11 Best Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Programs in 2023

Discover the best neonatal nurse practitioner programs available in 2023, along with information on the role and salary expectations. Articles Programs

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Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) hold a special place in the dynamic and rewarding nursing field. These advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) specialize in caring for newborn infants, particularly those critically ill or requiring special medical attention. Their role is vital in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), delivery rooms, and other healthcare settings where newborns need specialized care.

If you're interested in pursuing a career as an NNP, read more about the best programs available in 2023.

Best NNP Programs

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most and with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Duke University School of Nursing - Durham, NC

Duke University School of Nursing offers both MSN and Post-Graduate Certificate programs. The MSN program prepares students for NNP certification within 2.5 years, with a total of 43 credits and 616 clinical hours.

2. The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

The Ohio State University offers some of the nation's best online neonatal nurse practitioner programs. They offer a traditional Master of Science Program, BSN-to-DNP Program, Post-Master's Study Program, and Graduate Entry Master of Science Program.

3. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida's College of Nursing offers a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner track as part of its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. The program prepares students to provide advanced nursing care to critically ill and recovering neonates and their families. The curriculum includes both didactic and clinical courses, providing students with a strong foundation in neonatal pathophysiology, pharmacology, and management of the neonate.

4. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University offers MSN and Post-Master's Certificate programs. The MSN program can be completed within three semesters of full-time study, and requires 41 credits in core MSN and NNP-specific courses.

5. University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL

They offer a Post-Graduate Certificate, MSN, and DNP in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. They also have an MSN program for RNs with a non-nursing bachelor's degree.

6. University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing - Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing offers an MSN and a post-graduate program. The MSN program can be completed full-time or part-time, with a curriculum including core, theory, clinical, and electives.

7. University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

The University of Pittsburgh offers BSN-to-DNP, MSN-to-DNP, and Post-Professional Certificate programs. The BSN-to-DNP program requires 93 credits in MSN, DNP, and NNP-specific courses.

8. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers RN-to-MSN, MSN, Post BSN-to-DNP, and Post-Graduate APRN Certificate programs. The RN-to-MSN program requires 35 didactic credits and 10 credits in clinical courses.

9. University of Connecticut - Storrs, CT

The University of Connecticut offers MSN, BSN-to-DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate programs. The MSN program requires 44 credits and can be completed within five semesters if enrolled full-time.

10. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH

The University of Cincinnati offers MSN and Post-Master's Certificate programs. The MSN program requires 44 credits and can be completed within five semesters if enrolled full-time.

11. University of Missouri – Kansas City, MO

The University of Missouri offers a Post-Master's Certificate and an MSN in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

NNP Job Description

An NNP is an APRN specializing in caring for newborn infants, particularly those critically ill or requiring special medical attention. These infants may be premature or full-term, and they may have congenital defects, infections, or other medical conditions that require intensive care.

NNPs work primarily in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) but can also work in other settings such as delivery rooms, emergency rooms, or specialty clinics. They collaborate with neonatologists, pediatricians, and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to newborns.


The responsibilities of a NNP include:

  • Patient Assessment: NNPs conduct thorough physical assessments of newborns, monitor their vital signs, and interpret diagnostic tests.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment: They diagnose health conditions and develop treatment plans, including administering medications, providing respiratory care, or performing medical procedures.
  • Patient Management: NNPs monitor their patients' progress, adjust treatment plans as necessary, and provide emergency care when needed.
  • Family Support: They provide education and emotional support to the families of newborns, helping them understand their baby's condition and care needs.
  • Collaboration and Consultation: NNPs collaborate with a team of healthcare professionals and consult with specialists to ensure that newborns receive the best possible care.

NNP Salary Expectations

The salary of an NNP can vary widely depending on factors such as geographical location, years of experience, type of practice setting, and level of education and certification.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for NPs as of May 2022 was $124,680 or $59.94 hourly.

The top-paying states were:

  • California: $158.130
  • New Jersey: $143,250
  • Massachusetts: $138,700
  • Oregon: $136,250
  • Nevada: $136,230

Unfortunately, the BLS does not specify between different types of NP specialties. However, ZipRecruiter reports that the salary range for NNPs can vary between $94,000 to $148,000, depending on the state of practice.


What kind of education is required to become a NNP?

To become a NNP, one must first obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN). After gaining some experience, they can then pursue a Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a specialization in neonatal care. After graduation, they must pass a national certification exam to become a certified NNP.

Can NNPs prescribe medication?

Yes, NNPs can prescribe medication. However, the specific regulations regarding prescription authority can vary by state.

What are the benefits of becoming a NNP?

Becoming a NNP can be a rewarding career choice. NNPs have the opportunity to impact the lives of newborns and their families significantly. They also have a high degree of autonomy in their practice, and the field offers excellent job prospects and competitive salaries.

What skills are important for an NNP?

NNPs require various skills, including excellent communication and interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, the ability to work under pressure, and a deep understanding of neonatal care. They also need to be compassionate, patient, and able to support families emotionally.

Editorial Team / Admin

Julia Liou has 3 years experience as a RN and specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

10 Articles   46 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nursing. Has 3 years experience.

The University of Florida no longer offers the NNP program, and has not for many years.


4,091 Posts

The University of Pittsburgh no longer offers the MSN NNP option.  I believe the only NNP option is the MSN to DNP option for master's prepared nurses whose degree is with an NNP focus.

Edited by chare

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