Nicu Nurse-Salary, Education & Perks-Your Best Guide

  1. A Neonatal Nurse (NICU-neonatal intensive care unit) works in collaboration with a physician to assess the physical needs of newborn
    patients (babies).
  2. Average Yearly Salary of Nicu Nurse is $106,740
  3. Projected Lifetime Earnings: $4,435,000
  4. Most NICU nurses work as staff registered nurses.
  5. In order to become a registered nurse, you need to pass NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses).
  6. Nursing education can be achieved through four routes.


4 Routes to Become A Registered Nurse and NICU Nurse- Education

There are nursing programs in the largest universities as well as the smallest community colleges. There are even online programs! So there’s bound to be something for you. Here are the most popular routes to becoming an RN.

  • If you already work as an LPN (or LVN), you can take LPN to RN bridge programs
  • Another option is Nursing diploma program, the duration of these programs is two to three years and the education provided is mostly in a hospital setting.
  • You can also get your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN/ADN): it only takes two years at a university or a college to qualify for the NCLEX-RN.
  • There is also the possibility of  Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): this will take 4 years at a college or university and will prepare you to have bedside and leadership roles. You will be qualified to take your NCLEX-RN.

LPN-to-RN Bridge Programs

In order to become LPN, students generally need only one year of vocational education. After sitting for the NCLEX-LPN they can obtain licensure. Registered nurses, on the other hand, must complete a bachelor’s degree program in nursing, an associate’s degree or a diploma before they can be licensed and practicing RN’s. To see if this career option is right for you, you can take a free career and personality quiz.

By completing an online bridge program, licensed practical nurses can earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN). This provides the credentials needed to sit for the NCLEX-RN and become an RN.
LPN-to-RN bridge programs cover gaps between the educational requirements of LPNs and RNs. They provide students with understandings of nursing theory, nursing science, methods of patient care, nursing pharmacology and qualified nursing practice. In order to qualify for an associate’s degree, students who enroll in such programs must also complete general education courses in mathematics, sociology, and communication.

Education Prerequisites

To be eligible to enroll in LPN-to-RN programs individuals must be certified LPNs. Before the courses begin, students must often submit college transcripts for courses they completed in fundamental nursing concepts, biology, anatomy, and physiology.

Program Coursework

LPN-to-RN degree programs contain coursework that builds upon a basic understanding of patient care and practice of nursing. The program provides students with advanced background knowledge in specific nursing types. Courses include:

  • Pharmacology for nurses
  • Microbiology
  • Maternal-child nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Professional nursing
  • Pathophysiology
  • Community-based nursing
  • Geriatric nursing

Employment Outlook and Salary Information
While in 2014 LPNs made an average annual income of around $43,800, RN’s made a median yearly income of over $66,500. This information is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2014, across the nation, RN’s occupied over 2.6 million positions in clinics, healthcare facilities, and hospitals. California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are among the best-paying states for nurses.

Nursing Diploma Programs

The most traditional and oldest forms of nursing training in the nation are Nursing Diploma Programs. The duration of these programs is two to three years and the education they provide is mostly in a hospital setting. These nursing programs do not provide graduates with a college degree but with a diploma. Nowadays most of these diploma nursing programs are offered in association with universities and colleges, and college credit is granted for specific courses.

In order to offer basic science and humanities studies, most hospital nursing schools work with nearby colleges. Credits are given to graduates so they can go and apply to an associate or baccalaureate of science degree. Sometimes it is possible for students to get dual credentials, an associate degree and a hospital diploma. To become a Registered Nurse these groups of students, graduates of associate degree and baccalaureate programs and diploma graduates, all must take the same state licensing examination.

Nowadays these Diploma Nursing Programs make sure students have a decent knowledge in biology and in those aspects of the nursing practice that have to do with social science. There is a strong emphasis on medical experience as far as direct patient care is concerned. As compared to other entry-level programs, these Diploma Nursing Programs, in general, offer more hours of clinical instructions.

This hands-on experience and the extra clinical hours are the most important differences as to the associate degree nursing programs. Graduates have developed their clinical skills. They mostly will find their jobs in community health centers, long-term care and acute care.

In the United States, most of these remaining diploma nursing schools can be found in the East and the Midwest. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many of these programs are still active. In North Carolina, there are still two diploma programs: the state’s oldest nursing school, Watts School of Nursing, and Mercy School of Nursing. Of all the outstanding and excellent nurses, and some of the very best were diploma program graduates.

The last decades showed a drastic decline in the number of institutions with diploma nursing programs. Now the reduced number of these schools has just 10% of the entrance programs in RN education, and they only produce 6% of the graduates in RN education. The nursing education shifted from hospital-based instruction (apprentice-sort of education) to college and university-level education.

ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)

The Associate Degree in Nursing program (ADN program) is a general nursing training, created to equip students with the knowledge and skills they are going to need if they wish to become accountable and reliable nurses in a wide range of environments.

During this nursing program, students will receive theoretical training, simulation in patient care, practice lab skills, develop clinical experiences at hospitals, and a lot more. It is required that students complete both this general education and the nursing core course. They need to complete both for this ADN program.

Graduates of the ADN program are required to pass a national licensing exam, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)  to obtain their nursing licenses. Students who want to enroll in a College America’s nursing program must meet specific demands.

Prerequisites for (ADN)

  • Yоu muѕt hаvе а high school diploma оr GED, possibly а high-grade point average аnd pass health screening requirements.

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

The BSN program gives Registered Nurses (RN’s) a chance to continue their education and expand their careers. The program also helps students without any experience in obtaining a state nursing license. In many positions, RN’s are required to have a BSN, especially in those positions that demand supervisory skills. Students who have no nursing experience at all need at least four years to complete the program.

Registered Nurses will be credited for earlier training and experience. They will need considerably less time to finish their degree programs.

The first two years of the program are used for general education purposes, and classes include education in the liberal arts and sciences. After this period of general education, students will enroll in courses in nursing practice and clinical work during the following two years.

By working during a set number of hours in a medical facility, such as a hospital, a clinic or an elderly home, the students will get the needed practical training, the so-called clinical component.
BSN graduates can be employed in many professional environments. These settings could be traditional healthcare institutions such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

The graduates may as well find employment in businesses as pharmacies, pharmaceutical or insurance companies, publishers of healthcare books or law firms. They also might find themselves working in medical schools, psychiatric clinics, and home-care companies. In case a student wishes to continue training, the BSN degree is an appropriate stepping stone and prepares for education on the graduate level.

Students will develop a wide knowledge of nursing research and theory by completing the BSN program. This could function as a solid foundation for extended training and study. Students who don’t possess an RN license may, after completing the program, take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.

Prerequisites for (BSN)

The minimum requirements to enroll in a BSN program are that students must have completed high school with a background in math and science, and have a satisfactory Grade Point Average. ACT or SAT scores are demanded for some BSN programs. RNs are required to possess current licenses and a valid diploma or equivalent.

Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor in Nursing

There are Accelerated second degree BSN programs, for students with a non-nursing Bachelor’s degree, who want to be trained for nursing.
These Accelerated second degree BSN programs are full-time commitments. Basically, you try to compress four years of nursing school into 12 (minimum) to 18 (maximum) months. These programs cannot be done in your spare time.

The idea is that you get credited for non-nursing classes that were already taken by you in college (frequently known as credits for “general education” or “lower division”. In this 12 to 18 months period, it takes you through nursing theory and clinical classes. You will be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN (national licensing exam for Registered Nurses).
You will not find so many online Accelerated second degree BSN programs. Look for schools not far from where you live, as you will be expected to spend substantial time on campus

Difference between RN and BSN

The most frequently asked questions on social sites and at face to face meeting is about the difference between an RN and a BSN.

In short: BSN is a degree and RN is a registration license.  Nurses who have completed a nursing diploma program, an associate degree (ADN) program or a bachelor’s degree (BSN) program can become Registered Nurses by taking the NCLEX-RN exam (National Council Licensure Examination).

RN  (Registered Nurse) applies to those individuals who have passed a test, called the NCLEX-RN. This test is given by the state government. After passing this test you will be given the license to perform the tasks of a registered nurse.

In order to get qualified to take the NCLEX-RN test you need to complete educational programs offered by accredited institutions.

All academic programs provide the basic courses that graduates need to take the NCLEX-RN exam, although there will be minor differences. Graduating from an educational program doesn’t give you a nursing license. All these education programs provide you with the qualifications that you will need to take the NCLEX test. After you have passed the test you will get a nursing license. This allows you to call yourself an RN.

Bear in mind that if you hold a BSN-degree, this does not automatically mean you are an RN. If you don’t take, or don’t pass, the NCLEX exam after graduating from a BSN program, you will always have BSN but you’ll never be an RN.

ADN or BSN, what should I go after?

Now we’ve come to the point where you should decide about getting an associate’s, or a bachelor’s degree. When you haven’t got so much money to spend on your training, a Community College is typically a great value for an associate degree. Obtaining an ADN takes less time than getting a BSN, and you also don’t need to be as highly prepared.

Yet,  you’ll find many employers who will prefer or demand nurses holding a Bachelor’s Degree, so going after a BSN, if possible, could prove to be more sensible after all.

MSN (Master of Science in Nursing)

Well-trained nurses who wish to continue their professional education can choose to take a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.  After you have earned your BSN, this will take two years at a university or college. MSN qualifies you to and is often a prerequisite to acquiring your Ph.D.

This program educates nurses in advanced general practice and management. They will be trained to become leaders in their professional fields of nursing practice, as well as team leaders in healthcare where the patient is centralized.

One of the objectives of this program is to broaden the perspective of students by demanding of them that, in order to resolve various health care problems, they provide more room for innovative actions and show broader approaches by applying more interdisciplinary practices.
The nursing profession is based on science and theory.

MSN graduates are educated to become experts in an environment of various disciplines that need to be integrated in order to embrace the contextual practice-nature by research, reflecting, analytical thinking and intuition. MSN students will become experts in providing healthcare within an environment where several of these disciplines come together.

Thanks to these educational processes, MSN graduates will be the visionary leaders of the future. These nurses will be responsible for advancing the nursing profession into wider and integrated perspectives. They will be influencing and reshaping the future of healthcare.
Both as nurses and as leaders, these MSN program graduates are well equipped and prepared to provide, integrate and improve healthcare. They will be prepared to educate nurses, to lead complex healthcare systems and provide the best of care to patients and their families.

Prerequisites fоr MSN

Thіѕ level іѕ achieved іf уоu аlrеаdу meet thе Registered Nurse requirements, if уоu hаvе obtained the bachelor’s degree, аnd if уоu hаvе letters оf recommendation tо bе accepted tо thе program. Yоu mау wаnt tо continue tо thіѕ degree іf уоu would like tо work іn research, оr teach nursing classes tо others. Nurses саn opt fоr а specialization іn a Master’s degree program. Thеу саn specialize in fields ѕuсh as:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse-midwife
  • Clinical nurse
  • Nurse anesthetist

Neonatal Nurse Salary

Neonatal nurses who become APRN’s will enjoy higher salaries. The BLS reports that the median expected annual pay for a typical Nurse Practitioner – Neonatal in the United States is $106,740.

Neonatal Nurse Education Online vs Local College

Every state in America offers many nursing programs, but you might have better chances to enroll in a program if you are able and prepared to travel distances, but online nursing schools are also popular. Continue reading.

How to Pay for Nursing School

There are many options for financing the nursing education, from scholarships to many loans. Continue reading about financing your education and how to find a nursing scholarship.

Neonatal Nurse – The Job

Programs for becoming a neonatal nurse are very popular because there is an ever increasing demand for qualified personnel in the healthcare industry. Our country is at the moment troubled by a shortage of nurses. Despite the economic climate, registered nurses can easily find job opportunities, but it takes quite some serious study to get there.

The right choice of nursing education can make a difference in your nursing career and influence your earning potential. This article will walk you through available options and help you to make informative choices. You will also learn about scholarships and successfully applying to the nursing school of your choice.

You can find out if you are the right person for a career in nursing if you take a free profession aptitude quiz.