse practitioners make depends on multiple factors. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that all nurse practitioners make an average annual salary of $118,040 and a mean hourly wage of $56.75.

However, pediatric nurse practitioner salaries can vary: 

table outlining Pediatric Nurse Practitioner salaries
Source: BLS

The five top-paying industries for all nurse practitioners include: 

When searching for jobs, it’s best to be mindful of your location, industry, and experience: all these factors can influence your annual salary. 

FAQs: Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Do you still have questions about becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner? Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions! 

1. How Much Does a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Make?

According to the BLS, all nurse practitioners (including pediatric nurse practitioners) make an average annual salary of $118,040. However, how much you make also depends on other factors, such as the state you practice in and what industry you work in. 

2. How Long Does It Take to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

How long it takes to become a pediatric nurse practitioner depends on your personal timeline. However, students can expect to become licensed pediatric nurse practitioners after six years. After earning a BSN, which takes an average of four years to complete, you must complete a nurse practitioner program. 

3. What’s the Difference Between a Pediatric Nurse and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?

A pediatric nurse begins practicing once they’ve completed their BSN; a pediatric nurse practitioner must pursue a master’s degree. 

Your decision depends on whether you want to begin practicing after four years of education, whether you wish to pursue a deeper understanding of pediatric care, and your desired salary since an NP earns more than a nurse. 

4. Can a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Prescribe Medication?

While the requirements vary by state, nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, including controlled substances, with a doctor’s supervision. 

5. Can Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Perform Surgery?

No, nurse practitioners can’t perform surgery by themselves. However, they can assist in surgeries as long as they have the proper training. 

6. Can Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Practice Independently?

Whether a pediatric nurse practitioner can practice independently depends on the state they’re licensed in. Some states allow pediatric nurse practitioners to practice independently, while others require these practices to be supervised by a physician. 

7. Are Pediatric Nurse Practitioners In Demand? 

According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth rate of all nurse practitioners is expected to skyrocket between now and 2031 at 40%. To put this percentage in perspective, the average estimated growth rate for all occupations typically falls between 5% and 8%. 

8. Where Do Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Get Paid the Most? 

According to the BLS, these are the five states where all nurse practitioners make the most money: 

If you’re considering practicing in one of these states, you can possibly make more annually than in other states. 

9. What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner? 

The necessary education requirements to become a pediatric nurse practitioner include obtaining a BSN and a master’s degree. You must take the NCLEX between these two steps to become a nurse practitioner. 

Final Thoughts

You must devote at least six years studying and testing to earn your nursing license. Nurses are expected to pursue continuing education because it’s constantly evolving.

But if you’re passionate about the career, some days it won’t feel like work. 

Your experience and knowledge help ensure the health and safety of children of all ages. Now that you know how to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, you can feel confident at every step. 

You’ll experience the magic of growth and development, and you’re allowed to be a little silly and have fun to make children feel comfortable. You’ll make a difference in a child’s life and earn a stable income as you do so. No matter when you begin your journey, you’re sure to become a successful pediatric nurse practitioner. Good luck!

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