Online MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs – Selecting the Best Program
Caring for sick and injured children is a noble calling. For those who wish to work with this patient population, there are several degree routes available to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) – one of the most popular being the master’s route. Before you’re able to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) as a pediatric nurse practitioner, you’ll need to hold an active nursing license. In addition, most students also have their BSN. However, there are a number of MSN programs that offer a bridge option if you do not or if you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field.
Earning an MSN in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specialty can be the ticket to a long and rewarding career in advanced nursing practice. With the recent expansion of online program options, finding the right PNP MSN program can be an overwhelming proposition. That's why we have analyzed and ranked the best online PNP MSN programs across the country. Check out our rankings below, and learn more about our rankings methodology here.
Obtaining a pediatric nurse practitioner MSN degree gives you a broad body of knowledge that you can then use to advance your career in pediatrics. This degree type moves beyond the standard RN coursework to provide you with a range of options as far as employment with advancement potential that you might not have experienced otherwise.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner with an MSN degree, employment opportunities will be abundant. You can generally find employment wherever pediatric patients are present, including:
- Specialty children’s hospitals
- Children’s or school-based clinics
- Pediatric departments of large hospitals
- Pediatric primary care offices
Deciding which route to take to become a pediatric nurse practitioner can be daunting. To see if the MSN pathway is right for you, consider the following.
- Students can usually choose between pediatric primary care or pediatric acute care as part of their MSN program to further hone their skills
- Options are available for nurses who hold an ADN, nursing diploma, or BSN
- Less expensive, and less of a time commitment, than the DNP route
- Nurses who already hold an MSN may wish to take the shorter pediatric nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate program
- Those who wish to enter higher profile roles as a PNP, including teaching and administration, may prefer the DNP route
Online pediatric nurse practitioner MSN degree programs can vary widely in structure, cost, and length depending on the educational institution. Students should first consider if they wish to focus on primary or acute pediatric care, as many programs break these sub-specialties out.
Most of today’s colleges and universities offer MSN-level PNP programs entirely online. Some offer a blended, or hybrid, format which mixes online instruction with on-campus learning. In addition to this, part-time and full-time options are readily available. Prospective students should research programs thoroughly to make sure they find the program options that work best for them. Students are also advised to ensure that the program they choose is properly accredited to avoid any issues with credentialing or employment down the line.
The length of time that this program takes is often a huge factor in deciding on a program. While full-time programs are usually quicker, they might make it difficult for busy students to continue working and meeting other responsibilities.
Students interested in the MSN pediatric nurse practitioner pathway will need to have taken courses such as Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Clinical Reasoning. If not, then these courses will be part of your MSN program.
Other sample courses that you can expect to take during your educational journey toward the PNP designation include:
- Current Issues in the Delivery of Advanced Pediatric Care
- Improving the Delivery of Healthcare to Patients and Populations
- Clinical Foundations for PNPs
Over 500 supervised clinical hours are typically required as part of the PNP MSN program curriculum. Students employed in a hospital or medical facility may even be able to arrange their clinicals in their place of work. Regardless, online students can be placed with a preceptor in their local area, as long as it is approved by their program’s clinical coordinator.
Finding the right online or hybrid MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program may sound challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Browse our listings below to find a great program today.
Select Your State:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of South Alabama
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Georgia State University
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Grambling State University
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Wayne State University
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
St. Louis, MO
University Of Missouri Kansas City
Kansas City, MO
Seton Hall University
South Orange, NJ
The University of New Mexico
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY
Kent State University
The University of Toledo
The University of Texas at Arlington
Old Dominion University
West Virginia University
Are we missing your school's nurse practitioner program or need to update any of the information listed? Please contact us.