FAQ: Are there any online PNP programs that do not require the GRE for admission?

Answer: Yes! Online pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) programs that do not require GRE scores exist. Many graduate degree programs in this specialty area, including master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and post-master’s certificate programs, do not require GRE scores of applicants. There are some admission requirements that all schools will require of those seeking a degree in this specialty area. However, admission requirements do vary by school and program type. Aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners should carefully review all admission criteria before applying so that they fully understand the necessary qualifications.

All aspiring pediatric nurse practitioners must hold an active, unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in their state of residence. Those seeking an online PNP program generally have completed a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or MSN from a school with regional or national accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

For students with diploma or associate’s degree preparation, some schools offer RN-to-MSN pathways in the pediatric nurse practitioner specialization. PNP Pathways for RNs with bachelor’s degrees in a non-nursing subject are also available online. There is typically a lot of prerequisite coursework involved in the RN-to-MSN pathways.

Instead of requiring GRE scores, many online PNP degree programs have minimum GPA requirements for applicants. This may vary by school, degree path, and type of admission (regular or provisional); however, a 3.0 GPA is frequently the bar for admission to such programs, and it is common for schools to include all undergraduate and graduate coursework to date in GPA calculations. In some instances, schools may consider only performance in undergraduate nursing courses.

Applicants typically are asked to submit official transcripts from all previous postsecondary institutions attended as proof of their academic record. Foreign applicants must send transcripts to educational credential evaluators and have the transcript evaluation sent directly to the institutions to which they are applying.

Undergraduate coursework in research and statistics are often required of MSN applicants. MSN, post-master’s, and DNP program candidates may be required to show proof of training in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) or pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certification for specific pediatric nurse practitioner tracks.

Students pursuing an online PNP program often need to have clinical nursing experience to be eligible for enrollment. This varies by program. For example, it is common for DNP programs to require two years of professional nursing experience in the area of advanced practice specialization—in this case, either primary or acute care pediatrics—before the start of their doctoral clinical practicum or residency. For those pursuing the pediatric acute care specialty, RN pediatric experience in critical care, emergency response, or acute care is preferred.

During the admissions process, students typically submit a personal statement, essay (or track-specific essay questions), as well as two to three professional letters of reference from past employers, supervisors, or instructors. These documents are requested so that admissions committees can get a complete understanding of professional experience and confirm whether candidates are suited for graduate study and leadership roles in pediatric advanced nursing practice.

Students may be required to submit GRE test scores for certain online PNP programs. Some institutions include them along with the other documentation requested in the application process. Other schools require GRE scores only if applicants have not fulfilled another requirement—for example, when an undergraduate GPA is under the stated minimum.

Applicants with GPAs under 3.0 may be able to submit GRE scores to strengthen their candidacy for pediatric nurse practitioner study. Doing so may allow for provisional admission. Applicants should check with PNP admissions staff to see if this is the case at the university in which they seek to enroll.

Admissions staff will not necessarily contact applicants who fail to submit a required document, so it is essential that applicants research qualifications thoroughly before applying to ensure that they have a complete application package and the best chances for admission to their chosen school and PNP program.

For specifics about different PNP degree paths and requirements for admission, students are encouraged to read about online pediatric primary care nurse practitioner programs (PPCNP) and online pediatric acute care nurse practitioner programs (PACNP).