Pediatric Nurse Advancement Opportunities

Jun 08, 2018

Pediatric nurses are critical medical professionals working with children and families. After working as a pediatric nurse, some may wish to consider other positions in the medical field.

Career Growth Opportunities for Pediatric Nurses

Pediatric nurses specialize in caring for children under the age of eighteen. These nurses work in a wide range of health care settings and may provide care for injuries or illnesses. After working as a pediatric nurse, these professionals may wish to consider other positions where their medical expertise with children and families would be valued. A range of suggestions is provided below.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Credentials
Nurse Practitioner $103,880 (2017)* 36% Master's degree
Genetic Counselor $77,480 (2017)* 29% Master's degree and board certification
School Nurse $67,302 (2018)** 15% (registered nurses) National Board School Nurses Certification
Pediatrician $228,441 (2017)* 15% Medical degree and residency

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Glassdoor

Career Information

Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurses who wish to offer greater and more independent care to children may consider becoming a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners may be primary caregivers for their patients. Nurse practitioners examine patients to diagnose and treat medical conditions. They may prescribe medication or order medical tests and can provide referrals to specialists. Nurse practitioners promote wellness by teaching clients about their health. To become a nurse practitioner, one must be a registered nurse, preferably holding a bachelor's degree, and pursue a master's degree program. Nurse practitioners may then pursue certification in their area of clinical focus.

Genetic Counselor

Pediatric nurses often communicate with families regarding the medical concerns of their children. This skill could be developed in a career as a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors understand the medical histories of clients through interviews. They might recommend specific tests that would screen for genetic conditions. Genetic counselors then work with clients to help them understand the screening results and potential medical implications. The work environment may be a hospital or laboratory. Genetic counselors typically have a master's degree in genetic counseling and have received certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

School Nurse

Nurses who have specialized in the care of children might enjoy taking their knowledge to a different setting and becoming a school nurse. While average salaries of school nurses are on par with nurses that work in other settings, school nurses enjoy the advantages of regular school hours and breaks. School nurses work to promote student health as a gateway to school success. They might administer medications or treat minor injuries that occur during the school day. School nurses must regularly collaborate with other professionals in the school. To become a school nurse, individuals must be registered nurses and hold a bachelor's degree, and they are recommended to sit for the exam offered by the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. Other state-specific credentials may be required.


Pediatric nurses may wish to pursue additional education to take on the role of a pediatrician. Pediatricians are medical specialists who work with young people from birth through their teen years. They vaccinate children and provide general medical advice regarding injuries or common childhood illnesses. They help parents understand how to care for their children and teach children about their health in a developmentally appropriate way. To become a pediatrician, one must attend medical school. After medical school, a residency program, which is typically three years, in pediatrics is required.

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