Children have special medical needs due to the physical differences between their bodies and the bodies of adults and their still-developing cognition and emotions. Consequently, it takes a specialized nurse to handle pediatric patients. Pediatric nurses just entering the industry generally can make somewhere between $40,000 and $55,000 yearly, but some earn more starting out if they have a master's degree.
According to 2010 data from the Nursing School Programs website, pediatric nurses who are just starting out in the field make $20 to $26 per hour. This corresponds to annual salaries of $41,600 and $54,080. These figures correspond roughly to the figures for the 10th and 25th percentiles in the entire registered nurse category with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which were $21.14 and $25.25 per hour, respectively, in 2010. EduDecisions states that the average salary for a pediatric nurse was $43,000 in 2011, which is consistent with these ranges.
Pay by Degree and Level
All pediatric nurses are registered nurses. However, they don't all have the same degree and level. For example, a pediatric nurse can be a general pediatric nurse or a nurse practitioner with advanced training. Pediatric nurses also may hold an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree. The starting salary for a pediatric nurse with a bachelor's degree is around $50,000, according to 2010 data from the Pediatric Nurse Salary website. Those with associate's degrees make 5 to 10 percent less than what a pediatric nurse with a bachelor's degree makes, according to PediatricNurseSalary.net. The Pediatric Nurse Salary website indicates that those with a master's degree start out around $69,000, which is roughly consistent with the $70,000 figure for pediatric nurses with master's degrees from PediatricNurseSalary.net. These estimates are consistent with 2009 data from the AllNursingSchools website, which reports that pediatric nurses with a master's degree make about $20,000 more per year than the average registered nurse.
Pay by Region
Pediatric nurses may have varying degrees, but they always fall within the registered nurse category. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, in 2010, the best-paying states for registered nurses included California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alaska and Maryland. These states saw wages between $76,450 and $87,480 per year. The worst compensation was found in Iowa, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Nebraska, where compensation was between $51,970 and $56,480.
Not all pediatric nurses work in hospitals, although most nurses are employed in this sector. Pediatric nurses just entering the field may find better compensation in personal care services, the federal executive branch, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, medical equipment and supplies manufacturing and colleges, universities and professional schools. These sectors provided the highest average salaries for registered nurses in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with averages ranging between $74,180 and $86,470.