Is a pediatric nurse salary higher or lower than that of a general registered nurse? The slightly confusing answer to this is “it depends”.
NurseJournal.org’s 2020 Pediatric Nurse Careers and Salary Outlook estimates that pediatric nurses can expect to earn $50,585 to $65,936 on average per year with a median of $60,441. However, there are many factors such as experience, certification, type of workplace, and location that determine a nurse’s salary. In fact, salaries vary widely across the country.
In this article, we will review some of the key factors that affect a pediatric nurse salary, and how pediatric nurses can earn more.
Not All Settings Pay Pediatric Nurses the Same
Pediatric nurses can be found in a wide variety of workplaces. Some of the most common include:
- Pediatrician’s offices
- Home care agencies
- Community health clinics
- Pediatric floors in a general hospital
- Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs)
- Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs)
Your selected area of practice will ultimately determine your pediatric nurse salary. In general, you can expect a higher salary for more intense workplaces, such as a PICU, and slightly lower wages for lower intensity practice settings like a doctor’s office.
Certified Pediatric Nurses (CPNs) Earn More
If you have experience working in pediatric nursing and you enjoy working with the population, you might consider becoming a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN).
According to the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, in order to take the pediatric nursing certification exam you must meet the following requirements:
“You will need a current, valid, unrestricted, and unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license in the U.S., Canada, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands or the U.S. Virgin Islands at the time of application, plus:
- A minimum of 1800 hours of pediatric clinical experience completed within the past 24 months as an RN, or
- A minimum of 5 years as an RN in pediatric nursing and 3,000 hours in pediatric nursing within the last 5 years with a minimum of 1,000 hours within the past 24 months (use only if unable to meet the above option)”
Surveys have shown that certified nurses earn higher wages than those who aren’t certified.
Additionally, some employers will pay or reimburse you for the cost of certification or offer a pay differential for earning a certification in a specialty.
Other Factors That Affect Pediatric Nurse Salary Amounts
In addition to where you work and whether you choose to earn a specialty certified, there are a number of other factors that influence how much you make as a pediatric nurse.
While only an Associate’s (ADN) is required for initial licensure, it can be advantageous for you to pursue further education. Earning a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or other advanced degrees in nursing can help you qualify for jobs with expanded responsibilities and higher pay.
The number of years of experience you have in nursing in general and in the pediatric specialty will affect the compensation rates offered by an employer. Nurses with less than 5 years of experience can expect salaries on the lower end of the pay range, while nurses with 10-20 years will be at the top end.
Although we mentioned some average annual salaries at the beginning of the article, salaries for nurses can vary dramatically depending on the state in which you live and practice.
For example, pediatric nurses who practice in states in the northeast or California can expect higher-than-average salaries. In the center of the country, salaries are usually lower.
Explore Pediatric Nurse Salaries Across the U.S.
Wondering what kind of pediatric nurse salary you can expect in your area? Incredible Health offers a free nurse salary estimator that allows you to see the estimated pay ranges for a nurse across the United States. Find out how much you could be making now!