Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Overview
- What You Will Do: Care for children and young adults by collecting medical histories, assessing and diagnosing, prescribing medication, educating patients and parents, focusing on preventative care and more.
- Where Will You Work: Private clinics, community health clinics, children’s hospitals, schools, summer camps, and more.
- Employment Projections: There is a 31 percent anticipated growth for all NP roles between 2016 and 2026.
- How Much Will I Earn: The salary range for Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (PPCNPs) goes from $70,000 to $110,000.
- Number of Programs: 87 PPCNP programs exist in the U.S.
- How Long Does It Take to Become a PPCNP: PPCNP master’s programs take 2 to 3 years to complete.
- Requirements to Become One: You will first need to get an RN license and earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s in nursing, then you can get your NP license.
Eight Steps to Become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PPCNP)
- Earn Your RN – Becoming a PPCNP first requires earning your RN or BSN. Make sure your university is ACEN or CCNE accredited university so that your credentials will be accepted in a master’s program. Our BSN guide can help you get there!
- Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam – The NCLEX-RN exam is tough but not impossible, and our NCLEX-RN guide and practice exams will help make the big day easier.
- Earn Your MSN – During your NP program you will need courses in ethics, nursing research, advanced pharmacology, health assessment, pediatric primary care, and more.
- Complete Supervised Clinical Hours – You are required to complete 500 supervised during your NP education.
- Become Board Certified – To get certified as a PPCNP you have to pass either the exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board (PNCB).
- Obtain Licensure – After certification you must get licensed through your state’s Board of Nursing (BON).
- Obtain a DEA Number – A DEA registration number is required to be able to prescribe medication.
- Maintain Active Certification and Licensure –100 continuing education (CE) hours and 1,000 hours of working in a clinical setting are required to renew certification through the ANCC. Through the PNCB you must recertify annually by documenting that you have met the required 15 contact hours. With the PNCB there are also other requirements you must meet every 7 years.
What is a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner?
PPCNPs provide primary care to children and young adults. As a PPCNP you will do wellness exams for children and adolescents and provide them and their parents with education. You will assess and diagnose as well as prescribe medications. According to the PNCB, you will focus on providing preventative care and managing chronic illnesses. PPCNPs are responsible for preparing children and their parents as they grow and move towards adulthood. The care you will provide will take into account the entire family, the society, and environment in which the child lives. You will have the opportunity to work with a team of healthcare professionals that may include physicians, administrative staff, laboratory personnel, and nurses. Read about the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (ACPNP).
How Do I Become a Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner?
Earning a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s in nursing are the first steps to becoming a PPCNP. You must also be an RN before you can be a PPCNP. There are many ways to become a PPCNP, even if you are not yet an RN.
- BSN to MSN: If you have your BSN you will need about 2 years in a master’s program.
- Bachelors to MSN: For non-nurses, a Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing can help you optimize your time to become both and RN and PPCNP. You will be required to take certain courses to enter the program. These courses will likely involve biology, chemistry, psychology, anatomy and physiology, and more. After 2 to 3 years in a Direct Entry program you will have your master’s in nursing.
- BSN to DNP: A doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) prepares you to use evidence based research to provide clinical care to patients. During these 4 years of education you will also earn your MSN.
- MSN to DNP: If you have an MSN a DNP program is about 2 to 3 years long.
Certification and Licensure: Being a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) means that you have met the educational requirements and have the required knowledge to provide care to your population foci. If you are certified through the ANCC you will renew your certification every 5 years through obtaining 1,000 clinical hours and 100 hours of CEs. If your certifying body is the PNCB you will have to renew your certification every year by meeting the 15-contact hour requirement. Additionally, every 7 years you will have to meet other requirements to maintain your certification, but you still have to renew your certification every year. The PNCB also refers to PPCNPs as Primary Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (CPNP-PCs), but the scope of practice for the PPCNPS and CPNP-PCs is the same. After you get your certification you can submit proof of RN licensure, national certification, your nursing program transcripts, and a fee to get licensed through your state’s BON.
Where Do PPCNPs Typically Work?
You will be able to work in children’s hospitals, private clinics, schools, community health centers, and more. Throughout your career you will have the flexibility to move to different work environments if you choose to.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Salary Expectations
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that NPs have a median salary of $104,610. The salary range for PPCNPs can vary between $70,000 to $110,000 depending on practice setting, state, and city in which you work as well as your experience. Working in a private clinic compared to a community clinic will likely pay better, but you could be eligible for loan forgiveness by working in a medically underserved area. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, and Perkins Loan forgiveness are just a couple of ways in which you can help get your student debt paid for.
Online PPCNP Programs
Online programs have changed the face of education. With NP programs this is no different. People who have professional and personal commitments, and lives that they cannot fully dedicate to their education, can now keep up with these commitments while becoming a PPCNP. PPCNP programs that are offered online provide the flexibility of online coursework and close to home clinical placements. While some programs may require that you come to campus a couple times a year, others will not require any on-campus time. There are 5 fully online PPCNP master’s programs.
What is a Typical PPCNP Curriculum?
Although your courses may vary depending on which school you attend, Johns Hopkins University provides a good example of a PPCNP program curriculum:
- Applications of Research to Practice
- Clinical Pharmacology
- Health Assessment and Measurement: Pediatric Variation
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Human and Family Development Through the Lifespan
- Advanced Practice in Primary Care
The Role of the PPCNP in the Primary Care Provider Shortage
The current shortage of primary care providers is due to both the aging baby boomer generation and the Affordable Care Act. With many older adults who were previously healthcare providers retiring, and the increase in insured patients from the Affordable Care Act, there is a gap in primary care providers that needs to be filled. PPCNPs are a cost effective way of filling this gap within the child and adolescent population. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act placed an increased emphasis on preventative care, something that PPCNPs are specifically trained to focus on.
Number of PPCNP Programs in the United States
There are 87 PPCNP programs in the U.S. with 5 being fully online. These 5 programs are offered at the University of South Alabama, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Texas-El Paso.
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Resources
- American Nurses Credentialing Center
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board
Denisco, S. M., Barker, A. M., (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential knowledge for the profession. Burlington, MA: Jones and Barlett Learning.