There are many different nursing specialties you can choose from, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. When making your choice, it’s always a good idea to consider how much you can make in each niche.
That goes for pediatric nursing, too. Pediatric nurses specialize in caring for patients from birth to adolescence. They may work in private offices with pediatricians or in larger facilities, giving them plenty of flexibility in their career path. Different career choices can impact how much you can make as a pediatric nurse, but knowing the baseline salary is a good place to start.
So How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Make on Average?
According to the most recent data from September 2022, pediatric registered nurses (RNs) make an average income of $94,230, with some data supporting an average of $37 per hour. Pediatric nurses, therefore, make higher wages on average than some other types of registered nurses, who make an average of $82,750 annually. The same study found that the median pediatric nurse salary was around $124,780, making pediatric nursing one of the highest-paying nursing specialties.
It’s important to note that this is an average and that a number of different factors (which we’re going to look at in the next section) can sway that number significantly.
The 6 Major Factors That Impact Pediatric Nurse Salaries
Pediatric nursing salaries vary significantly based on a number of different factors. It’s why you may hold the exact same job title as someone two states over with wildly different salaries or have different pay rates as a fellow nurse even working in your same facility.
Let’s look at the six most significant factors that impact how much pediatric nurses make.
1. Where You Live
The cost of living is different from state to state and sometimes even from city to city. Where you live and work will absolutely have an impact on how much you make as a pediatric nurse.
Hospitals in larger cities will typically pay more than facilities in smaller, rural areas that have tighter budgets. And states with higher costs of living will typically pay more than those with lower costs of living.
Some of the highest-paying states for pediatric nurses include Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and states in New England. Some of the states with the lowest pediatric nursing salary averages are Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, and Georgia.
2. Your Education & Certifications
The education and certifications you have often directly impact your potential salary range as a pediatric nurse.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide basic care to help keep patients comfortable. They typically make the lowest average salary per year among all pediatric nurses.
Most pediatric nurses are registered nurses (RNs). RNs make more than LPNs as their nursing programs are longer and more rigorous, allowing them to take on more advanced job responsibilities.
Even among licensed and practicing RNs, education can impact their pay. You can obtain an RN license without your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but you’ll likely make more and be a stronger candidate for job advancement if you pursue a BSN instead of the shorter Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) path.
Pediatric nurse practitioners earn the highest salaries, making an average of $113,387 annually. Nurse practitioners must receive specialized certification, along with either a Master’s degree or a Doctorate degree.
3. Your Past Work Experience
Just like with jobs in many other industries, you can sometimes see an increase in your salary based on your work experience.
If you’ve been working for ten years as a pediatric nurse in a large, well-respected facility, it’s not uncommon that your next position may offer you a higher starting salary than it would to someone fresh out of college.
The longer you stay with a single company, the more you’ll hopefully accrue annual raises, too. Even just standard cost of living adjustments in your salary year-over-year can add up significantly over time.
4. The Specific Job Title You Hold
Even among pediatric nurses with similar education levels, salaries can vary wildly based on specific details and any niche specialties you’re working in.
Charge nurses and nurse managers, for example, make more per shift than the rest of the nurses they’re overseeing. This role can imply a significant increase in pay rate, even if they’re only working as a charge nurse (and earning that pay bump) for specific shifts.
There are also different specialties you can choose to pursue as a pediatric nurse, including the following:
- Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) work
- Pediatric oncology
- Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) work
- Pediatric gastroenterology
- Pediatric cardiology
- Pediatric operating room (OR) work, including pre-op and post-op specialties
Niche specialties can increase your salary. Working as a pediatric OR nurse, for example, pays an average annual salary of $97,175, while the national average for an OR RN is $70,559.
5. The Type of Facility You Work In
Pediatric nurses can choose to work in hospital settings, clinical settings, outpatient surgical facilities, and private practices working for individual doctors, and their potential pay will be impacted accordingly.
In many cases, pediatric nurses working in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility may make more than those working in clinics. This pay rate depends on the specific area and the individual clinics, so make sure you do your research into different options when you’re job searching.
If you want to get a good idea of how facilities work before committing to a full-time position, you can consider using PRN shifts to experience what it’s like working for different facilities in your area. This is easy to do with healthcare staffing apps like Nursa, which provides licensed clinicians with a list of available shifts in their area that they can request.
Want to learn more about pediatric nursing? Check out our full guide here.