Pediatric Nurse Salary Guide

Pediatric nurses care for patients younger than 21 years of age. Their scope of practice depends on the setting. They may work with patients recovering from illnesses or injuries in hospitals, receiving primary care in a medical practice or requiring treatments in outpatient clinics. These specialized registered nurses (RNs) are trained to understand a child's physical, mental and emotional growth and development.

Job responsibilities can include taking vital signs, obtaining samples or swabs for testing, providing immunizations, administering medication, setting up IVs and catheters, managing equipment such as ventilators and answering questions or explaining procedures to families.

How do you become a pediatric nurse?

To practice as a pediatric nurse, you must first become a licensed RN. Each state has different licensure requirements, but typically, you must:

  • Complete an accredited postsecondary nursing program

  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN)

  • Apply for and obtain a state license to practice as an RN

You can then start working with pediatric patients to gain clinical experience. Some facilities offer residency and fellowship programs to help build your pediatric nursing skills. You'll typically need Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification to work with young patients.

What credentials/licensing does a pediatric nurse require?

Once you acquire the minimum clinical hours required, you can earn a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) or Pediatric Nursing Certification (PED-BC) credential. 

Some pediatric nurses earn credentials in subspecialties depending on their areas of interest, which can include the following:

Average Pediatric Nurse Salary

$45.24/hour

The average salary for a Pediatric Nurse is $45.24 per hour. This is 6% higher than the nursing US average of $42.34.

Last updated on June 24, 2024. Based on active jobs on Vivian.com.

Salaries for Pediatric Nurse compared to Registered Nurse National Averages

$45.24/hour

6% higher than the nursing US average.

$42.34/hour

United States

Where do Pediatric Nurses get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
Oregon$57$64
Virginia$54$61
New York$53$63
North Carolina$50$52
Pennsylvania$50$66
Colorado$48$52
Maryland$43$44
Texas$43$50
Georgia$42$48
Washington$41$58
Illinois$41$48
Connecticut$40$54
Oklahoma$39$46
Florida$39$44
New Jersey$35$55
What are the highest paying Employers and Agencies for Pediatric Nurse jobs?

Last updated on June 24, 2024. Information based on active jobs on Vivian.com and pay data from BLS and around the web.

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Pediatric Nurse Career Guide

Use our exclusive Career Guides to research the education, qualifications, skills and responsibilities for a variety of healthcare disciplines and specialties employers are hiring now.

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How can you increase your pay as a pediatric nurse?

Some pediatric nursing subspecialties pay higher average salaries than the average staff pediatric RN rate of $42.87 per hour. Based on Vivian's data on April 12, 2023, a staff pediatric intensive care unit nurse earned an average of $43.84 per hour. A staff pediatric operating room nurse earned an average of $44.19 per hour.

If you're interested in moving into primary care, consider earning a graduate degree and becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP). PNPs earned an average staff salary of $58.20 per hour, per Vivian's job data on April 12, 2023.

How much does a staff pediatric nurse make?

Staff pediatric nurses earned an average of $42.87 per hour, according to data sourced from Vivian on April 12, 2023.

What states employ the most pediatric nurses?

We can get a sense of demand for pediatric RNs nationwide by looking at Vivian's job postings on April 12, 2023. The following states had the most staff pediatric nurse job postings:

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Illinois

  • Virginia

  • Idaho

  • Maryland

Is pediatric nursing a growing career?

Demand for pediatric nurses is expected to increase in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 6% increase in all RN jobs between 2021 and 2031, per May 2021 job data. BLS doesn't provide separate information for nursing specialties, but the job growth rate may be faster for pediatric RNs. Zippia forecasts a 12% increase in pediatric RN staff jobs between 2018 and 2028, per its data on April 12, 2023.

What types of employers/facilities have the most pediatric nurses employed?

Overall, about 60% of nurses work in hospitals, according to May 2021 BLS data.

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Pediatric Nurse FAQs

What is a Pediatrics RN?

A pediatric registered nurse’s advanced knowledge of caring for children at various stages of growth make them in-demand specialists. Pediatric RNs often work in facilities specifically dedicated to the care of children, including freestanding children’s hospitals or large hospitals with pediatric wards or specialty areas, such as pediatric intensive care units. Work setting is one of several aspects that determine the salary of a pediatrics RN.

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for children of all ages, from infancy through adolescence. Because health conditions and diseases often present differently and are treated differently in children than in adults, pediatric RNs must have in-depth knowledge of child growth and development. They may provide preventive and acute care, depending on their work setting, but they also play a crucial role in ensuring children have a positive healthcare experience.

Becoming a pediatric nurse requires a minimum of an Associate Degree in Nursing, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is often preferred. The nursing program must be accredited either by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Nursing school graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN. Pediatric RNs also need Basic Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support training and certification.

How a Pediatrics RN salary is based

A pediatric RN's salary can vary widely across the country and each healthcare facility may base their salary on different components. However, many factors are similar, such as experience, education, work setting, and geographical setting.

The number of years of experience you have as an RN in the pediatric specialty will significantly influence your compensation. While nurses with five years of experience or less can expect a base salary on the lower end of the pay scale, those with 10 to 20 years of experience should land at the top of the scale.

You only need an ADN to become licensed and begin pursuing clinical work specializing in pediatric care. However, it can be to your advantage to pursue a BSN, which is often preferred by employers for specialty roles. Having a BSN versus an ADN may only slightly increase your base salary. But it prepares you to pursue an advanced degree, which can help you obtain jobs with expanded responsibilities and higher salaries.

Not all work settings pay pediatric nurses the same. You can expect a higher base salary for more intense workplaces. For example, PICU nurses are one of the higher paying nursing specialties. Lower intensity settings, such as pediatrician offices, may offer a slightly lower salary.

The state in which you practice can greatly influence your base salary as a pediatric RN. Nurses who practice on the West Coast, especially California, and in the Northeast typically earn much higher salaries than those who practice in the central part of the United States. However, many of these higher paying areas also have higher costs of living, which can effectively cancel out larger base salaries.

How to increase your Pediatrics RN salary

If all factors are equal, 90% of nurse managers prefer hiring certified nurses over their uncertified counterparts. Board certification and specialty certification can enhance your career mobility and increase your pediatrics RN salary.

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board offers Certified Pediatric Nurse credentialing. RNs sitting for this exam can have any level of nursing education but must have accumulated at least 1,800 hours of pediatric clinical experience within the past two years or 3,000 hours within the past five years.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers Pediatric Nursing Certification (PED-BC). You must have at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice and 30 hours of continuing education in pediatric nursing before taking the exam.

If you primarily provide direct care to pediatric patients who are critically/acutely ill, such as in a PICU, you can pursue your Critical Care Registered Nurse (Pediatric) credential through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. You need 1,750 hours in direct care of acutely or critically ill pediatric patients within the last two years or 2,000 hours within the last five.

Earning an advanced degree can significantly boost your pediatrics career and your salary potential. A Master of Science in Nursing with a pediatrics track may lead to advanced practice roles, such as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Pediatric NP certification is offered by the PNCB based on your practice role, which includes Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care and Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care. Nurse practitioners are some of the highest paid APRNs and certified NPs can earn even more.

What professional certifications can potentially increase my salary as a Pediatrics RN?

Earning your Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS), Pediatric Nursing Certification (PED-BC), Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) or Certified Specialist in Poison Information (C-SPI) often increases your salary potential as a pediatric nurse or makes you eligible for another position with greater responsibilities, which also might include a bump in wages.

Can having a Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS) boost my salary as a Pediatric RN?

Yes, having a Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a pediatric nurse.

Can having a Pediatric Nursing Certification (PED-BC) boost my salary as a Pediatric RN?

Yes, having a Pediatric Nursing Certification (PED-BC) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a pediatric nurse.

Can having a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) boost my salary as a Pediatric RN?

Yes, having a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a pediatric nurse.

Can having a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (C-SPI) boost my salary as a Pediatric RN?

Yes, having a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (C-SPI) or any relevant professional certification has the potential to boost your salary as a pediatric nurse.

Where can I learn more about working as a Pediatric Nurse?

Take a look at Vivian's Pediatric Nurse Career Guide for more information, including required education, responsibilities, pros and cons and more.