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Neonatal Nurse Salary

Neonatal Nurse Salaries By Percentile
Percentile 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $36.07 $47.05 $62.64 $88.23 $90.00
Annual Wage $75,030 $97,860 $130,280 $183,520 $187,199

Neonatal nurses provide specialized nursing care to newborns suffering from serious medical conditions after birth. The median neonatal nurse salary was $64,690 in May 2010 based upon figures collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Median wage refers to the figure where half the neonatal nurses earn less than that amount and half earn more than that amount.) These figures are based upon salaries earned by registered nurses.

Neonatal nurses can anticipate working in a hospital setting. Since medical care for critically-ill newborns is required around the clock, nurses in this field can expect to work some nights, weekends and possibly overtime, on occasion.

Top Paying Industries

Industry Employment % of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean salary
Oil and Gas Extraction 19,880 10.95 $77.43 $161,050
Management 2,120 .11 $77.25 $160,680
Chemical Manufacturing 270 .19 $70.32 $146,270
Scientific Research and Development 500 .08 $70.09 $145,780
Machinery, Equipment, and Supplies merchant Wholesalers 40 .01 $69.49 $144,540

Top Paying States

State Hourly mean Wage Annual mean salary # Employed Employment/1000 jobs
Oklahoma $76.97 $160,090 3,820 2.49
Alaska $76.46 $159,040 740 2.31
Virginia $74.43 $154,810 1,100 0.30
Texas $74.11 $154,160 21,580 2.04
Kansas $66.69 $138,720 180 0.13

Neonatal Nurse Job Description

Neonatal nurses care for newborns suffering from a variety of medical issues. In some cases, a neonatal nurse may be involved in the delivery of a premature infant; in others, care may include administering IV medications or tube feeding. Neonatal nurses will provide education to nervous parents learning how to care for their premature baby, or provide care instructions when it’s time for the infant to go home with their family. This field can be very rewarding as the neonatal nurse sees infants progress, but it may also involve heartbreaking cases where an infant does not survive.

Neonatal nurses are often required to stand on their feet for part of the workday, but also may be put in charge of monitoring several infants for a period of time while recording data. They must be able to compassionately deal with emotional family members while still maintaining their professional demeanor.

Neonatal Nurse Duties

  • Specialized baby care, such as diaper changing, feeding, administering medication
  • Provide education to parents on how to perform daily care for infant
  • IV care (starting an IV, changing IV, etc.)
  • Performing blood transfusions if necessary
  • Drawing blood for testing if necessary
  • Recording data on patient charts
  • Reporting findings to attending physician
  • Assisting in deliveries of premature infants
  • Assisting in surgeries involving premature infants

Alternative Job Titles

A neonatal nurse may also be referred to as a neonatal intensive care nurse.

How To Become A Neonatal Nurse

In order to become a neonatal nurse, candidates should obtain a four-year degree in nursing (BSN) and become certified and licensed as a registered nurse. The nurse can then pursue becoming a staff nurse in a neonatal unit at a hospital. The employer may provide extra training on-the-job in order to provide a neonatal nurse with the additional education necessary to provide care to critically-ill infants.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Neonatal Nurse?

To become a neonatal nurse, plan on attending a 4-year nursing program in order to earn a bachelor of nursing degree and then successfully pass the state examination for registered nurses. A graduate student must then pursue employment in a hospital that has a neonatal intensive care unit.

Education Requirements

The educational path to becoming a neonatal nurse begins with graduating from high school. It then includes attending a university or college nursing program culminating in a bachelor of science degree, which will take approximately 4 years to complete. Some of the coursework will involve learning such things as medical terminology, physiology, and pharmacology; other courses will involve direct hands-on learning as students participate in clinical training at a medical facility. In order to increase one’s chances at being hired in the neonatal unit at a hospital, the candidate should take any classes offered that specialize in neonatal care. Working part-time at a pediatrician’s office or similar may also provide a desirable experience that may increase the candidate’s likelihood of being placed on staff in a neonatal unit.

After graduating from a university or college, someone interested in obtaining a license as a registered nurse will need to pass the state’s board examination for such.


Nurses may obtain specialized certification in the field of pediatrics through an independent professional association.


All registered nurses in the United States are required to hold a nursing license. This is achieved by graduating from an approved program and then successfully passing the state licensing examination.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the field of nursing are expected to increase between 2010 and 2020 by at least 26%. This reflects an increase of at least 711,900 positions.

The reasons for the expected increase include changes in how medical care is rendered, as there is a shift towards more outpatient care. In the case of neonatology, most employment will still be retained in hospital settings where expensive state-of-the-art medical equipment can be maintained that will allow the best care to be rendered to critically-ill infants.

States With Highest Employment Levels

State Hourly mean Wage Annual mean salary # Employed Employment/1000 jobs
Texas $74.11 $154,160 21,580 2.04
Oklahoma $76.97 $160,090 3,820 2.49
Louisiana $63.32 $131,700 2,090 1.12
California $53.95 $112,210 1,550 0.11
Colorado $65.88 $137,030 1,390 0.63


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