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Are You Considering a Career as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?


Take a closer look at the role of pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs).

With more than nine national NP certifications, how do you know which is right for you?

As your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) recognizes that this decision is what shapes your career and your future. Therefore, AANP offers a list of NP certification boards and a searchable list of NP programs to help guide you as you make this important decision. As a student member of AANP, you gain a comprehensive collection of resources created specifically for you—from NPs who have been in your shoes.

Do you enjoy working with children? Are you comfortable managing the needs of your patients and the emotions of their caregivers? If so, you may be interested in a career as a PNP.

A PNP is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who specializes in caring for newborns, infants, toddlers, adolescents and young adults. PNPs focus on well-child care and the prevention or management of common pediatric acute illnesses and chronic conditions. Like all NPs, PNPs earn their master's or doctorate degree and are board certified by an approved certification body. PNPs can be found in a variety of practice settings, including pediatric offices, hospitals, specialty clinics, school-based health centers and urgent or convenient care clinics.

Perspectives of Working PNPs

“The demand for NPs is significant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 31% for our profession, as compared to 11% for other professions. NP was ranked No. 7 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of 100 Best Jobs of 2019 and has been included within the top 10 for several years. The public is rapidly embracing the role of the NP as a mainstream health care provider, and we have the opportunity daily to show why nurses are consistently ranked by Gallup as ‘the most trusted profession’ while doing more to partner with families to promote healthy outcomes. Nurses, including NPs, have been a positive, disruptive force, adapting quickly and competently to demands of modern health care and innovative technology. NPs can fill needs across the lifespan and across clinical environments with a current total workforce of about 385,000.
“In my experience, working with families is the best part of being an NP! Being able to make a positive impact and empowering families to achieve optimal health is enough to keep me coming to practice each day with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. I am the first woman in my family to graduate with a bachelor's degree. After being immersed in the health care system, I discovered there were avenues to pursue new ways to partner with families. The primary care pediatrician who employed me in my first nursing job saw potential in me and knew the amplified impact I could have with the right education and training. He encouraged me to go back to school to become an NP and rejoin him in his practice working in a respectful partnership to leverage our collective strengths to improve child health.”—Jessica Peck, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL

Five Facts You Should Know About PNPs

  1. On average, PNPs have 15 years of experience.
  2. Full-time PNPs certified in primary care have the same median total annual income — which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, incentive payments and more — as PNPs certified in acute care: $110,000.
  3. The top clinical focus areas for PNPs are pediatrics, pediatrics — subspecialty and primary care.
  4. The top practice settings for PNPs are hospital outpatient clinics, private group practices and hospital inpatient units.
  5. The top diagnoses PNPs reported treating were abdominal pain, migraines and otitis media.

Career Resources for PNPs

Check out the AANP JobCenter for available PNP positions across the U.S. You can filter your search by state, experience level and job type, including full-time positions, part-time positions or internships. You can also upload your resume to the JobCenter and let employers find you!

Do you need help navigating the job market? The AANP JobCenter has career resources dedicated to helping you prepare for interviews, negotiate your salary and make your resume stand out. AANP also offers tips on becoming certified, negotiating salary, finding the right practice setting or staying informed on important health issues at every stage of your NP career.

Professional Development Tools From AANP

Next Steps

By now, you may have decided that this career path is right for you. If you are not already a member of AANP, you should consider joining to gain access to pediatric-focused continuing education (CE) at the AANP CE Center and discounted registration to AANP conferences so that you can connect with your fellow PNPs and NP colleagues of all specialties.

Additional clinical and career resources are also accessible through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners®.

¹ 2020 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Practice.