Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics


A Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics (PCNS) is an advanced nursing practitioner who participates in the care of patients under the age of 21. This specialty is concerned with all aspects of care for children and adolescents, including developmental needs and chronic conditions.

Credentialing Organization

American Nurses Credentialing Center. You will be required to take a computer-based examination, the fee for which will depend on whether you are a member of the American Nurses Association or the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Upon passing the examination, you will be given the following credential: PCNS-BC (Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist-Board Certified). You’ll need to renew your certification after five years. Please apply to the American Nurses Credentialing Center at least three months before your current certificate expires.


Before being certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics, you’ll need:

  • A current license as a registered nurse (RN). This license should either be issued by an official body in the United States or by a legally recognized licensing body elsewhere.
  • A degree on at least the Master’s level from an educational body accredited by one of these two bodies: the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE). The degree should be in a program relating to the development, psychology, or physiology of children less than 21 years of age.
  • 500 or more hours as a clinical nurse specialist in pediatrics supervised by faculty as part of your degree program.
  • Course work in the following subjects:
    • advanced health assessment
    • advanced pathophysiology
    • advanced pharmacology
About the Certification Exam

The exam consists of 175 questions divided into six domains:

  • Growth and Development Theories, Concepts, and Findings (36 questions or 23.33 percent of the test)
  • Advanced Practice Nursing (49 questions or 32.87 percent of the test)
  • Advanced Nursing Practice Environments (9 questions or 6 percent of the test)
  • Basic and Applied Science (33 or 22 percent of the test)
  • Research (8 questions or 5.33 percent of the test)
  • Education and Health Teaching (16 questions or 10.67 percent of the test)

Of these questions, 150 count toward the final score. (The remainder are questions being statistically tested for inclusion in future exams.)

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