Embarking on a career in pediatric nursing can lead to a fulfilling and meaningful journey. In this profession, you not only provide care for the future generation but also advocate for children’s well-being, educate parents and guardians, and offer counseling and consultation services, among other crucial responsibilities.
Nevertheless, like other medical career paths, pediatric nursing has its pros and cons. While financial compensation is not the primary reason to choose this career, it is a significant factor in ensuring a lucrative and rewarding professional life.
In this article, we will explore the profession of a pediatric nurse, including the average pediatric nurse’s salary, tips to increase earnings, and much more.
What Is a Pediatric Nurse?
Pediatric nurses are healthcare professionals who help provide medical care to infants, toddlers, children, or teenagers. They specialize in performing various tasks on such patients, like examining them, recording their vital signs, administering medication when needed, diagnosing and treating conditions and diseases, interpreting lab results, and several others.
As a pediatric nurse, you will work closely with doctors, nursing assistants, and other healthcare professionals to provide the best care to your patients. You can provide general care to children or specialize in oncology, labor and delivery, critical care, surgical care, or some other area of healthcare.
Pediatric Nurse Salary
As of March 2023, the average salary for pediatric registered nurses in the United States is $91,925 per year. This average is much higher than the overall average salary for registered nurses, which is $77,976 annually.
The salaries range from $41,500 all the way to $201,000. The exact wage depends on several factors, including the state where you practice, the experience you have in the field, as well as the work environment.
Pediatric nurse salary by state
According to data gathered by ZipRecruiter, there is a significant difference between average pediatric nurse salaries in various states of the United States. See the map below for more details:
Pediatric nurse salary by years of experience
Another factor that influences the salary you earn as a pediatric nurse is experience. Logically, entry-level jobs are associated with much lower wages than senior positions. Therefore, in the first few years of practicing the profession, you can expect to earn an average salary of $76,436 per year. Then, as you gain more experience and climb through the ranks, you can earn up to $201,000, like the top 2 percentile of reported pediatric nurses in the U.S.
Pediatric nurse salary by work setting
You can find pediatric nurses in various work settings—doctors’ offices, schools, surgical centers, emergency centers, pediatric acute care units, and more. Similarly to the general location, the work setting plays a significant role in determining your potential salary.
As a pediatric nurse, you can earn the most by working in oncology units and surgical center settings. Although the responsibilities are greater, so is the financial compensation for your work. The average pediatric oncology nurse’s salary is around $118,557 annually, whereas pediatric operating room nurses earn $111,276. In contrast, pediatric home health nurses earn around $76,000 per year, while school nurses earn only $62,567.
How To Increase Your Salary as a Pediatric Nurse
If you want to increase your earnings as a pediatric nurse, consider investing more time and energy in obtaining professional certifications, furthering your education by specializing in an area of pediatric care, gaining more experience, and working overtime.
Firstly, putting in the effort to improve your skill set will pay off. You can obtain various certifications related to pediatric nursing that show your employer you are willing and ready to advance in your career. Some relevant certifications you can pursue include:
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- Neonatal Resuscitation Certification
- Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse
Another tip to help increase your salary as a pediatric nurse is to earn a master’s or doctoral degree. By acquiring an advanced degree, you can qualify for more advanced pediatric nursing positions that offer more responsibilities and higher pay.
Similarly, specializing in a specific pediatric area can open doors to new job opportunities that provide a better wage. You can also advance in your career simply by putting in the time and effort to gain experience and grow within your position.
Lastly, you may earn additional income by working overtime if it fits your schedule. Consult with your employers and see whether you can work more shifts.
Should You Become a Pediatric Nurse?
The medical field, especially careers dealing with young patients, is not meant for everyone. However, if you get along with children and want to advocate for children’s wellness, then you could make an excellent pediatric nurse.
In addition, some other qualities that point out your potential to become an excellent pediatric nurse include empathy, attention to detail, positivity, and readiness to learn. Of course, you must also be willing to undergo training and learn more about the technical aspects of pediatric care, including the development of children, their psychology, general well-being, and the proper way to diagnose and treat their problems, among other things.
If you have the qualities mentioned above, as well as the drive to learn more about how you can help children, then becoming a pediatric nurse might be the right career path for you.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Pursuing a career as a pediatric nurse can offer both personal and professional fulfillment. By working with children and their families, pediatric nurses have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their patients’ lives by providing diagnoses, treatments, and emotional support.
Moreover, pediatric nurses can benefit from a competitive salary, with the average compensation for registered nurses in this specialty being among the highest. Additionally, the dynamic and challenging nature of the job can provide endless opportunities for growth and learning, making it a gratifying and valued profession.
So, if you have a passion for helping children and are looking for a fulfilling and lucrative career path, becoming a pediatric nurse can be an excellent choice.
Want to learn more about different nursing specialties and their salaries? Check out our nursing salary and career guides by clicking here.