Overview of Online Post-Master's Pediatric Nurse Certificate Programs
Online post-master's certificate programs for nurses in the specialty field of pediatrics are typically available as pediatric acute care nurse practitioner post-master's certificates. These certificate programs are designed for current nurses with a master's degree wishing to move into the specialty and care for children suffering from acute and complex health issues. Typically, these programs are designed to help students prepare for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board's (PNCB's) Acute Care Pediatric certification exam.
Although coursework for these certificate programs can usually be completed fully online, most, if not all, of these programs require some in-person clinical work. Some programs may allow students to complete the curriculum in as little as 3 semesters, while others may take about 2 years to complete. In addition to requiring applicants to hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and RN license, most of these programs require students to have 1 to 2 years of nursing experience in acute pediatric care and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Some programs may also have additional prerequisite coursework requirements in areas like pharmacology and pathophysiology.
Requirements for Online Post-Master's Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificates
Online post-master's certificate programs in pediatric acute care nurse practitioner are designed to equip students with advanced diagnosis and assessment skills in the field, as well as prepare students for treating various health issues they may encounter. While coursework is completed online, most programs require clinical hours through labs and/or practicum experiences and/or short-term on-campus intensives.
Post-master's certificate programs in pediatric acute care nurse practitioner vary in length, with some programs requiring as few as 13 credits and others requiring as many as 39 credits. These certificate programs typically do not include any elective courses, but instead, students take a few core classes, including courses in clinical practice and/or a practicum experience.
Depending on the program, students may complete as many as 800 clinical hours throughout the program through these clinical practice and practicum courses. These courses are designed to equip students with the necessary hands-on experience for working with patients and can typically be completed in a student's local area. Some certificate programs may require students to attend a couple on-campus intensives for simulation exercises.
Pediatric Acute Care
Courses in pediatric acute care help students prepare for providing medical care addressing critical, chronic, and acute conditions common to young patients. Students in these courses may also learn how to interact with families of pediatric patients and manage these conditions throughout the treatment process. Some of these courses may include clinical experiences and/or simulations.
Advanced Health Assessment
Students in advanced health assessment courses further develop their diagnostic reasoning skills within advanced practice nursing. These courses are designed to equip students with the advanced skills needed to determine pathophysiologic changes from normal variations in patients.
Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing Role
Courses designed to prepare students for advanced practice nursing roles, such as a nurse practitioner, may discuss the skills and procedures needed for advanced practice nursing interventions. Students further develop their evidence-based clinical reasoning skills, as well as their decision-making skills.
Career Outcomes with a Post-Master's Certificate in Pediatric Nurse
Many nurses with their master's degree may work as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners wishing to work specifically with children may opt to earn their post-master's certificate in the field to prepare for professional certification. Although certification in a specialty area is not necessarily required, this certification does demonstrate advanced knowledge and dedication to the field, which could increase job prospects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2019 nurse practitioners as a whole made a median salary of $109,820. The BLS also reported that from 2018 to 2028 the career had a job outlook of 28%, which is much faster than average. This huge job growth may be due in part to the growing need for healthcare services. Nurse practitioners can work as primary or specialty care providers and perform duties like diagnosing and treating patients, conducting research, and operating medical equipment.
Online post-master's certificate programs in pediatric nursing are usually offered as acute care nurse practitioner certificate programs that can be completed in 2 years or less. These programs include online coursework in topics like pediatric acute care and health assessments, and in-person clinical experiences.