Over the past decade, the nursing profession has experienced tremendous changes. Educational and training opportunities are allowing nurses with a diploma, Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to advance their careers while continuing to work. Colleges and universities are developing more accredited, online advanced degree programs and opening new career fields. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are finding career opportunities in becoming Nurse Practitioners in a wide variety of specialty areas that are rapidly growing.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners can expect, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a much faster than average 31% job growth through 2026. Salary expectations for this career range from $79,848-$121,453 annually as reported by PayScale. This ranking is a companion ranking of a recent review of 10 Best Value Online Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Programs published by Best Medical Degrees.
Best Medical Degrees uses several methods to assemble rankings: 1) reviews of online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) leading to a Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree, 2) national recognition and rankings from sources such as the U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly and Forbes Magazine, Military Times and The Princeton Review, 3) programs which hold educational accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 4) The National Center for Educational Statistics data for tuition cost ranges. (Tuition estimates do not include any additional fees accessed by the school or university) and 5) program length and location of clinical practica or experiences.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
When possible, this ranking notes states where the school is unable to admit students, due to from all states. This is due to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA maintains comparable national standards for distance education or, online, programs. You can check your state eligibility by either the school website, program advisor or your particular state’s licensing board.
Tuition ranges are not concrete financial costs for attendance. Universities and colleges may add additional fees for online students and some may not. This ranking uses information from the National Center for Educational Statistics to ascertain an estimate for an academic year, considers in-state and out-of-state tuition charges, without adding additional fees or charges. Not all schools levy out-of-state fees for online degrees and some may assess additional fees for online students.
Academic Year Tuition Estimate: $8,00-$10,000
1. Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus
Colorado University’s Anschutz Medical Campus provides an online, hybrid Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree which requires 37 didactic hours, 13 clinical hours and 585 clinical practicum hours. Colorado University Anschutz Medical Campus is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This program requires a current and unencumbered nursing license as well as a BSN from an accredited nursing program for admission. Coursework will include studies in: Advanced Pathophysiology, Foundations of Healthcare Informatics, Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Policy & Politics of Health, Advanced Assessment, Theory Foundations for Advanced Nursing, Pediatric Advanced Assessment, Pediatric Advanced Clinical Skills, Evidence-Based Practice: Evaluating Evidence, etc. The program may may be completed in 2-3 years and does require some on-campus attendance. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for certification exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).
U.S. News and World Report ranks this institution in its Top Nursing Programs. The College of Nursing at Colorado University dates to 1898 and is located in Aurora, Colorado. The university has enrollment in excess of 23,000 students.
2. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
This school provides an online Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner hybrid program which requires 51 semester hours for completion. The degree requires core studies in: Population Health Essentials for Advanced Nursing Practice, Scientific Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice, Leadership for Healthcare and Informatics, Quality and Safety. Prerequisite coursework in: Critical Care Pharmacology, Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing Role, Diagnostic Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice, CL (Requires on-campus lab), Advanced Health Assessment, Pharmacotherapeutics for Nurses in Advanced Practice and Advanced Practice Nursing: Application of Pathophysiology. Specialty studies are: Foundations of Acute Care, Foundations of the Well Child and Pediatric Acute Care (which requires on-campus skills labs). The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and graduates are prepared to sit for the Pediatric Nursing Credentialing Board Acute Care CPNP exam. The nursing school has a 92.59% first time certification exam pass rate. Prospective students are required to have 2 years nursing pediatric experience, with experience in critical care, ER or acute care preferred. Applicants are also required to hold PALS certification.
Located in Lubbock, Texas, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s School of Nursing ranks in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Schools: Master’s and Texas Tech University has been named one of Forbes Magazine’s America’s Top Colleges. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is part of the Texas Tech University system and has an enrollment of over 4,000 students in 18 different degree programs.
Academic Year Tuition Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
3. University of South Alabama
This is an online Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner which holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This hybrid program offers online courses in: Physio-Pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing, Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement in Healthcare, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Nursing Assessment, Organizational and Systems Leadership, Healthcare Policy and Finance and Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Practice Nursing, Introduction to Pediatric Acute Care, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Neonatal NP and Pediatric Acute Care NP, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, The program requires 45 credit hours for completion, as well as 600 hours in Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner practicum experience. The practicum hours may be completed in your home community. Prior to the clinical practicum, however, students are required to attend an on-campus orientation, which will include clinical skills seminars, over a three-day period. An unrestricted nursing license and two years nursing experience (along with other criteria) are required for admission. The school offers this degree for Post-BSN students, but also provides a RN to MSN degree program towards the ACPNP certification.
Established in Mobile, Alabama, in 1963 and the University of South Alabama has been rated #231-#300 in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities ranking. Additionally, Forbes Magazine has ranked the university at #616 in its America’s Top Colleges publication. USA has 15,000 students enrolled and has been designated a Higher Research Education institution by the Carnegie Foundation.
4. Ohio State University
The online Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree program at OSU may be completed in 2-3 years. This program is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and meets curriculum guidelines of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) standards. Coursework for this degree includes core studies in: Innovation Leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice, Quality Improvement and Informatics, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention across the Life Span, Nursing in the American Health Care System, Evidence-Based Nursing Scholarship, Pathophysiology of Altered Health States and Advanced Pharmacology in Nursing. Specialty studies involve: Concepts in Advanced Family Nursing, Advanced Nursing Practice in Pediatric Acute Care I, Advanced Nursing Practice in Pediatric Acute Care II, Advanced Pediatric Health Assessment and Advanced Nursing Practice in Pediatric Primary Care Practicum I. This program is designated as a Traditional Masters Option, by the university, and is open for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) or an RN with a bachelor’s degree.
U.S. News and World Report ranks the nursing program at OSU at #16 in its Best Nursing Schools: Masters, has been ranked “Best Bang For the Buck” by Washington Monthly and rated #131 by Forbes Magazine in its America’s Top Colleges. Located in Columbus, Ohio, OSU is a public school with an enrollment of over 59,000 students and was established in 1870.
5. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University offers a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Online hybrid degree program. Requiring 52 credit hours of course study, a clinical practicum and on-campus training at the Norfolk, Virginia campus, which is typically held once a semester. Clinical experiences are completed in the student’s home area. Studies in core requirements include: Ethical Concepts of Advanced Nursing Practice, Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice, Physical Assessment for Advanced Practice Nursing, Introduction to Healthcare Disparities, Vulnerable Populations and Epidemiology. Additional curriculum includes: Evidenced Based Research & Theories for Nursing Practice, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing, Health Promotion & Maintenance and Business of Advanced Practice Nursing. Management of Acute/Critical Pediatric Conditions, Application of Practice Based Research Methods and Seminar in Pediatrics: Management of Chronic & Complex Clinical Problems, etc. Admission requires (among other documentation) a current, unencumbered nursing license and a one year minimum of work experience. Due to state regulations, this particular program is not available for students from Washington State.
This is highly recognized program with U.S. News and World Report ranking in its #58 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, Forbes Magazine rates it #531 in its America’s Top Colleges ranking and Military Times rates the institution #1 in Virginia “Best for Vets”. Established in 1930 in Norfolk, Virginia, the university joined the Virginia State University System in 1969. There are over 24,000 students enrolled in nine academic colleges.
6. University of Alabama School of Nursing
The University of Alabama School of Nursing provides an online Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Requiring 54 credit hours of study, this program requires clinical hours and at least 1020 total hours of direct patient care. Admission requires applicants hold a BSN from an accredited nursing program, the Graduate Record Exam, Graduate Management Admission Test or Miller Analogies Test and an unencumbered and current nursing license from the state in which you reside. Coursework for this degree includes: Leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice Roles, Health Care Systems for Adv. Nursing Practice, Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Nursing Practice, Advanced Pediatrics Nursing Acute Care, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Nursing Practice, etc. Prospective students should verify with their state licensing board that this degree program is recognized by your individual state.
UAB ranks in the top 500 of Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges and ranks #16 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. U.S. News and World Report also rates the University of Alabama Birmingham at #159 National Universities and #83 in the publication’s Top Public Schools. The university was established in 1859 in Birmingham, Alabama with the School of Nursing founded in 1950. UAB has an enrollment in excess of 38,000 students.
7. University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas Arlington has a 100% online Master of Science in Nursing in Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner accelerated degree program available for Texas and California residents only. The program boasts a 95% first-time certification exam pass rate and is specifically designed for experienced, experienced BSN pediatric nurses. Coursework for this program involves studies in: Advanced Pathophysiology, Exploration of Science and Theories for Nursing, Principles of Research in Nursing, Advanced Pharmacology, Evidence-Based Practice, Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning, Pediatric Acute Care, Primary Complex Chronicity, Clinical Experiences and Advanced Clinical Nursing Practicum. The program requires 45 credit hours for completion and may be accomplished in a little over 2 years. The University of Texas Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Ranked #50 in the U.S. News and World Report Best Nursing Schools: Master’s, UT-A has also been recognized as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, Best for Vets by Military Times, Princeton Review named UT-A one of the “Best of the West” in its Best Colleges rankings and Forbes Magazine named UT-A one of its Best Value Colleges. Founded in 1895, the institution is located in Arlington, Texas and has an enrollment of over 29,000 students.
8. Drexel University
Drexel University provides a hybrid MSN Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree which requires 57 credit hours for completion. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nurse Education (CCNE), graduates are eligible to sit for the Acute Care Pediatric exam offered by the PNCB. Requiring 2-3 days of on-campus attendance for clinical coursework, this program includes core studies in: Confronting Issues in Contemporary Health Care Environments, Advanced Ethical Decision Making in Health Care, Quality and Safety in Healthcare, Research Methods and Biostatistics and Evaluation and Translation of Health Research. Supportive courses involve study in: Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Clinical Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning Across the Lifespan, Pharmacology for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Professional Issues for Nurse Practitioners. Clinical courses include: Primary Care of Infants, Children and Adolescents, Episodic Care of Infants, Children and Adolescents in Primary Care,Acute-Chronic Care of Infants, Children and Adolescents Management and Management of the Medically Fragile and Technology Dependent Child in the Community. Applicants must hold, among other criteria, a BSN from an accredited by National League of Nursing (NLN) and/or American Association Colleges of Nursing (AACN) program, one year minimum nursing experience in a pediatric acute care setting, current PALS certification and an unrestricted nursing license.
Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has been ranked in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities, Best Value Schools and Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Forbes Magazine rates Drexel University as one of its America’s Top Colleges and Washington Monthly designated it as one of its “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in the Northeast. Now, with an enrollment of over 13,000 students, Drexel University is a private institution which was founded in 1891.
9. Rush University
Rush University offers an online Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree which is offered part-time and can be completed in 2-3 years. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), this program provides three areas of study: BSN to DNP, MSN-DNP for current Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) and MSN-DNP for non APRNs. A sample curriculum for the BSN to DNP track includes core courses in: Organizational & Systems Leadership, Applied Epidemiology & Biostatistics for Nursing Practice, Research for Evidence-Based Practice and Health Promotion in Individuals & Clinical Populations. Students are also required to take APRN coursework in: Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Physiology, Diagnostics and Advanced Health Assessment. Doctor of Nursing Practice core courses are also required. Specialty courses involve: Advanced Primary Care of the Child, Pediatric Acute Care and Applied Pharmacology: Pediatric. The program a practicum and immersion residency. Clinical experiences may be conducted in approved locations in the student’s home community. This degree requires 70 credit hours for graduation. There are minimal on-campus requirements for this program.
Rush University was founded in Chicago in 1837 and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program has been recognized #4 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
10. Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing offers a hybrid, online MSN Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree which requires 44 credit hours of didactic study and a minimum of 600 clinical hours. The College of Nursing offers a strong selection of clinical experience sites in New Jersey. Online didactic studies include: Theoretical Basis of Nursing Practice, Advanced Clinical Pathophysiology, Clinical Pharmacology,Nursing Research, Health Promotion, Graduate Nursing Practicum: Younger Years and Advanced Health Assessment/ Clinical Decision Making. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and admission to the program requires a BSN from an accredited nursing program, liability insurance, professional licensure, and a minimum of one year nursing experience. Graduates are qualified to sit for either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board or Acute Care through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board exams.
Established in 1856, Seton Hall is located in South Orange, New Jersey. The College of Nursing opened in 1937. Seton Hall is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as #124 in National Universities and the College of Nursing ranked in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Washington Monthly has rated the university in its “Best Bang for the Buck”, Forbes Magazine has named Seton Hall one of America’s Top Colleges and Money Magazine rated the institution as one of its Best Colleges for Your Money.