Certified Pediatric Nurse Job Duties, Requirements, and Career Options

Certified pediatric nurses require significant formal education. Learn about the degree, job duties and certification needed to see if this is the right career for you.

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Certified pediatric nurses work with children and infants and their families. They may be responsible for ordering and retrieving x-rays, informing families of treatment options, and treating common illnesses. Due to their specialization, certified pediatric nurses are in high demand and they require a specialized master's degree and credential.

Essential Information

For someone who loves being a caregiver and who also loves children, a career as a certified pediatric nurse may be enjoyable. Certified pediatric nurses, also known as pediatric nurse practitioners, work in hospitals, offices and health clinics, specializing in the treatment of young patients, from infants to adolescents. These professionals earn a general nursing degree and then go on to earn a master's degree in pediatric nursing. After earning a master's degree, nurses can seek certification.

Required Education Master's degree
Other Requirements Registered nursing licensure; certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 31% (for all nurse anesthetists, midwives and practitioners)
Average Salary (2015)* $101,260 (for all nurse practitioners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Pediatric Nurse Job Duties

Certified pediatric nurses specialize in providing care to infants, children and young adults. This care includes physical examinations and the treatment of common illnesses. Certified pediatric nurses order lab tests and x-rays on their young patients.

In addition to these duties, certified pediatric nurses are responsible for educating their patients and their patients' families on their conditions and treatment options. These professionals are responsible for following up on medications and treatments and may organize vaccination programs for patients and their parents.

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Education Requirements

Certified pediatric nurses are required to earn a general nursing degree first. This can be done in one of three ways, as is the case with all registered nurses. First, students can earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which combines a nursing curriculum with general education courses. Second, students can earn their nursing degree at the associate's degree level. This generally takes 2-3 years and includes classes like medical terminology, anatomy, nursing topics and biology. Finally, diploma degrees take three years and are conducted within hospitals.

After receiving either of these degrees, graduates can be licensed as a registered nurse. Many of those who've received their associate's degree or diploma often go back to complete their bachelor's degree to increase career opportunities. After earning a bachelor's degree in nursing, a student is eligible for a pediatric nurse practitioner master's degree. This program's coursework includes studies of pediatric acute care management, health systems, pediatric diagnostic medicine and developmental assessment. Graduates of these programs can become certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board's Certified Pediatric Nurse exam after three months of interning.

Career Options

Because certified pediatric nurses are in a specialized field within nursing, they are in high demand. Graduates can find work in pediatricians' offices, hospitals and community health centers. Certified pediatric nurses are also needed during natural and man-made disasters as first responders. Some certified pediatric nurses choose to work in health care policy development and can seek employment with local, state or federal government agencies.

A pediatric nurse gains certification after earning a general nursing degree, becoming a registered nurse, completing a nurse practitioner master's degree program and passing a specialty certification examination by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Work can be found in face-to-face contact with patients or in developing health care policy. One of their primary duties is to manage, care for and improve the lives of young adults, infants and babies.

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