Academics & Admissions

Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) were the first specialty for nurse practitioners almost 50 years ago! Since then, PNP’s have provided care to children from birth through young adulthood (typically around 21 years of age) with an in-depth knowledge and experience in pediatric health, including well care and management of common pediatric illnesses. 

Smiling doctor with small baby isolated on a white background

Choosing to specialize as a pediatric nurse practitioner gives you the opportunity to impact a child’s life from birth to young adulthood. You can be the one who improves the well-being of children and their families by helping them get access to preventive care and sharing knowledge about making healthy choices. PNP programs offer the opportunity to focus your skill set and enhance your professional standing as a nurse.

Pediatric Specialization Program Options at Rutgers Nursing

Rutgers School of Nursing offers comprehensive pediatric graduate educational options for nurses at all levels of their career.

In addition to our flagship DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program, we are the only school in New Jersey to offer a Dual Primary/Acute Care DNP program. This will allow students to take both certification board exams and have a wide range of employment opportunities upon graduation. 

To learn more about certification options, visit the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

This program’s focus is on the provision of primary care to children from birth through young adulthood (roughly 21 years of age), with an in-depth knowledge and experience in pediatric primary health care, including well childcare and prevention/management of common pediatric acute illnesses and chronic conditions. This care is provided to support optimal health of children within the context of their family, community, and environmental setting. The primary care PNP works in clinical settings that include outpatient sites in community practices and clinics.

Dual Pediatric Primary/Acute Care PNP

An acute care PNP provides family-centered and culturally respectful care for pediatric patients with acute, complex, critical, and chronic illness across a variety of care settings. The certified pediatric nurse practitioner—acute care (CPNP-AC) works closely with an interprofessional team to provide the highest level of evidence-based care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and organ dysfunction or failure. The acute care PNP works in diverse clinical settings including hospital inpatient, nurseries, emergency departments, urgent care, and specialty care sites.

Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC) Programs

Rutgers School of Nursing also offers two post-master’s certificate program options. We are the only program in the state to offer an acute care post-master’s program.

Pediatric Primary Care

This PMC program is for those with an alternate graduate degree in nursing or another nurse practitioner specialty who want to attain certification in pediatrics.

Pediatric Acute Care

This PMC program is designed for primary care PNP’s who require acute care certification for current or future roles.  

General Requirements

Students in our program come from a variety of experience backgrounds, including maternal-child nurses. Every applicant is reviewed on an individual basis. Students interested in the dual program must have two years of acute care pediatric nursing experience.

For detailed requirements, visit your desired program’s specific webpage.

Nurse with young girl and teddy bear

Employment as a PNP

There is an anticipated shortage for PNP’s in the next decade, amplifying the need for qualified pediatric nurse practitioners in the health care workforce. Rutgers School of Nursing prepares you to begin a successful career as a PNP. All of our graduates have received multiple competitive employment offers upon graduation.

Each student needs to make a decision as to which clinical track is best for them. If pediatrics is your experience and passion, we encourage you to continue in that educational path. Pediatric nurse practitioners provide specialty and medically complex care through the pediatric lifespan and can work in a variety of settings—from primary care offices, clinics, urgent care sites, and specialty clinics, to inpatient settings.

Graduates will enhance the current workforce of pediatric nurse practitioners in the state of New Jersey and surrounding region, filling a critical need for our youngest citizens.

Clinical Experience and Time Commitment

Our students are placed in clinical sites located throughout the state of New Jersey. These sites, staffed by experienced nurse practitioners and physicians, include private offices, clinics, specialty clinics, and medical centers, therefore providing students with a variety of experiences.

Each semester students complete between 135-180 hours of direct patient care hours at their clinical site, depending on the program of study. Our didactic courses meet in-person one day per week. We try to accommodate clinical and face-to-face classes to meet on the same day to give you flexibility to complete your clinical time with your assigned preceptor. 

Whether you can work full-time while being in the program is a personal decision. Any educational program is difficult, and you will be balancing classwork, clinical time, and all assignments required in the DNP program. We encourage you to have flexibility with scheduling and will need to carefully consider how you can manage your work-school-life balance.

Learn more about our pediatric programs

If you already have a master’s degree and plan to enroll in our post-master’s certificate programs for Pediatric Primary Care or Pediatric Acute Care, your transcript will need to be reviewed and a GAP analysis performed to determine what classes you may need. Each student is evaluated on an individual basis.

If you have any additional questions, contact the admissions office or the specialty director, Dr. Margaret Quinn, or consider joining one of our online information sessions.