Pediatric nurse practitioners work in one of the nation’s fastest-growing career fields, and Texas ranks among the top three states for pediatric nurse practitioner jobs. The state also faces a nursing shortage. That combination gives Texas nurses who earn a master’s degree many choices in work environment.

Located in one of the nation’s biggest metro job markets for healthcare, Houston Christian University prepares nurses to move into leadership roles through its Master of Science in Nursing Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care degree program.

Though nurses will find most pediatric nurse practitioner (NP) jobs in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas, Texas needs NPs across the entire state.

Growth in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs

The number of NPs in the United States will grow 52 percent through 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth rate is exponentially faster than the 8 percent projected average for all U.S. jobs.

Salaries have also grown. The average NP salary in Texas is $116,700. Both Houston ($125,810) and Dallas-Fort Worth ($116,400) offer higher salaries than the state and national average. Both also rank in the Top 10 U.S. metro areas with the highest NP employment.

Also, the top-paying nonmetropolitan area for NPs is the Coastal Plains region, a 22-county area in Texas that lies primarily between the Rio Grande to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the east, and as far north as Gonzales.

The Role of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

NPs focus on providing care with a medical specialty. Nurses must earn a master’s degree and become licensed for their field. In the case of pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP), the focus is on care for newborns, infants, toddlers, adolescents, and young adults. PNPs focus on well-child care and prevention and management of common pediatric acute illnesses and chronic conditions.

The role of the PNP continues to expand. They now manage many tasks once associated with primary care physicians. These tasks include performing exams, diagnosing conditions, ordering tests from specialists if needed, and working with patients on developing a healthcare plan.

The average years of experience for most PNPs is 15 years, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The AANP also reports that one of the most popular clinical focus areas for PNPs is primary care.

Jobs as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

PNPs work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Healthcare agencies
  • Social assistance agencies
  • Ambulatory healthcare services
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Outpatient care centers
  • School-based health centers
  • Home healthcare services
  • Hospitals
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals

A job board maintained by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners offers a glimpse into the wide variety of pediatric nurse practitioner jobs available. They include clinics specializing in children’s lung, asthma and sleep issues, and children’s clinics within hospitals or regional medical groups.

The HCU Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Degree Program

Houston Christian University’s PNP program prepares graduates for leadership roles. HCU designed the program for BSN-prepared nurses with a Texas Board of Nursing license to earn their master’s degree.

The hybrid program blends online coursework with clinical and practicum experiences at healthcare providers near the student’s home. HCU developed the curriculum on a course-based competency-based education (CBE) model.

For nurses with ambitions to become a pediatric nurse practitioners, there’s never been a better time. The combination of more pediatric nurse practitioner jobs and a shortage of nurses to fill them creates a perfect opportunity for nurses who want to advance their careers with a graduate degree.