What Is a Neonatal Nurse?

What is a neonatal nurse? A neonatal nurse is a medical professional in charge of the day to day care of hospitalized infants. Neonatal nurses spend their time at work making sure that newborn babies are given a good start in life. This career can be challenging and stressful at times, but it can also be highly rewarding. You just have to make sure you are a good fit for it before you get involved. Here are some answers to some common questions about neonatal nursing so you can determine if it is right for you.

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Do?

Neonatal nurses take on different job duties based on the type of patients they work with. Some nurses work with intensive care patients, and others work with completely healthy newborns. Nevertheless, some of their job duties remain the same no matter what. They may include:

  • Train parents with neonatal children
  • Check vital signs
  • Change diapers
  • Feed neonatal babies
  • Watch over life monitors
  • Administer medications
  • Respond to medical emergencies

Where Does a Neonatal Nurse Work?

Neonatal nurses can work just about anywhere babies are in the medical industry. Most of them find jobs in general hospitals, but there are other alternatives to consider. Possible employers may include:

  • Acute Care Hospitals
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Medical Service Providers
  • Nurse Staffing Agencies
  • Family Medicine Centers
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • General Hospitals

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Make?

There are several factors that go into determining how much money a neonatal nurse will make, including location, experience, and education. If you are trying to predict your neonatal nurse salary in the future, you will need to take all of those factors into consideration. Here are some charts that show what you may be able to make in this profession:

Salary by Years of Experience

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $48,915 per year
  • 1-4 years of experience: $50,309 per year
  • 5-9 years of experience: $59,544 per year
  • 10-19 years of experience: $70,241 per year
  • 20 years of experience or more: $71,661 per year

Salary by Location

  • New York: $60,069 per year
  • Georgia: $54,652 per year
  • Illinois: $54,965 per year
  • Pennsylvania: $61,023 per year
  • California: $68,354 per year
  • Florida: $59,615 per year
  • Texas: $59,030 per year

What Does It Take to Become a Neonatal Nurse?

There are two steps involved with becoming a neonatal nurse: getting an education and verifying that education. This will require you to go through a college degree program and then take a certification exam to authorize your abilities. The lists below show some of the degrees and certifications you can go through to start your career, so try to find one that works for you.


  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Associate Degree Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Medicine


  • Registered Respiratory Therapist
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Critical Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Registered Nurse
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program Provider
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Now that you know what a neonatal nurse is, you can decide if it is something you see yourself as in the future. If it is, you should only be a few years away from the career of your dreams.