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Neonatal Nursing Major: Information and Requirements

Individuals interested in pursuing a neonatal nursing education must do so at the master's degree level. Neonatal nursing master's programs instruct nurses to develop skills for working with high-risk, recurrently ill or critically ill babies.

Essential Information

In neonatal programs, students might study certain business topics, including economics and finance, as they relate to the health care industry. Graduates of these programs might find work as nurse practitioners. Neonatal nursing master's degree programs are only open to those who have a bachelor's degree and are registered nurses with one to two years of experience. Submission of GRE scores is also usually required.


Neonatal Nursing

Neonatal nursing students must typically complete 600 hours of hands-on training, which usually consists of four clinical practica. Over the course of two years, students learn researching strategies and study such course topics as:

  • Heredity factors and DNA
  • Assessing the health of newborns
  • Fetal and infant growth and development
  • Medications and drug therapies for infants
  • Detection and treatment of infant diseases

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As of 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that nurse practitioners earned a median wage of $98,190. Furthermore, from 2014-2024, employment of nurse practitioners was expected to climb 31%.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates of a neonatal nursing master's degree program may decide to pursue a Ph.D. in Nursing. However, this type of degree is more often pursued by nurses interested in scientific research or college-level teaching. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are also available and are more clinically oriented.

Neonatal nurses and nurse practitioners can seek professional certifications through the National Certification Corporation. In order to be able to sit for the exam, individuals must be licensed registered nurses and meet education or experience requirements, depending on the desired credential. Designations are valid for three years; in order to maintain certification, neonatal nurses can either retest or participate in continuing education.

Neonatal nursing is not available as a major in an undergraduate program, but you can find this specialty at the master's level. If you're interested in neonatal nursing, you must first become a registered nurse and gain some experience in the field.

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