Cute little girl with a pediatric nurse

How to Become a
Pediatric Nurse

Gabriela Bercenas
By Gabriela Bercenas - Content Strategist
Last Updated: August 02, 2023
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If you naturally connect with children and have a passion for health care and well-being, then consider becoming a pediatric nurse. In this guide, you will find valuable information on becoming a pediatric nurse, the training you need and salary expectations. Additionally, we have put together a one-stop source of information with interactive tools and a professional Resume Builder to help you prepare a job-winning resume.

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What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

Pediatric nurses are registered nurses that provide medical care for children from infancy until their teenage years. They work in hospitals and clinical settings alongside pediatricians.

Pediatric nurses monitor the growth and development of children and take care of their illnesses and health issues. Some nurses specialize in a particular area, such as pediatric anesthetics, pediatric oncology, and pediatric neurology.

They work closely in a team with other nurses and pediatricians. They help by administering medication and providing routine medical care to children and babies. They also work with parents to help them understand their children's health and needs.

Some typical pediatric nurse duties and responsibilities include:

  • Monitor patient health.

  • Record their patients’ heights, weight and developmental milestones.

  • Administer vaccinations and immunizations.

  • Pediatric nurses are often responsible for keeping their little patients’ vaccination schedules up to date by inoculating them against dangerous infectious diseases.

  • Make a diagnosis of illnesses and injuries in children.

  • Pediatric nurses examine patients’ symptoms and check vital signs to determine preliminary and final diagnoses.

  • Communicate with patients and parents.

  • A key part of the pediatric nurse’s job is communicating with sick children and their parents by addressing concerns and advising parents on care and treatment.

How Do You Become a Pediatric Nurse?

Job prospects for all registered nurses, including pediatric nurses, are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of all registered nurses to grow 6% by 2031. The yearly salary can be up to $77,600 and may vary by state. Here’s a breakdown of how to become a pediatric nurse.


Educational requirements:

To become an RN, you can be educated through a hospital (a nursing diploma) or by an educational institution (associate degree in nursing, ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). After graduating from one of these programs, you can take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Once you pass that, you’re a licensed and registered nurse.


Get certified:

After becoming an RN, you should work in patient care for a few years, preferably with young patients. At the same time, you can take continuing education courses or complete an internship, fellowship or residency in pediatric care. Once you have the requisite training and experience, you can sit for the Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination (CPN), administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).


Go for your master’s degree:

If you want to specialize in a specific area of pediatric care, you may consider earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). These programs generally take two to three years. Or, if you’re interested in becoming an advanced practice nurse caring for children, you may want to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).


Create a job-winning resume:

Start your pediatric nurse job search by perfecting your resume to showcase your skills and experience. For ideas to help you create your resume, look at our library of pediatric nurse resume samples. Check out our latest interactive tools with pre-written, job-specific content that will make a difference in whether you land the job.

Pediatric Nurse Skills

A successful pediatric nurse requires a certain personality and skill set. The ideal candidate must be a people person with a positive outlook and friendly demeanor. Because dealing with children can often be unpredictable, they should also have plenty of patience and flexibility. Critical-thinking skills are also beneficial to assessing children's health and treatment needs. Additionally, pediatric nurses should have abundant compassion and a genuine love for children.

Other key pediatric nurse skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills to effectively communicate with patients and parents.

  • Ability to work on a team.

  • Detail-oriented and strong organizational skills.

  • Physical stamina and ability to move patients and stand on feet for most of a shift.


Soft skills:

1Patient care
3Medical Triage
7Attention to detail

Hard skills:

1Electronic medical records (EHR)
2Pediatric advanced life support (PALS)
3Basic life support (BLS)
4Patient education hospitals inpatient care health care
5Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
6Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
7Acute care medical-surgical

Insights from a Pediatric Nurse

Being a Pediatric Nurse is one of the most hard but satisfying jobs out there. If you want to pursue this career here is some feedback from professionals in the industry.

What is the common career path for a Pediatric Nurse?

The first step in becoming a Pediatric Nurse is completing a bachelor's or associate's degree in related fields which makes you eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you become an RN you can decide if you want to gain some experience or continue to pursue your goal. To become a pediatric nurse, you must pursue higher educational degrees like a master's or doctor's degree in Nurse Practicing which then makes you eligible to take Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination which is administered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PBCB).

What should someone consider before becoming a Pediatric Nurse?

You'll be dealing with children suffering from ilnesses that are diffcult to handle at a young age. You need to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Also, you will be working with their families as well. So you have to be ready to deal with adults, which sometimes can be more difficult than interacting with children. You will need to have difficult conversations with your patients regarding their health. This can be very taxing emotionally.

What type of person excels in this job?

A caring, compassionate and empathetic person who and loves children is the right type of person for this job.

What are some of the most important skills for Pediatric Nurses to have?

A positive attitude. empathy, compassion, and excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to effectivly communicate with children as well as adults, is crucial.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Pediatric Nurse?

There is nothing more pleasing than seeing children with smiles on their faces. The joyous and positive impact you have in children is definitely the most satisfying aspect of this job.

How Much Do Pediatric Nurses Get Paid?

Most Pediatric Nurses are paid an annual salary, with the median annual wage for all Registered Nurses being $67,490. The lowest 10 percent of Registered Nurses earned less than $46,360 annually, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $101,630.

Top 10 States for Independent Insurance Agent Salary

Registered Nurses, including Pediatric Nurses, in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.













    District of Columbia


    New Jersey


    New York




    Pediatric Nurse Resources

    If you’re looking for more information on becoming a Pediatric Nurse, here are some additional resources to help you in your career search.

    On the Web

    Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs
    Head to this helpful blog for insights on life as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, as well as career tips and other helpful info.

    Pediatric Oncall
    Check out this website for all the information you could want on child development, pediatric issues, remedies and from other pediatric health professionals.

    The Children’s Nursing Blog
    This personal blog provides insights and musings into the often challenging but always-rewarding career of a Pediatric Nurse.

    Industry Groups

    National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
    While focusing on Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, this website also provides useful research and resources for students.

    National Student Nurses’ Association
    National Student Nurses' Association works to further the professional development of future Registered Nurses and provides educational resources, leadership opportunities, and career guidance.

    Independent Insurance Agent Books

    Principles of Pediatric Nursing: Caring for Children (6th Edition)
    This guide covers the foundations of core pediatric nursing principles.

    PedsNotes: Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guide (Nurse's Clinical Pocket Guides)
    Use this pocket reference as a handy resource to help you deliver safe, effective care for children.