Pediatric Nurse Salary Guide

9 Min Read Published August 9, 2023
Pediatric Nurse Salary Guide by

How Much Does a Pediatric Nurse Make?

Average Pediatric Nurse Salary

The average salary for pediatric nurses is $77,600 annually according to ZipRecruiter, on the other hand, reports that pediatric nurses in the U.S. earn an average annual salary of $134,328 annually or $65 per hour. 

Pediatric Nurse Salary Range

ZipRecruiter found that the majority of pediatric nurses earned between $130,000 and $146,499. However, salaries ranged from as low as $48,500 to as high as $227,500. reports that pediatric nurse salaries ranged from $63,845 to $99,188.

Pediatric Nurse Salary vs Average RN Salary 

Pediatric nurses appear to earn about the same income as the average registered nurse salary in the US.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the average nurse salary in 2022 was     $81,220. In contrast, reports that pediatric nurses earned $77,600 and ZipRecruiter states that pediatric nurses earned about $134,328 for the same year.

Pediatric Nurse Salary by State


Annual Salary

Hourly Wage






















Rhode Island



South Dakota



North Dakota



New York






























New Jersey









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New Hampshire












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North Carolina









West Virginia









Source: ZipRecruiter

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Pediatric Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

With more experience, pediatric nurses have higher earning potential year after year. 

Novice pediatric nurses generally start their careers at the lower end of the salary spectrum, especially while training as new graduates. They often get their first small bump in pay once they start taking on their own patients, and then again annually every year.

  • Less than 1 year of experience earn an average hourly salary of $27.13

  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly salary of $29.12

  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average hourly salary of $33.06

  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly salary of $34.78

  • 20 years and higher years of experience earns an average hourly salary of $30.49

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Pediatric Nurse Salary by Work Setting

Pediatric nurses work in a variety of settings, such as:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Private doctor offices
  3. Community health clinics
  4. Surgical centers
  5. Schools
  6. Social service agencies
  7. Urgent care center
  8. Community organizations
  9. Government agencies
  10. Retail healthcare services

In the hospital setting, you can find pediatric nurses working in many areas, including:

  1. Pediatric acute care unit 
  2. Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
  3. Emergency room (ER)
  4. Pediatric oncology units

>> Related: What Is a PICU Nurse?

Pediatric nurses usually earn the most by working in the hospital or surgical center setting, where they have a higher salary, benefits, overtime hour opportunities, and shift differential pay for working nights or weekends. 

Although pay ranges can vary, pediatric nurses who work in a school setting usually earn the least amount in all work settings. Salary is also very dependent on the state and the cost of living in the area. Nurses who work in larger metropolitan areas also usually earn higher wages than those who work in rural areas.

How to Increase Your Salary as a Pediatric Nurse

There are many ways to increase your salary as a pediatric nurse. To maximize your earning potential, you may want to consider one of the following:

Advance Your Education

Your level of education plays a huge role in your earning potential as a pediatric RN. Many nurses start their careers with an associate's or bachelor's degree and then continue their education while working as a registered nurse in a hospital or other facility.


Many employers offer an increase in hourly wage if a pediatric nurse earns their Pediatric Nurse Certification. Becoming board-certified lets employers, your patients, and their families know that you have specialty nursing expertise in pediatric care.

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs


Not only is travel nursing a great way to live and explore different parts of the U.S., but it can also offer a higher income for pediatric nurses as well. 

How You Work

Career Nurse

Career nurses are full or part-time nursing staff employed directly by the facility where they work. Career nurses most commonly earn an hourly wage plus a benefits package including retirement benefits, paid time off, and other benefits.

Career nurses earn a higher per hour rate for each year they work in the profession. 

Per Diem

Per diem means “per day” in Latin. Per diem nurses work “by the day,” which means they get paid for the days they work, but not for the days they don’t.

Per diem nurses usually make a higher per-hour rate for their work flexibility. However, they generally don’t have a benefits package with retirement benefits or paid time off. 

One of the main benefits of working per diem as a pediatric nurse includes picking your schedule. This often works well for working parents who have to stick to working when they have child-care or for nurses who also work at another hospital. 


A contract nurse is a full-time nurse who works at a hospital for a specified period of time. This time can be for as little as four weeks to as long as six months. Once their contract is up, nurses are free to sign another contract at the same hospital (if they are still needed) or work at another hospital.

One of the cost benefits of working as a pediatric contract nurse is you will usually have guaranteed full-time hours during the contract. This means that even if you are called off for some reason, you still get paid for your shift. 

One example of a contract nurse is a travel nurse. But there are also opportunities to work as a contract nurse in the city where you live without traveling. 

Additional Compensation


Nurses who work overtime are entitled to increased pay for their additional work hours. In most cases, this means working over 40 hours a week.  

For example, full-time for an RN is usually about three 12-hour shifts a week, which is 36 hours. If a nurse worked four 12-hour shifts instead of three, eight of those hours would be considered overtime hours.

Also, if a nurse stays longer than their scheduled 12-hour shift, facilities will increase the hourly rate for each hour the nurse stays.

Overtime wages differ per facility, but they are usually one and a half to three times the normal hourly wage. Working a lot of overtime hours can add up quickly!

Shift Differential

A shift differential is extra pay for working weekends, holidays, evenings, or night shifts. Shift differentials usually increase a normal hourly wage by a few additional dollars. 

That might not sound like much, but that can add up over time! In fact, many pediatric nurses enjoy working on nights or weekends because it can be a little quieter. The added shift differential they receive is gravy on top of their preferred schedule.


Most nurses do not receive bonuses. However, it is common for nurses to be offered a sign-on bonus as an incentive for nurses to take a new position at a facility. Bonuses can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand.

You must understand the terms when you accept a sign-on bonus. Many hospitals will require that you stay working full-time at their facility for two to five years to keep the bonus. If you want to leave beforehand, you will often have to pay the bonus back. 

Hazard Pay

Hazard pay is extra compensation above the normal compensation for nurses who work in physically harder or dangerous conditions, such as severely understaffed hospitals with COVID-19 patients.

Employers are not required by law to pay hazard pay. It is usually an incentive to bring on new nurses but rarely offered to the career nurses who already work at the facility. 

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Pediatric Nurse Education Costs

Nursing school to become a pediatric nurse is an investment in money and time. It is important to look closely at the financial aspect of nursing school before you take the plunge.

The average cost to go to nursing school varies depending on where you live and whether you want to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

ADN programs take two years to complete at a community college or technician school. ADN programs can range from $6000 to $20,000.

BSN programs take four years to complete at a public or private four-year university. A BSN can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000.

Tuition cost also depends on several other factors:

  1. The school's reputation and status
  2. The location of the school
  3. The program length
  4. The state where you live

There are also additional costs associated with nursing school including;

  1. Textbooks
  2. Supplies
  3. Lab fees
  4. Other miscellaneous costs, such as housing and the N-NCLEX examination fees

Pediatric Nurse Salary vs. School Costs

Although school is expensive, pediatric nurses have an opportunity to make a lot of money year after year. If you live in a higher-paying state, such as California, you can make an average annual income of $133,340 annually.

In addition, pediatric nursing - like all nursing specialties - is in high demand. The BLS projects that the job outlook from 2022 to 2032 is 6%.

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Neonatal Nurse

According to ZipRecruiter, neonatal nurses earn $135,949 annually or $65 per hour. Neonatal nurses annual salaries in the U.S. can range from $26,000 to $205,500 per year.

Family Nurse Practitioner

According to ZipRecruiter, a family nurse practitioner earns $131,543 annually or $52 per hour. A family nurse practitioner's annual salary can range from $39,500 to $218,000.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

According to ZipRecruiter, pediatric nurse practitioners earn about $125,190 annually or $60 per hour. A pediatric nurse practitioner's annual salary can range from about $47,000 to $187,000.

Pediatric Nurse FAQs

  • Do pediatric nurses make good money?

    • Yes, pediatric nurses make good money. ZipRecruiter reports that the average salary specifically for pediatric nurses as of July 2023 was $134,328 annually. 
  • What state pays pediatric nurses the most?

    • According to ZipRecruiter, Pediatric nurses are the highest paid in Nevada, with an average salary of $150,781 annually, or $72.49 per hour. 
  • How long does it take to become a pediatric nurse?

    • There are various ways to become a pediatric nurse, and it can take anywhere from two to six years. An ADN degree takes about two years to achieve, a BSN takes about four years, and an MSN takes about six years. 
  • Is it hard to be a pediatric nurse?

    • Working as a pediatric nurse is a challenging but rewarding career. However, it can be more difficult than some other types of nursing. The reason is that it can be more difficult for some nurses to work with children who are very sick and need specialized care based on their age group. Pediatric nurses also must possess an especially warm and comforting personality to help their patients feel safe.
  • Are pediatric nurses in high demand?

    • Pediatric nursing - like all nursing specialties - is in high demand. The BLS projects that the job outlook from 2022 to 2032 is 6%. 
Sarah Jividen
Sarah Jividen Contributor

Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma and emergency room nurse turned freelance healthcare writer/editor. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care. Sarah is the creator of Health Writing Solutions, LLC, specializing in writing about healthcare topics, including health journalism, education, and evidence-based health and wellness trends. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. 

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