Neonatal Nursing Schools: How to Choose

Dec 05, 2019

Students interested in becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner can enroll in Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that offer an emphasis in neonatal nursing.

Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP) specialize in the care of infants under the age of two, both in nurseries and intensive care situations. Master's-level training is available in this field.

10 Neonatal Nursing Schools

These schools have neonatal-specific nursing programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2018-2019)*
Baylor University Waco, TX 4-year, private not-for-profit N/A
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 4-year, private not-for-profit $1,556 per credit
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 4-year, private not-for-profit $2,071 per credit
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, public $15,262
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, private not-for-profit $1,769 per credit
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, public N/A
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit $42,698
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA 4-year, public $17,040
Creighton University Omaha, NE 4-year, private not-for-profit $870 per credit
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans New Orleans, LA 4-year, public N/A

Source: *U.S. News and World Report, school websites

School Selection Criteria

The National Certification Corporation (NCC), which oversees credentialing of neonatal nurse practitioners, requires that candidates hold a master's degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) to be eligible for certification. According to the NLNAC, graduates of accredited programs may have more options for employment and further education. Other considerations for prospective neonatal nurses include the following:

  • Neonatal programs are commonly available for students who have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but certain programs also accept practicing RNs without bachelor's degrees in educational tracks that generally include additional coursework.
  • Nurses who have already graduated from an MSN program qualify for most neonatal programs and may be eligible for reduced-curriculum programs focusing on the core principles of neonatal care; these programs can often be completed in as little as one year.
  • Students should find out whether the program integrates clinical experiences throughout the entire duration of the program or packs all clinical requirements into the final year, and then choose a program based on their preference.
  • Students should find out how many neonatal-specific elective courses and clinical experience opportunities the program includes, in order to ensure that they get adequate training in the field.

Master of Science in Nursing Program Overview

MSN degrees offering a neonatal emphasis combine advanced nursing topics with neonatal nursing practices, Clinical experiences are mandatory, and students will need professional neonatal experience before seeking certification with the NCC.

Aspiring neonatal nurses can prepare for this career by earning a master's degree in nursing and focusing their studies on neonatal care.

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