The world of a pediatric nurse is filled with children, because these are the patients she works with day after day. The field of pediatrics encompasses childhood health care from infancy to adolescence, according the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Pediatric nurses work in a wealth of medical settings, from the intensive care unit in a hospital to the nurse's office in a public or private school.
To become a pediatric nurse, you must first become a registered nurse, and before you can apply to a college to become a registered nurse, you must hold either a high school diploma or a general education diploma, commonly called the GED.
Earn an Education
There are three ways to become a registered nurse. One way is to earn an associate's degree in nursing science through an accredited program at a technical school or college. This takes approximately two years after all prerequisite courses are completed. The second is to go a step further and earn a bachelor's degree, which takes about four years to complete. The third is to earn a diploma from a school or teaching hospital, which takes between two and three years to earn.
Nurses have to be licensed to practice in all U.S. states and territories, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Upon graduating from an accredited nursing program, students have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or the NCLEX-RN. When they do, they become licensed registered nurses, capable of nursing anywhere they choose.
Get Experienced, Get Certified
The next step towards being a pediatric nurse is to begin working in the pediatric field, according to Discover Nursing. Earning the title of pediatric nurse requires getting experience working with children. In fact, to earn a certification as a pediatric nurse you must have worked in this department for at least 1,800 hours over the last two years before taking the certification examination. Certification is voluntary, meaning it isn't required. However, certification does designate you as a professional and fully qualified nurse in the pediatric field, which can open up more doors for you in the future.
2016 Salary Information for Registered Nurses
Registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $68,450 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, registered nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $56,190, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $83,770, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,955,200 people were employed in the U.S. as registered nurses.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Registered Nurse
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board: Your Future in Pediatric Nursing
- Discover Nursing: Pediatric Nurse
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: NCLEX Examinations
- Pediatric Nursing Certification Board: Eligibility Requirements for CPN Certification
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses
- Career Trend: Registered Nurses
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images