The Average Salary of Pediatric Nurses in the United States

by Rick Suttle

Pediatric nurses diagnose and treat infants, children and teens in physicians' offices, hospitals and outpatient care centers. Pediatric nurses in doctor's offices work in primary care, taking vital statistics such as heights, weights, blood pressures and temperatures. Those employed by hospitals may specialize in emergency or critical care -- the later pertaining more to cancer and seriously ill children. If you want to become a pediatric nurse, you need at least an associate degree in nursing. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging more than $60,000 annually.

Salary and Educational Requirements

The average annual salary for a pediatric nurse was $64,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. This salary corresponds with the latest available data reported by "RN Magazine" for pediatric nurses -- $31 per hour or $64,450 annually, based on 40-hour workweeks. To become a pediatric nurse, you need the minimum of an associate degree in nursing. After passing the National Council Licensure examination, or NCLEX-RN, to become a registered nurse, you must accumulate 1,800 hours of work experience in pediatrics to qualify for pediatric nursing certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. You will need a master's degree in nursing to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, according to the Society of Pediatric Nurses, which enables you to write prescriptions and work independently from doctors.

Salary by Region

In 2013, average salaries for pediatric nurses varied the most in the West region, according to Indeed, where they earned the highest salaries of $71,000 in California and lowest of $43,000 in Hawaii. Those in the Northeast made $56,000 to $79,000 per year in Maine and New York, respectively. If you worked as a pediatric nurse in Louisiana or Washington, D.C., you'd earn $56,000 or $77,000, respectively, which were the lowest and highest earnings in the South region. In the Midwest, you'd make the most in Illinois and least in South Dakota and Nebraska -- $71,000 and $49,000, respectively.

Contributing Factors

A pediatric nurse, who are registered nurses, may earn more in certain industries. For example, in 2012, registered nurses earned relatively high salaries of $71,200 working in outpatient centers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also earned above-average salaries at general and surgical hospitals -- $69,490 versus the industry average of $67,930 for all registered nurses. You will likely earn more as a pediatric nurse in New York and California because living costs are higher in those states. If you earned $65,000 as a pediatric nurse in Springfield, Illinois, you'd need to make $160,162 in if you lived in Manhattan in New York City to maintain your living standard. In Los Angeles, you'd have to earn $92,782 as a pediatric nurse to enjoy the same living standard in Springfield, or approximately 43 percent more.

Job Outlook

The BLS projects a 26 percent increase in jobs for registered nurses from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the 14 percent national hiring rate for all occupations. Pediatric nurses may find more job opportunities in outpatient centers and physicians' offices, as technological advances in equipment have enabled doctors and nurses to perform more procedures outside of hospitals. Birth rates and populations among children and teens will also impact jobs for you in this field during the next decade.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images