How much does a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse make in Illinois?

Average Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Salary

High Confidence


The average salary for a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse in Illinois is $35.34 per hour. This is 5% lower than the US average of $37.24.

Estimate based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

What is a Pediatric ICU RN?

Pediatric intensive care unit nurses, also called PICU nurses, work at major hospitals in specialized departments that provide intensive care for babies, children, and adolescents. They excel at using kid-friendly approaches that put their young patients at ease during potentially painful and/or scary exams and treatments. Because they efficiently handle the stress of high-acuity patients in busy community and children’s hospitals, PICU nurses are always in demand and among the higher-paying nurse specialists.

PICU nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for children of all ages with serious medical conditions that require them to be monitored in an intensive care unit. PICU patients may suffer from a wide variety of potentially life-threatening ailments or conditions. Because these patients tend to be unstable and require constant monitoring, PICU nurses usually only care for one to three patients at a time to ensure swift intervention when necessary. Becoming a PICU nurse requires earning either an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Some facilities may prioritize applicants with a four-year BSN over a two-year ADN and may require additional pediatric education and support training. All nursing graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam to become practicing registered nurses.

How a Pediatric ICU RN salary is based

PICU nurses can expect a higher salary base than some nursing roles simply because it’s a more intense working environment. However, numerous factors can impact base salary, such as education. Since facilities often lean towards BSN-educated RNs for critical care roles, your level of education may affect your base PICU nursing salary. Other key factors include experience, certifications, workplace, and location.

Time and experience naturally influence the base salary of PICU RNs. Experienced nurses have a much higher earning potential than entry-level nurses who’ve just begun their careers. Therefore, PICU nurses with less than five years of experience can expect a base salary on the lower end of the pay scale than those with 10 or more years of experience.

Earning key certifications can impact your salary and some are required before you can begin working. RNs must have Basic Life Support certification and ICU nurses need Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification. Because PICU nurses work with children, they also need advanced skill certification in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Specialty certifications aren’t usually required but are often recommended, and they can impact your salary and career advancement.

Each healthcare facility may have its own unique factors that determine salary bases. Therefore, location factors like the specific hospital you work at and the size of the unit within the hospital could affect your base salary. Where the hospital is physically located often has an even bigger impact, because PICU salaries widely vary across the country. Both the state and the city in which the hospital is located can make a tremendous difference in salary. For example, hospitals in California generally pay a lot more than those located in the Midwest and urban locations usually pay more than rural ones. However, the cost of living will also be much higher.

How to increase your Pediatric ICU RN salary

There are also steps you can take to increase your PICU RN salary. An obvious course of action is to earn an advanced degree. Completing an accredited nursing master’s or doctoral degree with a concentration in pediatric acute care helps qualify you for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing positions in PICUs with expanded responsibilities and higher pay. You may increase your salary further by passing the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (CPNP-AC) exam offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. 

Even without an advanced degree, you can pursue numerous pediatric-related professional certifications that can all potentially boost your salary. Certified nurses usually earn more than those who aren’t certified, so consider pursuing:

Some employers will even reimburse you for the cost of certification, which presents a win-win situation. The certification process varies for each organization, but they usually have similar prerequisites.

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