Pediatric Nursing Education and Training Program Information

Pediatric nurses specialize in caring for infants, children and adolescents in medical offices, hospitals and emergency settings. Students looking to become a pediatric nurse can get their associate or bachelor's in nursing.

Essential Information

All pediatric nurses begin their career by becoming registered nurses (RN). Students can enroll in an undergraduate degree program in nursing to prepare for the RN licensing exam. Training in these programs involves a mix of formal education and clinical experiences. From there, additional training specific to the care of children is required. Pediatric nurses can become certified in the field and may choose to further specialize in a particular area.

  • Program Levels: Associate's degree, bachelor's degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, pass a drug test
  • Program Length: 2 years for associate's degrees, 4 years for bachelor's degree
  • Online Availability: Online programs are offered
  • Other Requirements: Clinical experience

Associate of Science in Nursing

An Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) is a 2-year, undergraduate degree program that is designed to prepare students for entry into the nursing workforce. Students are introduced to a variety of nursing topics, including human disease processes, maternal nursing and human anatomy. Some general education courses, such as psychology and oral communication, may also be required. Some common course topics include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Intro to health care concepts
  • Professional nursing concepts
  • General psychology
  • Lifespan growth and development
  • Professional nursing competencies

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that offers students a comprehensive nursing education and prepares them to take the RN certifying exam. Courses are offered on a number of specialized topics, including pediatric nursing and ethics in professional nursing. Many BSN students are working nurses who already hold their RN certification. Some required courses might include:

  • Intro to psychology
  • Intro to nutrition
  • Adult health competencies
  • Pharmacology
  • Concepts and clinical competencies

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, registered nurses make a mean annual income of $69,790 as of May 2014. The job outlook for these nurses is expected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. This is faster than average compared to all other occupations.

Continuing Education Information

All states require nurses to be officially licensed, which involves passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Some states may have additional licensing requirements. Pediatric nurses must also pass the Certified Pediatric Nurse Exam in order to become certified pediatric nurses (CPN). Registered nurses must have at least 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience from the past two years in order to be eligible for the CPN exam.

After becoming licensed and working in the field, pediatric nurses can advance their career by becoming pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP). They must complete a master's degree in nursing and become licensed as an advanced practice nurse (APN) by the state in which they work. Pediatric nurses who would like to pursue a teaching or research career may apply to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in nursing.

A variety of workshops are also available to professional pediatric nurses. Workshops and seminars may be available at local colleges or health organizations and address a wide range of topics, such as alternative therapies in pediatric practice and genetic research in pediatric nursing. Technological advances in the field may also be discussed.

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