Neonatal Nurse Salary, Career Info and Job Outlook

What You Need to Know if You Are Considering a Career as a Neonatal Nurse

If you are considering being a neonatal nurse, congratulations, you have chosen a very noble and respectable profession. Neonatal nurses represent a segment of the overall nursing profession. These highly specialized nurses are trained to work with newborn babies who come into this world with special needs. Sometimes newborns are premature, have birth defects, or require surgery right away. Technically speaking, the neonatal period of infancy is defined as the first month, but oftentimes when babies are born with issues; it can take many months before they are healthy enough to leave the hospital.

All of these unique situations require round the clock care for the infant patient and neonatal nurses are the professionals who provide that care. Because of their highly specialized focus, neonatal nurses tend to enjoy better than average salaries, but they work extremely hard and always pull long hours including a lot of overnight coverage.

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal Nurse Salary


In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the official salary information for the nursing profession. While these numbers represent the entire nursing profession, the salaries of neonatal nurses most likely resemble these closely. For the entire nursing profession, the lowest average salary came in at $44,190, whereas the highest average salary was over $95,000. Your salary as a neonatal nurse will largely depend on your academic credentials and the region in which you work. The type of medical institution you work in will also determine how high your salary is as a neonatal nurse.

There is more salary information available for neonatal nurse practitioners. NNPs who don’t have a lot of experience under their belt can still earn an average salary of around $80,000. On the other hand, NNPs who have a lot of experience in the field can bring home anywhere between $90,000 and $100,000. As you can see the neonatal nursing career can provide a stable salary for you, with continuous opportunities for growth and advancement.

Keep in mind that nursing school is expensive, and after you graduate you will be left with a lot of debt from student loans that you are required to pay back. You may start out making a decent neonatal nurse salary, but you should plan on paying off your student loan debt for a few years after you graduate. This expense can cut heavily into your take home pay during your initial years in the nursing profession.

In order to secure a good starting neonatal nurse salary, you need to strive to get into a top nursing program at an accredited 4-year institution. Getting in to a good nursing school is not enough to ensure a good salary. You must work hard and perform well in school before you can get a job in a highly respected medical institution as a neonatal nurse. If you really want to increase your salary as a neonatal nurse, you should consider going for an advanced degree after you have sent some time gaining actual hands-on experience working in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Here is the short video introducing about Neonatal Nurse and Neonatal Nurse Salary, highly recommended to watch.

Neonatal Nurse Career


Becoming a neonatal nurse is a viable option for people interested in switching careers too. Let’s say you have a degree in a field other than nursing and have even spent a few years working in a completely different industry. You can still apply for a nursing program is you decide to go back to school, and enroll in an accelerated program. Since you will already have many core classes from your initial degree, these credits are typically easy to transfer, thus resulting in an accelerated path toward your nursing degree.

There are numerous career paths for a trained neonatal nurse, which means that you will enjoy job security and plenty of opportunity for advancement within the profession. Most neonatal nurses coming out of college will start out at an entry level position such as staff nurse, but this does not mean that there is any less responsibility involved. As a staff nurse, you will still care for critically ill infants who require a lot of specialized care.

After spending time working as a staff nurse, you will definitely want to think about expanding into a more focused career path within the neonatal nursing profession, especially if you want to continue to increase your neonatal nurse salary.  Even after you graduate from nursing school and are actively working as a neonatal nurse, there are tests and certifications to further validate you knowledge and skill level. By doing well on these tests and certifications, you can prove to potential employers that you are an asset to their staff and they will most likely reward you with a handsome salary as a way to show you that your knowledge is valued.

While you can earn a really great salary as a neonatal nurse in the field, you can also earn a comfortable salary if you continue your education and earn your PhD. As a neonatal nurse with an advanced degree, you will most likely to hang up your scrubs and enter the world of research and academia. This career path has a lot of benefits like job security and stability, but you might find that you miss the action of working in a fast-paced neonatal intensive care unit.

Neonatal Nurse Salary

Neonatal Nurse Salary Report

No matter which path you choose to take within the neonatal nursing profession, there is no arguing the fact this is one of the most rewarding careers within the nursing profession. Families of the infants you care for will appreciate you and the life-saving work you do on a daily basis. This can be an amazing feeling if you love what you do and have a serious passion for the neonatal nursing profession. You should not pursue neonatal nursing for the salary alone, though. Neonatal nurses must be dedicated to their careers in order to succeed since it is an extremely demanding profession. In order to earn the highest tier salary available for neonatal nurses, you have to be prepared to work hard in school and once you enter the industry as a professional neonatal nurse.

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