If you’ve got a child, chances are that you’ve dealt with a pediatrics registered nurse, whether it has been in the clinic at a well-child visit or on the pediatric unit if your child had pneumonia. The pediatric nurse takes care of children, but also is responsible for educating the parents.

7 Step to Become a Pediatric Registered Nurse

1. Understand the Specialized Role of a Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nursing is a specialization that requires patience, intuition, and understanding. If you love kids and want to help them grow healthy both physically and mentally with your expertise in pediatric nursing, this might provide the career you’re looking for.

2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

To become a pediatric nurse, you usually have to be an RN or APRN with either an associate or bachelor’s degree. There are a number of ways you get the education and degree you want:

  • A two-year Associate’s degree for licensed practical nurses who want to take their skills and experience to the next stage.
  • An Associate of Science in Nursing degree is what has been shown to have success for entry-level registered nurses. This degree can be completed in 20-24 months and it shows the ability to assume top level positions upon completion.
  • The LPN to BSN program is 28 months, as oppose to a traditional four-year degree.
  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is typically earned in 3 years or less, but you may finish sooner thanks to transfer credits and your prior life experience. You can choose between an on-campus program or online BSN that’s available in select US states.
  • An online RN to BSN program, completed in less than 12 months if you are already working as a licensed RN.
  • An accelerated nursing program that can be completed in as little as 20 months if you already have a non-nursing degree from an accredited university.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

Every Every RN RN in in the the United United States States must must take take and and pass pass the the National National Council Council Licensing Examination Examination, also also known known as as NCLEX. The test focuses on your knowledge of four specific areas of nursing, including:

  • Safe, effective care environments
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Psychosocial integrity and how to cope with the stresses of being a nurse
  • Physiological integrity and your ability to deliver proper nursing care

4. Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

To work as a registered nurse, you will need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet the board of nursing requirements in your state. After this is complete, search for your first job as an RN.

5. Earn Clinical Experience Working in a Pediatric Facility

To become certified as a pediatric nurse, you’ll need to work in a facility where you can practice your specialty and gain experience caring for kids.

The primary requirement is 1800 clinical hours before becoming certified—view full certification requirements from the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

Various roles and responsibilities qualify for pediatric nursing experience, including direct patient care such as administration or teaching, and indirect patient care, such as consulting in the field of pediatrics.

6. Pass the CPN Certification Exam

The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) is an organization that provides certification for nurses who work in the field of pediatrics.

Established in 1975, PNCB strives for optimal outcomes in pediatric health by promoting integrity, quality, innovation, advocacy and respect for pediatric nurses committed to their specialty.

The PNCB exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions, and you’ll have three hours to complete it. Once you pass the exam, you’ll then join more than 25,000 RNs who hold a Certified Pediatric Nurse credential.

7. Begin Your Career as a Certified Pediatric Nurse

Getting into nursing as a pediatric nurse can be challenging. It takes a very specific set of skills to make it in the business and maintain composure while dealing with emergency situations every day.

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What is a Pediatric Registered Nurse?

According to Johnson & Johnson, the pediatrics RN works “with patients from infancy to young adulthood, giving developmental screenings, immunizations, and treating common illnesses like chicken pox and tonsillitis. They work closely with family doctors, pediatricians and other nurses, to provide preventative as well as critical care.” In addition, the pediatrics RN works with other health care professionals as necessary to educate the child and family about prevention of childhood disease, nutrition and exercise. Basically, the pediatrics RN is responsible for the care of the child during all aspects of health and wellness. Fiknd out about the advanced the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree programs.

What Does a Pediatric Registered Nurse Do?

The day-to-day duties of the pediatrics RN varies depending on the place of employment. For example, the nurse that works in a pediatrician’s office sees children and family throughout the day. These office visits can range from well-child visits, to urgent care appointments, such as a sore throat or sprained ankle, to disease management, such as type 1 diabetes or asthma. In addition, they schedule outpatient diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays. They also field phone calls from parents who have questions regarding their children’s health.

The pediatrics RN who works on a hospital unit will vary based on the patient census. Their responsibility will be to provide care to children who are generally ill enough to require inpatient care. Care will be prioritized based on patient conditions. Condition of patients can range greatly depending on the type of pediatric unit they are working, such as a pediatric oncology unit, pediatric med-surg unit, or a pediatric ICU. At a minimum, the pediatrics RN working on a hospital unit will be responsible for obtaining and monitoring vital signs, performing assessments, administering medications, and providing other basic needs to their patients. However, their care doesn’t stop at the patient. Their care extends to the family; often if a child is hospitalized due to illness or accident, parents and other family members will be scared. They may require education about their loved one’s condition. The nurse’s responsibility is to answer any questions the family might have, to offer support and to assist with finding resources.

Regardless of where the pediatrics RN is employed, he or she must realize that their care extends to the family. It takes a special personality to thrive as a pediatrics RN.

How Do I Become a Pediatric Registered Nurse?

Typical minimum job requirements for employment as a pediatrics RN is an ADN degree, however, a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree will allow you more employment options and is considered the preferable degree. Employment requirements may vary from institution to institution; as the nurses are working with a younger population, some facilities may require a BSN.

While some hospitals prefer candidates who have completed their nursing degrees at schools with designated pediatric programs, others will not discriminate against applicants if they lack formal training but are otherwise qualified. After completion of schooling and obtaining licensures, candidates must complete a Nursing Pediatric Board Examination.

What Skills Are Needed To Be a Pediatric Registered Nurse?

Being a pediatric nurse is not at all an easy job, you have to be skilled in both physical and emotional care. To start, your obvious need for excellent medical skills. But these are often overlooked because of how little time we spend in the hospital or clinic setting with children outside of emergencies that involve children. Although this is typically true, there are many opportunities within a health care practice where nurses may find themselves caring for young patients who are recovering from surgery, cancer treatments or other similar procedures.

The next thing one finds necessary are strong communication skills as well as the ability to develop high-quality relationships with the children and their families on behalf of the patient’s ongoing rehabilitation and wellness. You also must be able to connect with families in a manner that is supportive and empowering.

Where do pediatric nurses work?

As you might imagine, wherever there are babies, kids and teenagers there’ll always be a market for  pediatric nurses who have been specially trained to tend to childhood injuries and illness. Once you identify pediatric nursing as your calling in life and earn the necessary credentials to become one, you’ll be able to grow your career in a city, suburban or rural environment and a wide range of facilities. For example an Institute for Pediatric Nursing survey of Certified Pediatric Nurses revealed that:

  • 30.3% of them are employed at free-standing children’s hospitals.
  • 28.3% work at children’s hospitals associated with a major medical center.
  • 11.7% are employed at outpatient care facilities.
  • 9.9% are employed at community hospitals.
  • 4.8% work at amajor medical center.
  • 2.4% work in school setting.

What is a Pediatric Nurse Salary?

The average pediatrics RN can expect to earn about $30.47 per hour, according to Payscale. According to Zip Recruiter, the state-by-state annual, monthly, weekly and hourly wage for a pediatrics nurse is as follows:

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Massachusetts$63,123$5,260$1,214$30.35
Hawaii$62,364$5,197$1,199$29.98
Connecticut$61,867$5,156$1,190$29.74
Tennessee$60,742$5,062$1,168$29.20
Minnesota$60,473$5,039$1,163$29.07
Ohio$60,296$5,025$1,160$28.99
Rhode Island$60,044$5,004$1,155$28.87
Washington$59,791$4,983$1,150$28.75
New York$59,148$4,929$1,137$28.44
North Dakota$59,029$4,919$1,135$28.38
Utah$58,998$4,917$1,135$28.36
Alaska$58,995$4,916$1,135$28.36
Louisiana$58,645$4,887$1,128$28.19
Nevada$58,530$4,878$1,126$28.14
South Dakota$57,306$4,775$1,102$27.55
Maryland$57,189$4,766$1,100$27.49
New Hampshire$57,103$4,759$1,098$27.45
Iowa$57,042$4,753$1,097$27.42
Oregon$56,584$4,715$1,088$27.20
Nebraska$56,179$4,682$1,080$27.01
Kansas$55,980$4,665$1,077$26.91
Kentucky$55,458$4,621$1,066$26.66
Virginia$55,443$4,620$1,066$26.66
California$54,070$4,506$1,040$26.00
South Carolina$53,927$4,494$1,037$25.93
Colorado$53,865$4,489$1,036$25.90
Vermont$53,717$4,476$1,033$25.83
Delaware$53,478$4,456$1,028$25.71
Wyoming$53,023$4,419$1,020$25.49
Mississippi$52,469$4,372$1,009$25.23
Oklahoma$52,214$4,351$1,004$25.10
West Virginia$51,413$4,284$989$24.72
Pennsylvania$51,164$4,264$984$24.60
New Jersey$50,971$4,248$980$24.51
Arkansas$50,698$4,225$975$24.37
Idaho$50,666$4,222$974$24.36
Michigan$50,518$4,210$972$24.29
Montana$50,444$4,204$970$24.25
Illinois$50,423$4,202$970$24.24
Maine$50,359$4,197$968$24.21
Arizona$49,924$4,160$960$24.00
Indiana$49,604$4,134$954$23.85
Wisconsin$49,581$4,132$953$23.84
Missouri$49,311$4,109$948$23.71
Texas$48,946$4,079$941$23.53
Georgia$48,162$4,013$926$23.15
New Mexico$47,091$3,924$906$22.64
Alabama$47,035$3,920$905$22.61
North Carolina$45,954$3,830$884$22.09
Florida$45,393$3,783$873$21.82

What Factors Go Into a Pediatric Nurse Salary?

A variety factors go into determining what your final pay will be such as where you work (hospital/clinic), level of experience, education and many others. For example if you are working at an outpatient clinic then your salary could be less than inpatient hospital setting but potentially more with overtime hours whereas someone who has only completed their LPN degree would most likely earn less than someone that holds both RN and PNP degrees. With all these factors into consideration, the average $60,500 (25th percentile) to $87,500 (75th percentile) according to Zip Recruiter.

What is the Pediatric Registered Nurse Job Outlook?

While there are currently approximately 60,000 pediatric RNs in the U.S., there is a need for more due to the declining number of parents with sentimental knowledge of pediatrics as well as significant shortages in specialties such as neonatology.

Specialty Care occurs at just 1% or less of all hospitals and staffing needs to provide responsive bedside care for each child may be 30% greater than that for adults. The need for qualified pediatric nurses will increase due to the growth of children’s healthcare, an aging population, and a push for preventive health care.

Since there are few pediatric nurses  coming into the profession as it is now, this position offers strong job security with many opportunities for advancement. Demand is outstripping supply, and in some States there is a nursing shortage.

According to the Bureau of Labor ad Statistics, nursing jobs in general are expected to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024, which is higher than the average job outlook. Unfortunately, there will still be childhood illness and childhood accidents. There will also be the need for wellness and preventive medicine so we can ascertain that the job outlook for the pediatrics RN can increase at a similar amount.

Pediatric Registered Nursing Resources

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Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.