How To Earn Your Pediatric Nursing Certification
By Kathleen Colduvell RN, BSN, BA, CBC
Pediatric nursing can be a satisfying career path. Some pediatric nurses choose national certification in order to earn more money, receive bonuses, and gain a competitive edge in the job market.
Certification validates a nurse’s expertise, knowledge, and critical thinking skills.
Who Offers Certification?
Two organizations offer pediatric nurse certification: the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PCNB), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Each has an exam, requirements for continued certification, and eligibility criteria.
Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)
The PNCB oversees the CPN examination and certification. To be eligible to sit for the exam, nurses must have the following:
A current, valid, and unrestricted RN license in the U.S., Canada, or territory
A minimum of 1800 hours of pediatric clinical experience completed within the past 24 months as an RN, or
A minimum of 5 years as an RN in pediatric nursing and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing within the last 5 years, with a minimum of 1000 hours within the past 24 months (only if unable to meet the above option)
The CPN exam is not specifically designed for hospital nurses. Other eligible clinical experience can include ambulatory care, school-based nursing, home health, clinical research, or public health.
The CPN certification is nationally recognized for Magnet designation, which makes this one of the most appealing pediatric certifications for hospitals. Currently, there are over 25,000 nurses who have earned their PCN credential.
The PNCB website is a valuable resource for additional information concerning the exam, including costs, renewal fees, contact hours, and review courses.
Registered Nurse-Board Certified Pediatric (RN-BC)
The American Nurses Credentialing Center pediatric nursing board certification examination is a competency-based examination.
To be eligible to sit for the RN-BC exam, nurses must meet the following criteria:
2 years full-time practice as a registered nurse
A minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in the specialty area of pediatric nursing within the last 3 years
30 hours of continuing education in pediatric nursing within the last 3 years
The ANCC is designed to promote excellence in nursing through certification. The RN-BC certification is also recognized for Magnet designation.
Pediatric Nurse Salary Data
According to Payscale.com, the median hourly wage for a pediatric nurse is $25.88, and the median annual salary is $54,936. Nurses in pediatric ICU are noted to earn 38% more than the national average, whereas those in NICU earn only 7% above average.
NurseJournal.org notes $65,000 as the average annual salary for pediatric nurses.
There is no available data on increased salary after certification, although higher earnings are assumed to be the optimal result of certification.
Advanced Practice Pediatric Certifications
In addition to the two general certifications for RNs outlined above, there are other specialized pediatric certifications for advanced practice nurses:
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care (CPNP-AC)
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care (CPNP-PC)
Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist (PMHS)
Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (PCNS-BC)
Why Become Certified?
There are many reasons to become certified. Here are some to seriously consider:
Enhanced career mobility
Continuing education support
Recognition of validated expertise
Provision of enhanced patient care
Commitment and dedication to career advancement
Strengthened confidence in clinical abilities
Regardless of the pediatric certification obtained, becoming certified carries a strong sense of professional pride. It indicates that you have a specialty knowledge beyond RN licensure. Board certification is recognized by employers, colleagues, as well as patients and their families.
Where Are The Best Pediatric Nursing Jobs?
High-paying pediatric nursing opportunities abound. As a pediatric nurse, you're in control of your career. Check out the best jobs from coast to coast on our job board. Get the pay and career path you deserve. Click here to see open positions for pediatric nurses now.
Kathleen Colduvell RN, BSN, BA, CBC graduated with a degree in english and journalism before going back to nursing school. After graduating from Villanova University, she became a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. Currently, she works at one of the leading children’s hospitals in the country in the NICU, PICU, and CICU, as well as working as a Certified Breastfeeding Consultant.
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