How Much Does It Cost To Become A Neonatal Nurse

Last Updated on April 18, 2022

The cost of the neonatal nursing program ranges from $0 to $9,000. But you want to become a neonatal nurse, so you need to know exactly how much it will cost to join the profession. You will find out everything you need to know about how much it really costs below.

Want to learn about becoming a Neonatal Nurse? Neonatal Nurse  is one of the most dedicated and hard working nurses in the hospital. They are responsible for the care of newborns in neonatal units, as well as providing support to families. When you become a Neonatal Nurse, you will work hard, but you will also save lives. So how much does it cost to become a Neonatal Nurse?

The cost of becoming a neonatal nurse will vary depending on the program you decide to attend. Below, we’ll outline the different factors that affect your program costs as well as provide articles and tips that can help you save money on your education.

Find all the practical and valuable information about how much money does a neonatal nurse make, neonatal nurse colleges. 

You will also find up to date, recent information on neonatal nurse job outlook & how much does a neonatal nurse make on infolearners.

Happy reading.

You have decided to become a neonatal nurse and you have already started your journey in the one of the nation’s top rated Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). You are about to start on this path of excellence and compassion, but do not quite know how much it will cost you.  

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Neonatal nurses help provide various levels of care and support to newborn babies and their families. If you are someone who works well under pressure and are interested in working with newborns and their families, you may find being a neonatal nurse to be a very rewarding career. If you are interested in a career as a neonatal nurse, it is important to know the correct steps to begin your career. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about becoming a neonatal nurse, including job requirements, average salary and frequently asked questions about being a neonatal nurse.

What is it exactly that a Neonatal Nurse does? What type of training and education is required to become one? That depends on the country where you plan to work. In the United States, becoming a Neonatal Nurse can cost $70,000 to $90,000 depending on the type of program you choose.

The United States population is growing older. As the nation’s senior population continues to increase, so does the demand for nurses to take care of these individuals.

While no one can predict what will happen in the future, it’s safe to assume that aging is a trend that will continue to hold true. That makes now an ideal time to enroll in nursing programs.

Even though the prospects look bright for nursing careers, there are other important aspects to consider before dedicating the next few years of your life to becoming a nurse. One of the most critical questions on the minds of most would-be nursing students is this: How much does nursing school cost?

If you are thinking of becoming a Neonatal Nurse, you’re going to have a lot of questions. One of the most important things to ask yourself is “how much will it cost?” Once you know how much it costs, you can begin planning how to pay for your education.

What Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Do?

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Do | All Nursing Schools

NNPs provide quality care for patients who require constant attention, such as sick and premature newborn infants in neonatal intensive care units, delivery rooms, emergency rooms, and specialty clinics. These NPs work under the direction of neonatologists or neonatal fellows but assume complete responsibility for their patients and execute necessary decisions to diagnose, assess, and initiate various medical procedures.

NNPs carry out many responsibilities, including providing support and education for patients’ families; monitoring ventilators, incubators, and other specialized equipment; and making sure patients are fed properly and receive appropriate care.

Where Do Neonatal Nurse Practitioners Work?

NNPs typically work in neonatal intensive care units in private and public hospitals. Most hospitals maintain four levels of care, separating infants based on their healthcare needs. Nurses focusing on level I, in newborn nursery care, provide basic healthcare for healthy, full-term infants. The need for these nurses is limited in most settings.

NNPs practicing at level II work in intermediate care nursery settings with sick and premature infants who require constant attention and care. Those practicing at level III in neonatal intensive care nurseries work with the most severely ill patients experiencing critical health issues that require intensive care. Level IV settings, such as regional neonatal intensive care units, provide care for newborn infants dealing with extreme, critical medical conditions.

The most in-depth, complete and easy to understand guide to explain the various neonatal nurse training programs that are available today. It provides the details of what it will take in a step by step approach to becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, giving you all the available options that are available.

Becoming a neonatal nurse isn’t a simple undertaking, but it’s also not as expensive as you may think. We looked at data from the State Board of Nursing in Wisconsin to determine how much the top 2-year schools cost in comparison with four year universities.

program Cost

Neonatal nurse practitioner tuition can fluctuate based on location, school, and degree type. Generally, NNP tuition ranges from $700 to $1,000 and over per credit. Doctoral level programs tend to be more expensive than master’s degree programs, in part because more credits are required overall. Tuition costs usually do not include any extras, such as program fees, lab fees, course materials, and other associated expenses.

Nurses interested in infant care and looking to enter advanced practice have the option of entering a graduate-level program to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). A career as a neonatal nurse practitioner is highly rewarding, with opportunities to provide life-saving care to newborn infants who are premature, severely ill, or who suffer from a variety of health conditions. With post-baccalaureate and doctoral programs available, nurses have a wealth of options regarding how they become an NNP.

Northwestern states that the Neonatal Nurse program costs $86,878 for out of state students and $66,526 for in-state students. However, the Minnesota School of Business states that Neonatal Nurse training is $68,580 for out of state students and $88,000 for in-state students. Other schools charge an average of $33,000 to learn nursing in general (not specializing in neonatal care).

If you go through a hospital school program, the cost of the tuition to become a Neonatal Nurse ranges from $27,360 to $44,746. That cost includes books and housing. If you would like to become an online Neonatal Nurse, there are actually many different places you can do so. Prices vary widely depending on what program you’re looking at.

Steps to Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Professionals aiming to practice as NNPs can review the following steps — including educational, licensing, and certification information — to accomplish their career goals.

cost of NP neonatal program-NCLEX pass rate. A neonatal nurse is a specially trained nurses who has spent plenty of time in the NICU and provides care for newborn children. These nurses are instrumental for successful and crucial treatment of premature babies who come to the hospital pre-term. The training for these nurses take quite a bit of time and after graduation they must pass a comprehensive test before becoming licensed.

    Before professionals can work as NNPs, they must earn an associate or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, which fulfills the educational requirement to begin pursuing RN licensure. Courses in BSN programs typically include community health nursing, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, lifespan development, and principles of ethics. Each aspiring professional must earn an undergraduate degree to advance into a master’s program.
    Before professionals can pursue master’s degrees in nursing and complete certification to practice as NNPs, they must obtain RN licensure. RN licensing requirements include holding a BSN or an associate’s degree in nursing and passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
    Once professionals obtain their RN licenses, they can take part in professional experiences in neonatal acute care clinical settings. Generally, professionals need to complete at least two years of clinical experience working in neonatal intensive care units or comparable clinical settings to enroll in NNP graduate programs. Professionals in the field can also consider the following optional certifications:  • Inpatient obstetric nursing
    • Maternal newborn nursing
    • Low-risk neonatal intensive care nursing
      • Neonatal intensive care nursing
    To qualify for certification programs in the NNP specialty, individuals must gain admission to an accredited MSN or DNP that features a specialty in neonatal nursing. While MSN and DNP programs qualify professionals for neonatal nursing certifications, professionals who hold doctoral-level education can explore more career opportunities with higher salaries.
    NNP advanced degree programs typically include courses in evidence-based practice, advanced practice nursing in neonatal patients, advanced physiology across the lifespan, physical assessment and diagnostic reasoning, population health in a global survey, and neonatal assessment. In addition to the coursework requirements, enrollees must also satisfy 550-1,000 NNP clinical hours. A degree-seeker with a bachelor’s degree usually takes two years of full-time enrollment to earn a master’s degree and 3-4 years to complete a DNP.
    The National Certification Corporation features a three-year NNP certification. Candidates for certification must meet specific prerequisites for the program, including holding RN licensure and passing a certification exam within eight years of graduating from a nursing program. Professionals must meet state-specific requirements for NP licensure, including passing an examination and providing proof of qualifying education. NCC certifications include women’s health care nurse practitioner and NNP.
    In addition to national certification, professionals must obtain NP state licensure. States maintain distinct requirements for professionals to meet to obtain licensure, including educational, exam, and experience components.
    Once professionals satisfy the eligibility requirements for licensure and obtain official licensure and certification as NNPs, they can search for employment opportunities. Depending on their education level, professionals can explore different career options with varying salary ranges.

Best Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs

Registered nurses with a passion for caring for newborn infants often choose to further their education with a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) program. These advanced-practice RNs must go through extensive specialty training in order to take care of this vulnerable patient population. Selecting the right NNP degree program will be one of the most important decisions in a nurse’s life. That’s why we’ve ranked the top hybrid/online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner programs in the country. Check out our rankings below to select the perfect program and take the first step toward your professional goals.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, visit our Methodology Page ( Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

The Ohio State University offers several distance-learning pathways for those looking to become Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. Students can choose from an MSN degree or a BSN to DNP in the specialty. While coursework is delivered online, students are required to attend an orientation and three on-campus seminars in Columbus. Clinical requirements are arranged in the student’s local community. The curriculum includes courses such as Advanced Newborn/Infant Pharmacology and Advanced Health Assessment of the Neonate, among others.DNP Programs

  • BSN to DNP: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner  Online/Hybrid

MSN Programs

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner  Online/Hybrid
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • A few grad programs offered online

#2Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Peoria, IL

The MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program at Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is designed to provide students with an in-depth focus on the health management of acute and critically ill neonates and their families. Studies include cultural diversity, health policy, ethics, and leadership. Although the campus is located in Peoria, Illinois – the program is designed for online delivery to meet the needs of busy professional nurses.MSN Programs

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)  Online/Hybrid
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Each student is assigned an academic advisor
  • Plans of study reviewed each semester and revised as needed

#3The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Galveston, TX

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston offers an MSN-level Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program to RNs with Level III nursery experience. The program consists of 12 courses taken over 7 semesters in an online format, with some on-campus intensives. Students enrolled in the program get the benefits of interactive peer groups, experienced faculty, high-tech simulation labs, real-world applications, and more.MSN Programs

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner  Online/Hybrid
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • Some grad programs offered online

#4Creighton University

Omaha, NE

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program consists of mostly online classes and is the first nursing college in Nebraska to offer this advanced degree. Although the program is primarily online, students will be required to have some visits to campus. The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner track emphasizes care for newborns in level III neonatal intensive care units. Graduates who complete the Neonatal NP program at Creighton University meet eligibility for national certification.DNP Programs

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner  Online/Hybrid
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Program start dates in August, January, and May

#5University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT

The University of Connecticut (UConn) offers a 44-credit online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner master’s program pathway. A minimum of 2 years of full-time RN-level practice in a NICU is required in order to enroll in the program. UConn’s full-time plan of study is completed in 5 semesters, while the part-time option is completed in 6-7 semesters. Some on-campus visits are required to complete the program, including one orientation and two simulation experiences.MSN Programs

  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Master’s Program  Online/Hybrid
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • A few grad programs offered online
Average NICU Nurse Salary - Incredible Health

Choosing a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program

There are many neonatal nurse practitioner programs available, but to pick the right one, students are encouraged to consider the following:


Proper accreditation ensures that a program is held to rigorous academic standards. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are the two main accrediting bodies for neonatal nurse practitioner programs. There may also be local and regional accreditations available as well.

Program Cost

Neonatal nurse practitioner tuition can fluctuate based on location, school, and degree type. Generally, NNP tuition ranges from $700 to $1,000 and over per credit. Doctoral level programs tend to be more expensive than master’s degree programs, in part because more credits are required overall. Tuition costs usually do not include any extras, such as program fees, lab fees, course materials, and other associated expenses.

Program Length

For a master’s-level NNP education, roughly 40 credit hours are needed to graduate, with part-time and full-time study options typically available. Students can usually finish the degree in 2-3 years. For the doctoral pathway, roughly 80 total credit hours are needed. This type of neonatal nurse practitioner program typically takes 3-4 years for students to complete.

Internship/Externship Opportunities

Due to the hands-on clinical rotation hours required of MSN and DNP-level neonatal nurse practitioner programs, many schools have relationships with nearby hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities. Students are encouraged to inquire with their school of choice about the internship options available to them, or if there are opportunities for them to find their own clinical preceptor sites.

Online/Campus Options

Online options have gained major traction in the last few years, which has resulted in many schools offering both online and campus-based NNP programs. Some schools even offer a “hybrid” program, allowing students to take many courses online but also offering classroom-based lectures and labs.

Search Nursing Programs

Search through nursing programs by selecting the options below. 1. Nursing Background I Am Not a NurseI Am a CNA or Medical AssistantI Am a ParamedicI Am an LPN / LVNI Have an ADN, ASN, or RN DiplomaI Have a BSNI Have an MSN  2. Program of Interest  3. Program Specialty 

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Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Degree Levels Offered

Nurses can choose from two different educational pathways in order to become a neonatal nurse practitioner: the Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Both programs give students a solid foundation in advanced practice neonatal nursing, but the DNP program goes beyond the master’s level to prepare students for NNP leadership.

MSN Programs

Students enrolled in a neonatal nurse practitioner MSN program can plan on taking a mix of advanced core nursing courses as well as specialty NNP courses. Most offer classes such as Advanced Neonatal Nursing Theory, Advanced Neonatal Embryology/Physiology, and Application of Genetics to Health Care. Clinical hours are also required as part of the program. The University of California – San Francisco is an example of a school that offers an MSN-level neonatal nurse practitioner program.

RN to MSN Programs

An additional option for becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is an RN to MSN bridge program that is designed for registered nurses with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. RN to MSN programs build on the experience of working nurses and provide advanced level nursing courses that prepare students for leadership roles as nurse practitioners. As an example of these programs, The College of New Jersey offers an RN to MSN program with a specialty in neonatal nursing that is designed for nurses with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject. Programs that specialize in neonatal nursing include coursework in comprehensive neonatal assessment, general management of the sick neonate, neonatal disease progression as well as clinical practice hours in each level of neonatal intensive care unit.

DNP Programs

Doctoral neonatal nurse practitioner programs offer more in-depth courses in the specialty and place a strong emphasis on leadership. Students will take classes such as Diagnosis and Management, Health Systems and Health Policy, and Translating Evidence to Practice. A minimum number of clinical hours are also required for the DNP. The University of Maryland, for example, offers a DNP-level neonatal nurse practitioner program.

RN to DNP Programs

Another route to becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner for nurses who have completed their bachelor’s degree in nursing is a BSN to DNP program that allows the nurse to earn his or her master’s degree and doctoral degree in nursing simultaneously. These specialized bridge programs often allow students to complete these two degrees in less time than two separate programs. Some programs, such as the one at the University of Maryland, offer concentrations in neonatal nursing by offering courses in neonatal pathophysiology and assessment, as well as in-depth neonatal diagnoses and management.

What Does a Neonatal Nurse Do? | Salary & Programs

Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs

Online programs have grown in popularity due in great part to their convenience, allowing busy students to take courses from the comfort of their own homes. Students should keep in mind, however, that some online programs may require minimal on-campus visits, and that clinical rotations must be completed in person.

Advantages of an Online Program

The convenience and flexibility of online NNP programs are some of the biggest advantages for students. For those who have chaotic schedules and numerous commitments, being able to move through the coursework when and where they choose is a huge draw. For those in rural areas, online NNP programs provide the option of earning a post-baccalaureate degree without having to commute or relocate. Online students also gain the advantage of eliminating the bulk of transportation costs.

Program Accreditation

Much like their campus-based counterparts, online programs should hold proper accreditations. ACEN and CCNE accredited online programs signify a reputable level of quality, and can provide peace of mind to those who may be new to distance-learning options.

Costs and Length

While online MSN and DNP neonatal nurse practitioner programs require the same number of credits as classroom-based programs, these distance-based options tend to be more flexible, making program length dependent on the student’s needs. Tuition costs are also similar to campus programs, although online students don’t have to worry about commuting costs such as gas and parking fees. The University of Connecticut, for example, charges tuition of $825 per credit, or $2,475 for a 3-credit course, for its online MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program.

What Are the Admissions and Certification Requirements?

Admissions requirements for most NNP programs include:

  • BSN or higher from an accredited university
  • Current, unencumbered RN license
  • GPA of at 3.0 or above
  • Personal goal statement
  • Current resume
  • Copies of all undergraduate transcripts
  • Two or more years of professional RN experience in a neonatal intensive care unit may be required

NNP certification is via examination through the National Certification Corporation. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must hold a current, U.S. RN license
  • Successful completion of an accredited graduate neonatal nurse practitioner program and provide verification of graduation and transcripts
  • Must take the exam within 8 years of graduating from an NNP program

List of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Programs

There are a many neonatal nurse practitioner programs available, including the following schools listed below.

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