Neonatal Nurse: Educational Requirements for a Neonatal Nursing Career
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Clinical Nursing
- Critical Care Nursing
- Direct-Entry Midwifery – LM, CPM
- Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
- Mental Health Nursing
- Neonatal Nursing
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing Administration
- Nursing for Adults and Seniors
- Nursing Science
- Occupational Health Nursing
- Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
- Pediatric Nursing
- Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
- Registered Nurse
Educational Requirements for a Neonatal Nurse
The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) accredits nursing programs at all levels (www.nlnac.org ). This organization is recognized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the U.S. Department of Education (www.ncsbn.org ). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all states require graduation from an NLNAC-accredited program to become a licensed nurse (www.bls.gov ).
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Neonatal nurses first need to complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. BSN programs usually require students to complete their non-nursing requirements in the first two years. Aside from enrolling in general education courses, students must complete math and science requirements that include statistics, microbiology, anatomy and physiology.
The nursing track includes professional experience and lecture-based learning. Courses cover topics in pharmacology, human responses and health care delivery. In addition to nursing techniques and concepts, BSN programs also cover specific areas of nursing, such as administering care to families and infants. Programs include extensive experience in clinical settings under the supervision of licensed nurses and other health professionals.
To become licensed, registered nurses (RNs), graduates of a BSN program must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN), administered by the NCSBN (National Council for State Boards of Nursing). The NCLEX-RN tests individuals in broad subject areas, including health maintenance, infection control and pharmacological therapies. The eligibility requirements to sit for the NCLEX-RN vary by state and prospective test-takers should check with their state nursing board.
Master’s Degree Programs
RNs with a BSN may go on to a master’s program to become neonate nurse practitioners. These programs prepare students for working in delivery rooms and caring for neonates. The curriculums cover common illnesses and treatments in the neonatal area and include clinical rotations in neonatal units. Students are prepared to work in a family practice or intensive care.
Nurses with a master’s degree in nursing may enroll in a certificate program that trains nurse practitioners to work with critically ill neonates. Applicants must have a master’s in nursing, as well as experience working in a critical care unit for neonates.
Graduate of a neonatal nurse practitioner program may seek certification from the National Certification Corporation. Graduates may also take their state’s certification exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May 2015, all registered nurses earned a median salary of $67,490, according to the BLS, and in January 2016, the median salary for neonatal intensive care nurses was $60,763, according to PayScale.com.
Neonatal nurses are trained in working with critically ill newborns, common newborn illnesses and treatments, and assisting in deliveries. Neonatal nurses must complete a BSN program and obtain a nursing license, and many neonatal nurses pursue master’s degrees or graduate certificate programs to become neonatal nurse practitioners. Demand for nurses of all types is expected to be high through 2024, and the median salary for neonatal intensive care nurses was about $61,000 in 2015.
Next: View Schools
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
- EdD in Organizational Leadership – Health Care Administration
- MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
- MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
- M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
- MBA: Health Systems Management
- MS in Health Care Administration
- MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
- BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse – R.N. to BSN)
- BS in Health Care Administration
- BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
- Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
Get Started with Grand Canyon University
5 Brightwood College
- California (2 campuses)
- Ohio (1 campus)
- Texas (1)
Get Started with Brightwood College
6 Ashford University
Minimum eligibility requirements:
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Programs offered by Ashford and listed below may not be related to the topic covered by the above article.