Pediatric Nurse Vs Neonatal Nurse Salary

Oct 23, 2019

Neonatal nurses and pediatric nurses may earn different salaries according to work settings. Explore ways to increase earning potential through experience and education in both roles.

Comparing Pediatric Nurse to Neonatal Nurse Salary

According to Payscale in 2019, neonatal nurses earn a higher salary, on average, than pediatric nurses. This could be because neonatal nurses primarily work in hospitals, while pediatric nurses may choose to work in lower paying settings like clinics. Neonatal nurses may also earn a bonus and other perks from a hospital employer while a pediatric nurse may not have overtime options at a clinic, and bonuses may be less significant.

Job Title Education Requirements Average Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Neonatal Nurse Bachelor's Degree $64,620 12% (Registered Nurses)
Pediatric Nurse Bachelor's Degree $59,798 12% (Registered Nurses)

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salaries of a Pediatric Nurse vs. Neonatal Nurse

Salaries for both roles are determined by a nurse's experience, geography and education. Both types of nurses can pursue advanced nurse practitioner, management or administrative roles or switch to business consulting or teaching to increase their earning potential. Neonatal nurses mostly work in hospitals, which usually cap salaries but may compensate with overtime, bonuses and subsidized continuing education. Neonatal nurses may also choose to provide home-care, in which case he/she may earn a lower salary. If a pediatric nurse chooses to work in a clinic, he/she often has a dependable shift schedule and the option to negotiate salary.

Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses work with children of all age groups in a variety of healthcare settings, including private practices, clinics, hospitals, schools and community organizations. Most undergraduate programs do not offer a pediatric specialty, so pediatric nurses must gain experience in pediatrics to increase their earning potential and also to qualify for higher education or certifications. Supply and demand and other economic factors can affect salaries, such as increased competition for the comfort and reliability of physician offices and out-patient center jobs. Salaries can also vary by state, but other factors, such as cost of living, should be taken into account.

Ways a pediatric nurse can increase salary include:

  • Attend orientations, which include classroom and clinical experience
  • Take exam to become Certified Pediatric Nurse
  • Increase expertise by reading professional journals and attending conferences
  • Work in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Conduct community outreach by teaching or performing health screenings

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses work with infants up to 2 years of age in Neonatal Intensive Care Units at hospitals. He/she may be expected to work 12 hour shifts and may earn additional compensation for nights and weekends. Neonatal nurses can advance from a staff nurse role to nurse manager or development care specialist role. Other career options are to join a neonatal transport team, join a extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) team, or become a charge nurse or a stabilization nurse in high risk deliveries.

Ways a neonatal nurse can increase salary include:

  • Take the national neonatal certification test to validate knowledge
  • Work in level III nursery with most critically ill patients
  • Complete an internship in a specialized setting
  • Volunteer in a nursery for experience
  • Become certified in a neonatal specialty

Related Careers

If you are interested in the neonatal nurse role, you may be interested in a prenatal nurse career, which may require a master's degree or post-graduate certificate, and focuses on pregnant mothers and newborns. Those interested in the pediatric nurse position may want to learn more about a pediatric endocrinology nurse who also works with children.

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