How to Become a Pediatric Nurse in 6 Simple Steps

What is a Pediatric Nurse

Most careers in the medical field are rewarding and fulfilling to be a part of. Being a pediatric nurse is no different, it’s a very rewarding and fun career and may just be the perfect career for you. Continue reading and learn how to become a pediatric nurse.

You will work some of the most special and rewarding patients that transcends much deeper and further than just a treatment plan. Pediatric nurses’ work with children, meaning you will get to play a very important part in their development and health.

Children and young adults have different requirements when it comes to medical treatments. There is a special level of understanding and care required when communicating and putting a young child at ease. This is where both the challenge and rewarding part of being a pediatric nurse comes in.

By ensuring children are as healthy and as educated about their health as possible, they can grow into much healthier adults. For this reason, pediatric care is typically seen as a much longer-term level of care than a doctor treating an adult.

If this is a career choice that interests you, you should be aware of these subtle but important differences. A genuine caring and helpful attitude isn’t just a benefit, it’s a necessity. If you love working with children, you will be able to bring so much more to the role.

You will work within a larger team of healthcare professionals. Pediatric nurses will have both a personal roster of work and patients, as well as being an active part of a larger team and providing support to other nurses.

The general responsibilities a nurse will be expected to carry out include taking vital statistics and measurements of the children, communicating and explaining their medical conditions in a tactful manner, and administering treatments and medicines. There are also some specialties within the role that can be worked towards including, pediatric oncology, pediatric neurology, and pediatric anesthetics.

They also carry out home visits and check on the well-being of children in their own environment. Keeping a record of the child’s development and maintaining records. This is another part of the role that can prove rewarding and interesting.

The average salary of a pediatric nurse is $71,730.

Important Qualities of a Pediatric Nurse


Being personable and likable are important qualities. Children are often shy and lack confidence with people they are not familiar with. Being able to put a child at ease and allow them to be treated is an important quality.

Naturally Good with Children

As already mentioned, working with children is very different to working with adults. This role often requires extra patience and understanding. People who are naturally good at working with children will progress faster in their career.


Building up trust with children takes time and dedication. There are also strong bonds built up over time, staying in the role and staying dedicated to the patients is an important quality.

Hard Working

There is a real need for a hard working ethic. The hours can be long and unpredictable, but this can be incredibly rewarding when you are making a real difference to the lives of children.

Working Environment

You can expect to work in a medical facility, whether that is a smaller practice or a large hospital. There is often the need to make home visits, but this can vary from none to almost all the entirety of the workload depending on the circumstance.

What is a Pediatric Nurse

Becoming a Pediatric Nurse

Step 1: High School Preparation

High School Courses for Pediatric Nurses

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology are the classes that the majority of the students choose to take in order to gain extra college credit. The purpose of these classes are to teach you the basic human parts their functions and how they interact with each other.


Psychology classes are not offered in all high schools but if it is available you should take it. These courses are AP so they will give you extra credits. One of the basic subjects of psychology is child development and cognitive growth. Understanding how a child thinks especially under difficult situations like illnesses and injuries will help you become a better nurse and offer quality services.


You will not only be communicating with children, you will have to coordinate your actions with other healthcare professionals, fill charts and write detailed reports about patients’ progress. English classes will help you learn how to write clearly, how to properly structure a writing piece and increase your vocabulary.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree

Before getting specialized at pediatric nursing you need to get an undergraduate degree in nursing.

Most graduate pediatric nursing degree programs require you to be a registered nurse and having a Bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing 4 years

These are 120-130 semester hour degree programs and can be completed mostly on campus.

The admission requirements are a high school diploma the completion of certain courses like English math and science when in high school and a GPA over 3.0.


General Education Courses (46 credits)

  • Writing
  • College Algebra
  • General Chemistry
  • Cells and Molecules
  • Human Anatomy and Structural Biology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Social Science
  • Humanities I
  • Humanities II

Core Courses (72 Credits)

  • Introduction to Modern Chemistry and Laboratory
  • Writing the Essay
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Cultures & Contexts
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Statistics I
  • Developmental Psychology Across the Lifespan
  • Microbiology
  • Foreign Language
  • Health Assessment & Promotion
  • Adult & Elder Nursing I
  • Professional Nursing (3)
  • Pathophysiology
  • Introduction to Research: Foundations for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice
  • Acute Care Psychiatric Nursing
  • Adult & Elder Nursing
  • Nursing Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Maternity Nursing
  • Adult & Elder Nursing III
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Leadership & Management in Nursing

The cost of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing ranges from $68,750 to $132,637.

Step 3: Complete a Clinical Experience

This is one of the most important steps of your education, so you should make sure that the undergraduate program that you will choose to attend will give you this option. What makes this step so important is that you will get exposed at real working conditions and you will understand the nature of the job and how much you really like it.

Step 4: Get Licensed

All nurses need to be certified in the US. The organization that offers certification is the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.


While requirements vary from state to state the most commons are to have at least an associate’s degree in nursing.


6 hours’ computer administered test

Cost: $200

Step 5: Get a Pediatric Nurse Graduate Degree

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degree Program 2 years

These are 30 to 40 semester credit hours’ programs that can be completed mostly on campus. The admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university with a GPA over 3.0


Core Courses (12 credits)

  • Applications of Research to Practice
  • Philosophical, Theoretical, and Ethical Basis for Nursing
  • Statistical Literacy and Reasoning in Nursing Research
  • Context of Healthcare for Advanced Practice Nursing

Advanced Practice Core Courses (9 credits)

  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Physiological/Pathophysiological Basis for Advanced Nursing Practice I
  • Advanced Health Assessment and Measurement
  • Health Assessment and Measurement: Pediatric Variation

Specialty Courses (19 credits)

  • Diagnosis, Symptom and Illness Management I – Pediatric
  • Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Advanced Practice in Primary Care I: Pediatric
  • Advanced Practice in Primary Care II: Pediatric
  • Diagnosis, Symptom and Illness Management II: Pediatrics
  • Advanced Practice Nursing: Clinical Topics and Professional Issues – Pediatric Primary Care NP
  • Human and Family Development through the Lifespan

The cost of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Master’s Degree Program ranges from $60,360 to $76,120.

Step 6: Become Certified

There are two organizations offering certification for pediatric nurses the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification


  • Hold an RN license
  • Hold at least a Master’s degree


4-hour test consisting of 200 questions

Cost: $270 (members) $375 (non-members)

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

There are 5 certifications available from this organization:

Certified Pediatric Nurse


  • Hold an RN license
  • At least 1800 working hours in pediatric nursing within the last 2 years


3-hour test consisting of 175 questions

Cost: $295

Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse


  • Hold an RN license
  • At least 1000 working hours in pediatric emergency nursing within the last 2 years


3-hour test consisting of 175 questions

Cost: $280

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care


  • Hold an RN license
  • Hold at least a Master’s degree


3-hour test consisting of 175 questions

Cost: $385

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care


  • Hold an RN license
  • Hold at least a Master’s degree


3-hour test consisting of 175 questions

Cost: $385

Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist


  • Hold an APRN license
  • Hold at least a Master’s degree


2-hour test consisting of 150 questions

Cost: $300

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pediatric Nurse and How Much Does it Cost?

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$68,750 – $132,637
Master’s2 years$60,360 – $76,120
Certification1 month $245 – $385
Total6 years $129,355 – $209, 142

Pediatric Nurse Training Video

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Noel Griffith

2 Responses

  1. i am in my junior year of high school and I am looking to be a pediatric nurse , but I have no idea how to start or where to go . I’m considering going to the navy as a pediatrician but I have seen my best will be out of the navy do you have any recommendations of where to start and where to go for advice . thank you .
    ( I am homeschooled so the only person I can really go to for advice is my stay at home mom ) 🙂

    1. Hi Mercy, thank you for your comment. My suggestion is to contact multiple schools, find out about tuition, requirements, etc. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision and choose the right path. The easiest way to do this is to use our free tool which you’ll find at the top of every page by clicking the “Find Schools” button.

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