California Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Careers

Neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) that deliver treatment and care to high-risk infants and their families. They deliver treatment in neonatal intensive care units, health departments, home health services, managed care organizations, and nurse-managed clinics. NNPs work in collaboration with physicians and they are often involved in education, research, and consultation.

Neonatal nurse practitioners work in all areas throughout the U.S., but the largest populations can be found in California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Education and Training Programs

To become a neonatal nurse practitioner, you must earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited school or program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to obtain registered nurse (RN) license. While practicing as an RN, aspiring NNPs usually enroll in an accredited advanced degree program such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a neonatal nurse practitioner concentration or specialization.

You must also obtain certification as a nurse practitioner (NP) or specialist from a national organization and certification as a neonatal nurse practitioner from the National Certification Corporation (NCC) or other recognized organization.

An accredited master’s program for aspiring NNPs will prepare students to sit for both the nurse practitioner and neonatal nurse practitioner certification exams.

A neonatal nurse practitioner training program may include course titles such as:

    •    Advanced Neonatal Nursing Practicum I & II
    •    Advanced Neonatal Nursing: Research and Theory I, II & III
    •    Advanced Practice Nursing in Neonatal Acute Care
    •    Clinical Pharmacology for Advanced Neonatal and Pediatric Nursing Practice
    •    Complex and Chronic Problems in Neonates
    •    Development Physiology for Advanced Neonatal Nursing and Pediatric Patients
    •    Embryology

Depending on your education level, licensing, and experience, it may take anywhere from 3 to 6 years to complete an advanced neonatal nurse practitioner program.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Schools and Training Programs in California

While California is home to more nurse practitioners than any other state, only a select number of schools offer accredited neonatal practitioner training programs. They include:

    •    Brandman University, Irvine, CA
    •    Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University conforms to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) "Standards of Education for Nurse Practitioner Programs" (California Code of Regulations Section 1484). Although it is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Brandman University was not listed with the Board at the time this article was written. Please check with the University on its current status with the Board.

Both schools are listed with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Neonatal Nurse Practitioners

Neonatal nurse practitioners are members of the broad group “Nurse Practitioners” (NP) under the broader group “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses” (APRN).

The State of California is home to nearly 10,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) averaging $98,970 per year. This is one of the highest average salaries for nurse practitioners in the U.S. The State is also home to 4 of the nation’s highest paying metro areas for NPs as well as the country’s #3 metro area with the highest employment level—Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale. This Metro area is home to 2,370 nurse practitioners averaging $89,500.

The highest paying metro areas in the U.S. include:

#1: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, average $125,450 per year
#3: Stockton, average $121,200 per year
#6: San Francisco, San Mateo-Redwood City, average $116,430 per year
#8: Madera-Chowchilla, average $114,630 per year

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S is home to 105,780-110,200 nurse practitioners (NPs) averaging between $89,960 and $91,450 per year. Nurse practitioners that work in specialty hospitals can expect to earn the highest salaries with an average of $104,550 per year. Home health care NPs can expect to earn the “lowest” salaries with an average of $82,300 per year.

The Bureau expects a 34% increase in employment for nurse practitioners for the 2012-2022 decade.

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