Welcome to our comprehensive guide on becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
This guide provides you with the steps you need to follow to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, including all the educational, certification, and experience requirements you must fulfill.
After reading this guide, you will walk away with a better idea of what is required to become a PNP.
This guide covers:
Let’s get straight into it!
Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: A step-by-step guide
If you believe that becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is the right career for you, you might be wondering how to begin your journey toward becoming one.
Like any career, becoming a PNP requires thorough research of the steps you’ll need to follow to realize working in your dream job.
While researching might make you read several Nursing school prospects or other fine print documents, reading our guide – which combines everything you need to know to land a position as a PNP in one, is an excellent place to start.
So let’s begin, shall we?
Step 1: Earn a Nursing Degree
The first step to becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is to earn a Nursing degree.
When acquiring a Nursing degree, you’ll need to consider that you’ll have to be an RN first before becoming a Pediatric NP and that you’ll need to earn a degree appropriate for RNs.
RNs can earn an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing as both will make you an eligible candidate for an RN Licensure.
In addition, both BSNs and ADNs qualify as prerequisites for study in a Master’s program (MSN Program), which is needed to become an Advanced Practice Nurse, such as a PNP.
However, we recommend acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Our recommendation stems from the fact that not only do BSNs offer prospective RNs more in-depth knowledge, but ADN-MSN Programs are longer and require much more work to complete than BSN-MSN Programs.
However, we’ll get more into getting into an MSN Program further down in this guide.
For now, once you obtain your BSN degree, the next step will be to get your Registered Nurse Licensure.
Step 2: Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
To become a Registered Nurse, you must apply to take the NCLEX-RN.
When making an application, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing will ask for several requirements from you, including your degree and identification.
To ensure you don’t submit the wrong documentation and make your application process longer, we suggest visiting the NCSBN website to review the full rules and procedures.
When applying, you will be required to pay $200.
Once your application is approved, you’ll be able to set a date to take the exam.
While waiting to take the exam (or even well before that), we highly suggest you allocate time to study your Nursing principal knowledge.
You can obtain study guides or attend a review class to help you prepare adequately for the exam.
Once you pass your exam, you will receive your RN Licensure.
Step 3: Gain experience in Nursing (preferably Pediatrics experience)
Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner requires that you get some clinical experience.
It is typically required to have 1 to 3 years of experience to qualify for a postgraduate Nursing program.
In addition to thinking of obtaining the number of years required for admission to your desired graduate program, when seeking to acquire experience, focus on getting to know what it is like to be on the floor to determine whether it is a career you would enjoy.
Since Pediatrics is what you intend to practice in the future, you would be best served if you look for a role in Pediatrics that allows you to gain experience in the ins and outs of the profession.
Once you get some experience, your next step will be to enroll in a postgraduate Nurse Practitioner Program.
Step 4: Apply for a postgraduate Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program
Obtaining a postgraduate degree program like a Master of Science in Nursing is crucial to becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
With a postgraduate Nursing program, you learn the knowledge needed to pass a National Board Certification in a Pediatric Specialty.
Some of the topics you can expect to cover when taking a Master’s degree program are Anatomy, Pharmacology, and clinical assessment.
It typically takes two years to cover these topics, should you be taking a BSN to MSN Program.
On the other hand, if you hold an ADN, you’ll be required to take an ADN to the MSN Bridge Program, taking about 30-36 months to complete.
A second postgraduate Nurse Practitioner Program is available to NP candidates, known as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
The DNP teaches prospective Nurse Practitioners how to assess, create and implement the highest quality of healthcare practices.
Due to the DNP standing as the highest clinical Nursing degree available to Nurses, it takes about 3 to 4 years for a BSN to DNP Program, a much longer time frame than a BSN to MSN.
RNs who hold an ADN also can complete a DNP Program through an RN to DNP Program.
But again, bear in mind that because an ADN is a limited knowledge degree compared to a BSN, an RN to DNP Program will take much longer than a BSN to DNP Program.
Once you’ve earned your Nurse Practitioner Program, be it an MSN or DNP, the next step to becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner is to obtain a national board certification to specialize in a particular area of care – in this case, Pediatrics.
Step 5: Get Certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
After getting your postgraduate degree, the next step to becoming a Pediatric NP is to get certified.
As a prospective PNP, you will have to pass a specialization exam administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).
Some of the standard PNP Certificates to pursue include the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care (CPNP-PC) and the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care (CPNP-AC).
The CPNP-PC is a suitable option for PNPs who intend to provide continuous healthcare to children until they turn 21.
Contrastingly, a CPCP-AC is more suited to prospective PNPs who want to provide acute care to infants, adolescents, and young adults.
Once you take the Certification Exam and become Certified, the last step to officially becoming a PNP is to apply for a Nurse Practitioner Licensure from your state Nursing board.
Once you become NP Licensed, you are finally ready to acquire a position as a PNP in your preferred healthcare setting.
Now that you understand what it takes to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner let’s look at how you can remain eligible to practice as a PNP by fulfilling recertification requirements next.
Fulfilling Continuing Education Requirements
Studying for not one but two or more degrees and earning certification isn’t a walk in the park.
And like anyone receiving an education, you’d expect fulfilling your last milestone in your degree requirements to be the last time you’d have to pick up a book and study.
But this may not always be the case.
With Nursing knowledge and technology forever evolving, the field presents continuous learning curves throughout your career.
To ensure you don’t fall behind with new care strategies or healthcare studies that bring about change in practices, most Nursing professionals, including Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, must undergo Continuing Education.
Concerning Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the PNCB requires that you take part in annual recertification programs or Continuing Education (CE) to keep your certification valid.
The recertification programs prompt professionals to spend a couple of hours yearly studying clinical knowledge that helps them keep up to date with their certified roles.
To find out more about how to fulfill your yearly Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Modules, we recommend that you visit the PNCB website.
With the importance of continuing education covered, let’s look at how you can begin working on landing your first job in the next section.
How to land your first position as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?
After the intensive time, you’ll spend working towards becoming eligible to practice as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; we bet you’ll be looking forward to landing your first job.
Well, for the most part, landing your first job immediately after fulfilling all your requirements will depend on the PNP Job availability there is at the time.
However, it might be good to know that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regards Nurse Practitioner positions as the fastest-growing role compared to other professions.
Despite this positive aspect, there are still some things that you can do to stand out from your competitors and ensure you earn a role as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, there are resources that you can go over that expose new Pediatric Nurse Practitioners to job opportunities.
That said, let’s start by looking at how you can create a standout resume to compel potential future employers into hiring you.
How to tailor your resume as a potential Nurse Practitioner
You can implement several things on your resume to make it stand out to employers.
Firstly, developing the structure of your resume, create a traditional resume that lays out all the needed sections clearly and concisely over creative resumes that you might think is more eye-catchy.
Once you’ve chosen a conventional structure for your resume, add relative sections that detail your professional background.
Start by including your contact information.
Then add in your credentials, which should summarize each license and certification you hold.
Then, add all your skill sets relevant to the job and any experience acquired over the years.
Start by mentioning your Pediatrics experience right at the top as this will be more valuable to your employers.
Then create an education section that summarizes all the degrees you have acquired thus far.
Finally, to distinguish your PNP resume from the rest, add another section that highlights your qualifications in detail.
This could include information that explores the research you engaged with while pursuing your qualification or Nursing-related community engagement that you were a part of.
Nurse Practitioner organizations with job banks
After you’ve created an exceptional PNP resume, there are several organizations you can engage with to find job opportunities.
Nurse Practitioner organizations such as The American Association of Nurse Practitioners and The Nurse Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners all have career web pages that feature the latest jobs for PNPs to help you with your job search journey.
When looking for PNP jobs, you can also always check out job recruitment services like ZipRecruiter or Indeed.
Many Pediatric Nursing professionals have good things to say about the career choice; hence it isn’t surprising that more and more Nurses are opting to become Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
When becoming a PNP, the only thing to be concerned about is that you need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to obtaining a Nursing education and the necessary certification because it’s an Advanced Practice role.
That said, we hope that after reading this guide, you fully understand what it takes to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
All the best!