Training requirements for Neonatal Nurses

Neonatal nurses practice a profession whose commitment is based on trust and empathy. Basically, because it is a career with many satisfactions when it is exercised with love.

This professional must have adequate knowledge and training in neonatology, all with the aim of being able to care for babies from the moment they enter this world until they leave the hospital.

It can be said that it is a demanding, but at the same time rewarding career, since, it is especially dedicated to the care of newborns and who have associated health problems in their first days of existence or even days after.

Therefore, it can be said that they are fully qualified to care for those babies who may present any physical problem, cardiac problems or any other problem that requires care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Pay attention in the following to the training requirements of neonatal nurses and some other information about this noble profession.

How to become a neonatal nurse?

In order for a person to decide to become a neonatal nurse, it will be necessary first of all to ask oneself a question, that is, if he/she really considers that being a neonatal nurse is the most appropriate choice.

To understand this, it will be necessary to have an affinity for babies and to have a calm character.  Keeping in mind that this person should have an interest in caring for babies from the moment they are born until the moment they leave the hospital.

Once this is clear, the following should be done:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (ADN).
  • Register as a nurse (RN)
  • Gain experience in the NICU.
  • Become certified in neonatal care.
  • Begin studies as a NICU nurse.
  • Become certified in neonatal resuscitation.
  • Obtain Neonatal Care Unit (NICU) specific certifications only if you are working in the NICU.

What are the continuing education requirements for a neonatal nurse?

For any job performance in an organization, it is essential for the professional to have continuous academic training, since the more knowledge you have, the more chances you have to climb or advance.

According to statistics made by The Institute of Medicine, it has argued that most nurses should have a bachelor’s degree, since, in this way, they will be perfectly qualified to care for a newborn child.

In order to become accredited as a nurse, it is necessary to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) when completed at a prestigious university.

Next, you will need to earn the credentials that will allow you to advance your career as a neonatal nurse, which involves earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree that can take up to 3 years to achieve.

If you are a licensed vocational nurse or a paramedic, you can opt for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, which can be achieved in no more than 3 years.

If you are a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) you can be part of the online programs, which you go from RN to BSN in 1 year.

And if you have an accredited bachelor’s degree in another field, you can do an accelerated nursing program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Every registered nurse (RN) must mandatorily take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is intended to assess competencies in certain particular areas, such as:

  • Safe and effective care environments.
  • Health promotion and appropriate health care.
  • Physiological integrity/responsiveness as a nurse.

What advancement opportunities are available to neonatal nurses?

The promotion opportunities available to neonatal nurses are closely related to the advances in the way they care for their patients, in this case premature babies. That is why these professionals have an opportunity to expand the role they have been playing within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

To do so, they can specialize in Neonatal Clinical Nursing by pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, in addition to taking the ACCNS exam administered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Places where neonatal nurses can work

This professional specialized in neonatals, who usually works in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can work perfectly well in units belonging to:

  • Clinics.
  • Medical centers.
  • Hospitals.

How much do neonatal nurses earn?

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for licensed registered nurses is $77,600, while the median annual salary for trainees is $120,680.

This pay will depend on a number of factors, such as where you work, your years of experience, your specialty, and the state where you are working.

Currently, there are some states where neonatal nurses are better paid, as follows:

  1. Washington $82,013.
  2. Connecticut $81,210.
  3. Michigan $87,913.
  4. Massachusetts $79,739.
  5. Pennsylvania $77,061.


The training of neonatal nurses should be comprehensive, that is, they should be able to face any moment of crisis and concern, since many things can happen to a newborn baby.

This is why this career should not be taken lightly, since it involves risks in its actions. Keeping constantly updated is simply taking the opportunities to use them at any time with your patients.

Let’s not forget that this profession is not for those who are weak, on the contrary, it requires people willing to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to support those babies who need it when they are sick.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.