Nurses interested in infant care and looking to enter advanced practice have the option of entering a graduate-level program to become a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP). A career as a neonatal nurse practitioner is highly rewarding, with opportunities to provide life-saving care to newborn infants who are premature, severely ill, or who suffer from a variety of health conditions. With post-baccalaureate and doctoral programs available, nurses have a wealth of options regarding how they become an NNP.

2021 - Best Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs

Registered nurses with a passion for caring for newborn infants often choose to further their education with a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) program. These advanced-practice RNs must go through extensive specialty training in order to take care of this vulnerable patient population. Selecting the right NNP degree program will be one of the most important decisions in a nurse's life. That's why we've ranked the top hybrid/online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner programs in the country. Check out our rankings below to select the perfect program today.

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The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

The Ohio State University offers several online pathways for those looking to become Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. Students can choose from an MSN degree or a BSN to DNP in the specialty. While coursework is delivered online, students are required to attend an orientation and three on-campus seminars in Columbus. The curriculum includes courses such as Advanced Newborn/Infant Pharmacology and Advanced Health Assessment of the Neonate, among others.

DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • Clinical rotations arranged in the student's local area
Regis University

Denver, CO

Denver's Regis University offers a popular MSN-level Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program that prepares students to work in this highly specialized area. This 100% online program gives students the clinical skills to treat and manage the care of high-risk newborn babies. The curriculum includes coursework in theory, healthcare policy, ethics, leadership, and more. Grads can seamlessly progress to the Regis DNP program.

MSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Synchronized online courses
  • 44 credit hours required
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing

Peoria, IL

The MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program at Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is designed to provide students with an in-depth focus on the health management of acute and critically ill neonates and their families. Studies include cultural diversity, health policy, ethics, and leadership. Although the campus is located in Peoria, Illinois - the program is designed for online delivery to meet the needs of busy professional nurses.

MSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Each student is assigned an academic advisor
  • Plans of study reviewed/revised each semester
Creighton University

Omaha, NE

Located in Omaha, Creighton University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program consists of mostly online classes and is the first nursing college in Nebraska to offer this advanced degree. Although the program is primarily online, there are some limited on-campus requirements. The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner track emphasizes care for newborns in level III neonatal intensive care units.

DNP Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Private Non-Profit 4-Year
  • Program start dates in August, January, and May
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Galveston, TX

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston offers an MSN-level Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program to RNs with Level III nursery experience. The program consists of 12 courses taken over 7 semesters in an online format, with some on-campus intensives. Students enrolled in the program get the benefits of interactive peer groups, experienced faculty, high-tech simulation labs, real-world applications, and more.

MSN Programs
Tuition & Fees:
  • $$$$$
Quick Facts:
  • School has a Hospital Affiliation
  • Public 4-Year
  • Grads have a pass rate of above 90% on the certification exam

Choosing a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program

There are many neonatal nurse practitioner programs available, but to pick the right one, students are encouraged to consider the following:


Proper accreditation ensures that a program is held to rigorous academic standards. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are the two main accrediting bodies for neonatal nurse practitioner programs. There may also be local and regional accreditations available as well.

Program Cost

Neonatal nurse practitioner tuition can fluctuate based on location, school, and degree type. Generally, NNP tuition ranges from $700 to $1,000 and over per credit. Doctoral level programs tend to be more expensive than master's degree programs, in part because more credits are required overall. Tuition costs usually do not include any extras, such as program fees, lab fees, course materials, and other associated expenses.

Program Length

For a master's-level NNP education, roughly 40 credit hours are needed to graduate, with part-time and full-time study options typically available. Students can usually finish the degree in 2-3 years. For the doctoral pathway, roughly 80 total credit hours are needed. This type of neonatal nurse practitioner program typically takes 3-4 years for students to complete.

Internship/Externship Opportunities

Due to the hands-on clinical rotation hours required of MSN and DNP-level neonatal nurse practitioner programs, many schools have relationships with nearby hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities. Students are encouraged to inquire with their school of choice about the internship options available to them, or if there are opportunities for them to find their own clinical preceptor sites.

Online/Campus Options

Online options have gained major traction in the last few years, which has resulted in many schools offering both online and campus-based NNP programs. Some schools even offer a "hybrid" program, allowing students to take many courses online but also offering classroom-based lectures and labs.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Degree Levels Offered

Nurses can choose from two different educational pathways in order to become a neonatal nurse practitioner: the Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Both programs give students a solid foundation in advanced practice neonatal nursing, but the DNP program goes beyond the master's level to prepare students for NNP leadership.

MSN Programs

Students enrolled in a neonatal nurse practitioner MSN program can plan on taking a mix of advanced core nursing courses as well as specialty NNP courses. Most offer classes such as Advanced Neonatal Nursing Theory, Advanced Neonatal Embryology/Physiology, and Application of Genetics to Health Care. Clinical hours are also required as part of the program. The University of California – San Francisco is an example of a school that offers an MSN-level neonatal nurse practitioner program.

RN to MSN Programs

An additional option for becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner is an RN to MSN bridge program that is designed for registered nurses with an Associate's Degree in Nursing or a non-nursing bachelor's degree. RN to MSN programs build on the experience of working nurses and provide advanced level nursing courses that prepare students for leadership roles as nurse practitioners. As an example of these programs, The College of New Jersey offers an RN to MSN program with a specialty in neonatal nursing that is designed for nurses with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing subject. Programs that specialize in neonatal nursing include coursework in comprehensive neonatal assessment, general management of the sick neonate, neonatal disease progression as well as clinical practice hours in each level of neonatal intensive care unit.

DNP Programs

Doctoral neonatal nurse practitioner programs offer more in-depth courses in the specialty and place a strong emphasis on leadership. Students will take classes such as Diagnosis and Management, Health Systems and Health Policy, and Translating Evidence to Practice. A minimum number of clinical hours are also required for the DNP. The University of Maryland, for example, offers a DNP-level neonatal nurse practitioner program.

RN to DNP Programs

Another route to becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner for nurses who have completed their bachelor's degree in nursing is a BSN to DNP program that allows the nurse to earn his or her master's degree and doctoral degree in nursing simultaneously. These specialized bridge programs often allow students to complete these two degrees in less time than two separate programs. Some programs, such as the one at the University of Maryland, offer concentrations in neonatal nursing by offering courses in neonatal pathophysiology and assessment, as well as in-depth neonatal diagnoses and management.

Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs

Online programs have grown in popularity due in great part to their convenience, allowing busy students to take courses from the comfort of their own homes. Students should keep in mind, however, that some online programs may require minimal on-campus visits, and that clinical rotations must be completed in person.

Advantages of an Online Program

The convenience and flexibility of online NNP programs are some of the biggest advantages for students. For those who have chaotic schedules and numerous commitments, being able to move through the coursework when and where they choose is a huge draw. For those in rural areas, online NNP programs provide the option of earning a post-baccalaureate degree without having to commute or relocate. Online students also gain the advantage of eliminating the bulk of transportation costs.

Program Accreditation

Much like their campus-based counterparts, online programs should hold proper accreditations. ACEN and CCNE accredited online programs signify a reputable level of quality, and can provide peace of mind to those who may be new to distance-learning options.

Costs and Length

While online MSN and DNP neonatal nurse practitioner programs require the same number of credits as classroom-based programs, these distance-based options tend to be more flexible, making program length dependent on the student's needs. Tuition costs are also similar to campus programs, although online students don't have to worry about commuting costs such as gas and parking fees. The University of Connecticut, for example, charges tuition of $925 per credit, or $2,775 for a 3-credit course, for its online MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program.

What Are the Admissions and Certification Requirements?

Admissions requirements for most NNP programs include:

  • BSN or higher from an accredited university
  • Current, unencumbered RN license
  • GPA of at 3.0 or above
  • Personal goal statement
  • Current resume
  • Copies of all undergraduate transcripts
  • Two or more years of professional RN experience in a neonatal intensive care unit may be required

NNP certification is via examination through the National Certification Corporation. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must hold a current, U.S. RN license
  • Successful completion of an accredited graduate neonatal nurse practitioner program and provide verification of graduation and transcripts
  • Must take the exam within 8 years of graduating from an NNP program

List of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Programs

There are a many neonatal nurse practitioner programs available, including the following schools listed below.

Select Your State:


SchoolContact Information
University of Alabama at Birmingham
MSN Programs
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294
(205) 975-7529
University of South Alabama
MSN Programs
5721 USA Dr N
Mobile, AL 36688
(251) 445-9400


SchoolContact Information
University of California San Francisco
MSN Programs
UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435


SchoolContact Information
Regis University
3333 Regis Boulevard
Denver, CO 80221
(800) 388-2366


SchoolContact Information
University of Connecticut
231 Glenbrook Rd
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-0876


SchoolContact Information
University of Delaware
25 North College
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-1253


SchoolContact Information
Emory University
MSN Programs
1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980


SchoolContact Information
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
511 NE Greenleaf Street
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 655-2201
University of Illinois Chicago - Rockford
DNP Programs
1601 Parkview Ave
Rockford, IL 61107
(815) 395-0600


SchoolContact Information
University of Indianapolis
MSN Programs
1400 East Hanna Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 788-3368


SchoolContact Information
University Of Louisville
DNP Programs
555 South Floyd Street Suite 3019
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 852-5825


SchoolContact Information
Louisiana State University New Orleans
1900 Gravier Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 568-4200


SchoolContact Information
University of Maryland
655 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-6109


SchoolContact Information
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000


SchoolContact Information
Wayne State University
5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-4082


SchoolContact Information
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
MSN Programs
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 984-1000


SchoolContact Information
University Of Missouri Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000


SchoolContact Information
Creighton University
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
(402) 280-2700

New Jersey

SchoolContact Information
The College of New Jersey
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628
(609) 771-2591

New York

SchoolContact Information
Stony Brook University
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 689-8333

North Carolina

SchoolContact Information
Duke University
MSN Programs
307 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-3786
East Carolina University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
(252) 328-6131


SchoolContact Information
Case Western Reserve University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000
The Ohio State University
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-4041
University of Cincinnati
2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(151) 355-8550 x0
Wright State University
MSN Programs
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton, OH 45431
(937) 775-3333


SchoolContact Information
Thomas Jefferson University
111 S 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 503-8890
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
418 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281
University of Pittsburgh
DNP Programs
3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586


SchoolContact Information
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
DNP Programs
910 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-5500


SchoolContact Information
Baylor University
1301 S University Parks Dr
Waco, TX 76798
(800) 229-5678
The University of Texas at Arlington
411 S. Nedderman Drive
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-2776
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
MSN Programs
301 University Blvd
Galveston, TX 77555
(409) 772-1011


SchoolContact Information
University of Utah
10 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 581-3414


SchoolContact Information
Old Dominion University
MSN Programs
5115 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-3000
University of Virginia
DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3388
(434) 924-0141

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