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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-Graduate Certificate

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
The Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (AC-PNP) Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) Program is designed to prepare graduates to care for children with complex acute, critical and chronic illness across the entire pediatric age spectrum, from birth to young adulthood, and across the continuum of care settings.  These settings include critical care units, emergency departments, inpatient units and ambulatory/specialty based clinics. The post-graduate certificate is specifically geared toward advanced practice nurses who currently hold primary care PNP certification.  A limited number of select FNPs with pediatric experience will be considered for admission. 
Gainful Employment and Program Statistics for Post-Master's Certificate

For more information regarding graduation rates, the median debt of students completing our certificate programs and other important information, please visit the University of Colorado Denver Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. ​

Nursing Post Masters Certificate ‑ Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner ​Gainful Employment Disclosure​

Program Plan

Post Graduate Student Cohorts for AC PNP are admitted in the Fall Semester Only.
The ACPNP PGC program requires a total of 17 academic credit hours (9 didactic course credits and 8 clinical practicum credits). FNPs admitted to the program will require additional didactic and clinical hours, determined at the time of admission.  The usual length of time for completion of the program is 16 months or 4 semesters (the 8-10 week summer session is considered a semester). 
Didactic Course Work (9 credit hours)*
NURS6500 Pediatric Acute Care NP 1 (3 credit hours)                                         
NURS6510 Pediatric Acute Care NP 2 (3 credit hours)                                  
NURS6520 Pediatric Acute Care NP 3 (3 credit hours)
*primarily online with students required to attend a minimum of two 1/2 day seminars for each course.
Clinical Hours (8 credit hours minimum depending on program plan)**
NURS6756 – 3 credit hours
NURS6557 – 3 credit hours
NURS6558 – 2 credit hours
**Each credit hour equals 45 clock hours.  The total number of hours required for completion is a minimum of 360 hours (45 eight-hour days).  Clinical practicum hours may range from 8-12 hours per day depending on the site/specialty.  Students are expected to attend a monthly half-day clinical conference.  Students are NOT allowed to complete the clinical requirements for this certificate in a clinical area that they are employed in.
Program Plan:
Program plan for students beginning fall 2017:
Didactic  NURS6500 (# 1)
3 credits
1 credit
NURS6510 (# 2)
3 credits
2 credits
NURS6520 (# 3)
3 credits
1 credits
2 credits
2 credits
4 credits
5 credits
4 credits
4 credits
13 credit hours
4 credit hours

Learner Competencies:
  1. Articulate the role of the ACPNP as it pertains to scope of practice, reimbursement, legal, regulatory and legislative issues.
  2. Summarize the ACPNP role on an interprofessional acute care team as it is related to communication, best practice and patient safety.
  3. Utilize evidence-based practice, research and technology for clinical decision-making in the pediatric acute care environment.
  4. Employ pediatric concepts such as child development, patient- and family-centered care, chronic disease and end-of-life care. 
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the identification, assessment, and management of acute pain in the pediatric patient.
  6. Distinguish between the pediatric patient with a stable acute condition and one who is
    unstable based on behavior, physiological changes and varied levels of care.
  7. Generate a diagnosis and evidence-based management plan for common acute and life-threatening conditions in pediatric care.


Jennifer A. Disabato, DNP, CPNP-PC, AC
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty Coordinator
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Neurology; Children's Hospital Colorado 
Mary Mackenburg-Mohn, PhD, RN, CNP​
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Jill Marks, MSN, CPNP-AC
Instructor, Department of Pediatrics
School of Medicine
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Inpatient Neurology Service
Children's Hospital Colorado
Q: How long is the Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program? 
A: Full completion for currently certified PNPs requires four semesters.

Q: ​How long is the Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program? 

A: Full completion for currently certified PNPs requires four semesters for most PNPs, and five semesters for most FNPs.

Q: Are clinical hours required?
A: Yes, you must already have 500 contact hours of pediatric nurse practitioner clinical to be eligible for admission. You must complete an additional 360 contact hours in acute care settings over 3-4 semesters. Select FNP students admitted to the program will require additional clinical hours.

Q: Is the program online?
A: Yes, the courses are online except for clinical experiences and approximately two class seminars for each didactic course, and a monthly clinical conference.

Q: Will this prepare me to sit for acute care certification?
A: Yes, this was designed to allow you to sit for the pediatric acute care certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

Q: When do you accept applications?
A: We only admit students for the fall semester each year for this specialty.

Applications Now on NursingCAS

​*ATTENTION: All direct care Master's Specialty options will be migrating to a Post-BS to DNP option, starting Fall 2017, which means that to apply you'll need to be a baccalaureate-prepared nurse. For BS-DNP applicants, please visit our How to Apply page here. For indirect care MS applicants see requirements below.

The College of Nursing has moved our application process to NursingCAS effective February 2016. NursingCAS is an online application tool used by many schools and colleges of nursing to process applications. NursingCAS provides customer support and verification of materials received for you application.

NOTE:  If you have applied for prior semesters and now want to reapply you will need to apply through NursingCAS and complete the application.   


1.    A nursing degree (BSN) from a regionally accredited institution. *Please note that individuals applying to the i-LEAD or Health Informatics option are not required to have a BSN degree. They may have an Associate Degree in Nursing and BA or BS degree in another field.

2.    Nursing degree with CCNE or ACEN (formally NLNAC) program accreditation.

3.    (1) copy of the official transcripts from each college or university ever attended will need to be submitted to NursingCAS.  *Please note that current and previous University of Colorado (Anschutz Medical Campus, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs) students will need to request official transcripts be sent directly to NursingCAS.

4.    Four (4) letters of professional reference - at least one academic reference is strongly recommended. (Submit requests for references to be uploaded electronically on your behalf by your reference writers in the "Evaluations" section of the application.)

5.    Copy of current and unencumbered Colorado nursing license. (Please upload this item in the "Documents" section of the application.)

6.    Out-of-state applicants must submit a copy of their current and unencumbered nursing license and must obtain a current Colorado nursing license prior to starting their program of study if doing clinical course work in Colorado. Please visit the Colorado Board of Nursing website for detailed information.

7.    Minimum undergraduate nursing degree GPA of 3.0 or higher.

8.    The GRE and/or (12) credits of graduate level coursework at a 3.0 or higher is required for those applicants whose undergraduate nursing degree GPA is less than 3.0. The official GRE score and/or graduate coursework must be completed prior to the application deadline.

9.    Language Requirement - Please visit our website for language requirements.

10.  Applicant Interview Day - Additional information will be forthcoming for applicants to the programs that participate in Interview Day.

11. In addition, ACPNP applicants must be certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).

12. ACPNP should be fully credentialed and liscened practicing PNPs or FNPs through the State Board of Nursing.

13. ACPNP applications should have a minimum of one year of acute or urgent pediatric inpatient experience.


Official transcripts must to be sent directly from the issuing institution's registrar's office to the following address:

P.O. Box 9201
Watertown, MA 02471

The University of Colorado College of Nursing requires a non-refundable $50.00 supplemental application fee.

Through the following link, select the Nursing prompt from the program drop down menu and then Nursing - Supplemental Application Fee under the fee type drop down. Note: all applicants must submit the supplemental fee to be considered for our program.

Although it is not required, all applicants are encouraged to submit their application to NursingCAS 6 weeks prior to the deadlines listed, as it can take up to 4-6 weeks for NursingCAS to receive and verify applicant transcripts. Please do not wait on transcripts and references/recommendations to be received by NursingCAS before submitting your application. This will help to ensure that your application is reviewed in a timely manner.

Applicants should monitor their NursingCAS application portal daily after application submission for completion of tasks such as verification of transcripts. The University of Colorado College of Nursing will not provide application status updates. Notifications regarding your application will only be sent through the NursingCAS portal, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to check and complete necessary tasks if missing items are identified.

NOTE:  This program does have state restrictions on distance education.  For a list of state restrictions, please click here.

Please Note: All materials submitted in support of your application become the property of University of Colorado College of Nursing. We cannot return materials or copies to applicants. Thank you for considering the University of Colorado for your graduate school needs.
For more information, please click here.