You know that you want a career in healthcare, but you’re not sure that becoming a doctor is for you. Between the years spent in school and residency programs to the higher financial barriers to entry, a doctoral program is daunting, to say the least. Instead, you’ve decided that becoming a nurse practitioner is a better fit for you. You also know that you love working with children and want to make pediatric nursing your specialty. So now that you know the path you want to go down, how do you do it?
The educational requirements
Even though it might not require as much schooling as becoming a neurosurgeon, becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner doesn’t mean that you can be a slouch when it comes to your schooling. Most nursing programs are still rigorous in their own right, which means you need to come prepared to study. And for the majority of nurse practitioner candidates, this means an undergraduate program with plenty of time dedicated to pediatrics and hands-on clinical experience.
That’s why it’s particularly important to find the right MSN-PNP Program that will give you all of the experience and education you need to truly flourish in the world of pediatrics. Keep in mind there are some programs that will allow you to work concurrently through your program, but there are also numerous positions that only accept candidates who have completed enough clinical work. Also, if you’re looking to advance from an RN to an NP, you’ll need a BSN first.
Examinations and certifications
If you’re not the most confident test taker, it’s time to whip out the flash cards because you’ll definitely want to be certified to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Luckily, your certification can be completed concurrently within most programs or independently through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, as well as several other learning institutes.
A certification in pediatrics can only be acquired by taking an exam. Unlike many professional certifications, you don’t need to re-up your pediatrics certification annually. Once you’ve passed your exam, your certification becomes valid for five years. However, if you’re pursuing a certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, you’ll need to recertify annually. The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board is fondly looked upon by many practices operating today so it may be worth it to invest the extra time and energy into pursuing annual recertification to remain competitive in the field.
Pediatric nurse practitioner career outlook
Luckily, the need for qualified healthcare professionals only tends to grow as the population does. Typically, pediatric nurse practitioners work in pediatric practices, community clinics, acute care hospitals, and also in surgical centers, as well. You operate as one of the primary points of care for children and, while there are natural stresses that come along with this type of job, many nurse practitioners report a feeling of satisfaction with their roles in the healthcare community, especially when it comes to providing for younger patients.
As far as salary is concerned, nurse practitioners can expect to make a fair deal more than registered nurses, especially in larger markets like California and New Jersey. While larger states tend to have higher average salaries, you can improve your nursing salary prospects through additional specialty certifications, a longer history of employment, and your organization of employment.
A rewarding career
While the unique stresses and challenges of a career as a pediatric nurse practitioner won’t be for everyone, there are plenty of reasons to pursue a role in the industry. It’s a rewarding field that gives you a chance to make a real difference in the lives of others. If you’re ready to commit to a job of service and have the patience to devote yourself to the right educational program, you might be well on your way to a satisfying position as a pediatric nurse practitioner.