Neonatal Nurse Salary

Neonatal Nurse Salary

As a neonatal nurse, your job is to provide care for newborn infants who require specialized medical attention. This is a highly demanding job, both emotionally and physically, but it can also be highly rewarding. If you are considering a career as a neonatal nurse, one of the factors you may be curious about is the salary you can expect to earn.

In this article, we will take a closer look at neonatal nurse salaries and provide you with some tips on how to maximize your earnings in this field.

What Is a Neonatal Nurse?

A neonatal nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in providing care to newborns, particularly those who are premature, have low birth weights, or are experiencing health complications. These nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, neonatal intensive care units, and specialty clinics. Their responsibilities include monitoring vital signs, administering medications, performing diagnostic tests, and providing emotional support to families.

Education Requirements

To become a neonatal nurse, you must first earn a degree in nursing, typically a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You’ll also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and obtain a registered nursing license. After gaining experience in a general nursing role, you can pursue specialized training in neonatal care through a certification program.

The average neonatal nurse salary in the United States

According to data from ZipRecruiter, the average neonatal nurse salary in the United States is $102,387 per year. This works out to be approximately $48.53 per hour. However, it’s important to note that this is just an average, and some neonatal nurses may earn more or less than this amount.

NICU Nurse Salary by State

StateAnnual Salary Hourly Wage


North Carolina
New Mexico$90,506$43.51

North Dakota

New Jersey

New Hampshire

New York





Rhode Island

Maximizing Your Neonatal Nurse Salary

Furthermore, if you are looking to maximize your earnings as a neonatal nurse, there are several strategies you can employ. Here are some tips to help you increase your salary:

  1. Pursue Higher Education: Consider pursuing a higher degree, such as a BSN or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). This can open up more job opportunities and lead to higher-paying positions.
  2. Gain Experience: Furthermore, gaining experience in neonatal care can also lead to career advancement opportunities and provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide exceptional care to your patients.
  3. Specialize: Consider specializing in a specific area of neonatal care, such as working with premature infants or those with congenital heart defects. Specializing can make you a more valuable employee and increase your salary potential.
  4. Negotiate Your Salary: Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary when starting a new job or seeking a raise. Do your research and be prepared to make a case for why you deserve a higher salary.
  5. Look for High-Paying Job Opportunities: In order to find the best-paying positions, research high-paying job opportunities in your area or in areas where you would be willing to relocate. Consider working for a large hospital or healthcare organization, as these tend to offer higher salaries.

Factors that Affect Neonatal Nurse Salaries

There are several factors that can impact how much money a neonatal nurse earns. Some of these factors include:

  • Geographic location: Salaries for neonatal nurses can vary depending on where they live and work. In general, areas with higher costs of living tend to offer higher salaries.
  • Education and experience: Neonatal nurses with advanced degrees and more experience may be able to command higher salaries.
  • Type of employer: Neonatal nurses who work for hospitals may earn different salaries than those who work for private practices or other types of healthcare facilities.
  • Specialization: Neonatal nurses who specialize in certain areas, such as critical care or transport, may be able to earn more money.

The benefits that a neonatal nurse receives

1. Career Growth and Job Security

The healthcare industry is constantly expanding, and the demand for neonatal nurses is increasing rapidly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of registered nurses, including neonatal nurses, is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Furthermore, with job growth comes job security, making neonatal nursing a highly appealing career choice for individuals seeking stability and opportunities for advancement.

2. Competitive Salary and Benefits

Neonatal nurses are well-compensated for their specialized skills and knowledge. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for registered nurses in May 2020 was $75,330, and the highest 10% earned more than $116,230. Neonatal nurses who work in hospitals may receive additional benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

3. Emotional Fulfillment

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a neonatal nurse is the emotional fulfillment that comes from caring for vulnerable newborns and their families. Neonatal nurses form close bonds with their patients and families, providing support, guidance, and empathy during difficult times. Moreover, the joy of helping sick infants recover and seeing them go home with their families is an experience that many neonatal nurses find deeply fulfilling.

4. Opportunities for Continuing Education

Neonatal nursing requires specialized knowledge and skills, and staying up-to-date on the latest medical practices is crucial. Neonatal nurses have access to a variety of continuing education opportunities, such as conferences, seminars, and online courses. This ongoing education not only enhances their skills but also opens up new career opportunities.

5. Diverse Work Settings

Neonatal nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and home healthcare. They may also choose to specialize in a particular area of neonatal nursing, such as transport nursing or neonatal surgery. Additionally, the flexibility to choose different work settings and specialties makes neonatal nursing a versatile and exciting career choice.


Neonatal nursing can be a rewarding career, both emotionally and financially. While salaries can vary depending on several factors, the average neonatal nurse salary in the United States is approximately $102,387 per year. Additionally, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in neonatal nursing, start by completing a nursing program and gaining experience in the field. With dedication and hard work, you can build a successful career in this rewarding field.



Is it hard to be a neonatal nurse?

Congratulations if you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse! NICU nurses are known to have one of the most challenging jobs in the medical field, as they specialize in providing care for sick or premature infants, as well as those born with birth defects.

What is the lowest salary for a NICU nurse?

NICU Nurses can earn varying salaries depending on the state they work in. In states with higher earnings, they may make between $80,000 to over $100,000. However, in states with lower earnings, their salaries may range from $55,000 to $69,000.

Is NICU nursing in demand?

Neonatal nursing is a highly sought-after subfield that necessitates the expertise and knowledge of skilled RNs to provide care for delicate and sickly newborns.

Do NICU nurses work a lot?

NICU nurses often work long and demanding shifts to provide round-the-clock care for critically ill newborns. Their work requires high levels of dedication and commitment.

Is neonatal nurse a good job?

Yes, being a neonatal nurse is a fulfilling and rewarding career. It involves caring for vulnerable newborns and their families, using advanced skills and knowledge. While it can be challenging, the job offers the satisfaction of making a significant difference in the lives of others. Additionally, the demand for neonatal nurses is growing, making it a stable career choice.

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