How to become a neonatal nurse

Updated March 23, 2017

The job of a neonatal nurse ranges from fairly easy to extremely difficult. Neonatal nurses are divided into three levels, based on the babies under their care. It takes almost as much education to become a neonatal nurse as it does a doctor, and many different certifications must be received before a nurse can work with infants.

Earn a general nursing degree from an accredited program.

Obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. A concentration in child or infant care would be beneficial.

Become certified in at least one of the following: Neonatal Resuscitation Provider; Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing; or Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Many nurses in the neonatal unit have two or more of these certifications.

Gain two to three years of nursing experience.

Apply to hospitals with open neonatal nurse positions.


Instructors, hospitals and doctor’s offices are resources to use in finding certification classes. Working with babies while in school is a good way to build up experience for your future neonatal career.

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