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Online Programs for Becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Learn about online programs with pediatric nursing courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field. With the clinical requirements programs can not be fully online, however many courses may be completed online at both the masters and post-master's levels.

Essential Information

Most pediatric nurse practitioner (NP) programs are part of a master's degree program in nursing, although there are post-master's programs as well. These programs offer online courses yet require in-person clinical training. Some programs expect clinicals to be completed on campus during specific times of the year, while others allow students to do it at a medical facility near their home. Students in these programs must be licensed registered nurses.

Online master's degree and post-master's certificate programs are designed to allow students to continue to work as they take classes. Courses generally include pediatric pathophysiology, respiratory care and health assessment. Students may also study psychology for children and adolescents. Some of these courses may need special hardware such as a webcam, headset and microphone.

Advanced practice nurses, including pediatric nurse practitioners, must be certified. Requirements for specialty certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center include holding an active nursing license, graduation from an accredited pediatric nurse practitioner program and completion of at least 500 hours of clinical practice.

Master of Science in Nursing with a Specialty in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Through this online master's degree program, aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners study concepts in assessing and maintaining individuals' health from birth through adolescence. They assess childhood illnesses and track pediatric patients' normal and abnormal developmental growth. Students may also take courses training them to instruct a community about ways to keep their children healthy. There are only a couple of M.S.N. nurse practitioner specialty programs available online.

Information and Requirements

The Master of Science in Nursing takes about a year or a year and a half to complete with both online and in-person courses. Clinical experiences must be completed through doctor's offices and hospitals. To access the online program, students log onto web-based applications, such as Blackboard, where they watch video lectures, complete assignments and interact with classmates.

In addition to high-speed Internet access and a computer, students must have a webcam, a headset and a microphone. Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Office are also required.

List of Common Pediatric Nursing Courses

Online courses in pediatric nursing cover normal development and pathology for young patients. A self-paced schedule allows students to access the courses at any time.

Health Assessment and Promotion in Nursing

Through this class, students study the cultural, environmental and nutritional information pertaining to a family's health and apply what they learn to determine overall health. The course covers concepts in genetics and family history and how health history, such as diabetes and heart problems, affects a patient's future.

Pediatric Pathophysiology

This course covers the growth and development of organs in children from birth through age 18. They learn about advanced principles of nursing, health developments, deviations from normal health and how children's health history and cultural diversity play a role in their medical treatment.

Respiratory Care in Pediatrics

Students learn about common respiratory problems in infants, children and adolescents. They study the treatment, seriousness and preventative methods for these illnesses, including drugs, surgery or another form of medical care.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate

Students completing the post-master's pediatric nurse certificate programs study concepts in diagnosing and treating health problems that affect children. Students must have a master's degree and nursing experience, including a year of clinical experience in pediatrics. Only a couple of online post-master's certificates are available.

Information and Requirements

Typically, a 31-credit post-master's certificate takes a year or two to complete, depending on the class load. The majority of the classes are available online, but students are required to complete clinical experiences, which must be done in-person. Clinicals can be completed at hospitals or other health facilities. To access the online courses, students log onto web-based applications, such as Blackboard, where they can watch online videos, complete assignments and interact with professors and classmates. Students have access to the online library to complete research projects.

Requirements for the online program include internet access and a working computer. They also need Adobe Reader, iTunes, Windows Media Player and Microsoft Office Suites.

Common Online Post-Master's Pediatric Nursing Courses

Courses in the post-master's certificate program further the work of the master's degree into diagnosis and treatment, keeping with the scope of nurse practitioner practice. Students can access online courses anytime and complete the assignments on a self-paced time frame.

The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Pediatrics

Students combine theory and research as they learn children's normal and abnormal growth and behaviors. They analyze cases and learn the proper way to provide medical care to children.

Occupational Nursing

This class covers the business side of being a nurse practitioner. Students analyze state and federal regulations and steps for preventing injuries, diagnosing illnesses and managing patients. This course also covers information about lawsuits.

Exams and Diagnosis

Nurses gain practical experience conducting physical exams, diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatments in this class. They study diagnostic techniques, all of which can further their opportunities to open their own practice.


Career Information for Graduates

With the completion of a post-master's certificate for pediatric nurse practitioners, students can pursue their own practice or manage other nurses in the pediatric unit of a hospital. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all registered nurses was $67,490 in 2015, (www.bls.gov).

This master's degree can lead to careers working with children as nurse practitioners. It can also lead to a nurse opening his or her own practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners' median salary was $98,190 in 2015.

R.N.s wanting to specialize in pediatrics may get the needed training from a M.S.N. degree program or a post M.S.N. program, if they already have a graduate degree. While these programs include in-person clinical requirements, these requirements may be completed in facilities close to home and most, if not all of the coursework may be completed online.

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