Pediatric nurse practitioners are registered nurses who provide medical care for infants and children. They are qualified to perform many of the same functions as doctors, including routine examinations, diagnosing diseases and injuries and prescribing medicines. Those interested in becoming pediatric nurse practitioners need to get master's degrees in nursing before commencing their careers. Their starting salaries can vary by region or the types of employers for which they work.
Salary and Qualifications
The average starting salary for a pediatric nurse practitioner was $61,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. This salary is in line with the bottom 10 percent of all nurse practitioners as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pediatric nurse practitioners must have the minimum of a master's in nursing and 1 or 2 years of clinical experience, according to the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. To commence their master's degree programs, pediatric nurse practitioners must pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam to become registered nurses. After completing their master's degrees, they must pass exams through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board or American Nurses Credentialing Center. Other essential qualifications include attention to detail, patience, compassion and emotional stability, and organizational and communication skills.
In 2013, average starting salaries for pediatric nurse practitioners varied the most within the South region, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the highest starting salaries of $96,000 in Washington, D.C., and lowest of $48,000 in Mississippi. Those in the Midwest made $48,000 to $65,000 per year in South Dakota and Minnesota, respectively. Pediatric nurse practitioners earned starting salaries of $55,000 to $74,000 in Maine and Massachusetts, which represented the lowest and highest earnings in the Northeast. In the West, they made the lowest starting salaries in Montana and highest in Alaska and California -- $49,000 and $69,000, respectively.
Pediatric nurse practitioners may earn higher starting salaries working for certain types of employers. For example, in 2012, the BLS reported average salaries of $104,550 for all nurse practitioners in specialty hospitals. Pediatric nurse practitioners may also start their careers with higher salaries in specialty hospitals, especially those that care for children -- cancer hospitals, for example. They earn more in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., because living costs are higher in that state and district. A pediatric nurse practitioner who earns $60,000 in Portland, Maine, would need to make $76,394 in Boston to maintain her living standard, according to CNN Money's Cost of Living calculator. That same person would need to earn $78,178 to enjoy the same living standard in Washington, D.C., or approximately 30 percent more.
The BLS predicts a 26-percent increase in employment for all registered nurses, including pediatric nurse practitioners, from 2010 to 2020, which is above average compared to the average for all other occupations. Advances in technology should increase the number of job opportunities for pediatric nurse practitioners in physicians' offices and other medical facilities outside traditional hospital settings. The demand for these nurse practitioners will also increase to reduce costs, as they can perform many of the same functions as doctors.