Best Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Programs

Last Updated/Verified: Feb 20, 2024

Compare the 2024 Top Ranked Online NNP Programs

Working with the newborn patient population is a particularly important and rewarding area of medicine. For RNs who wish to enter advanced practice in a NICU, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is an ideal goal. Finding the right NNP program, however, is of great importance. With distance-learning increasingly becoming the norm, we have ranked the top online neonatal nurse practitioner programs below to help prospective students narrow down their options. For more information on how crafted our rankings, please visit our methodology page.

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC


With a traditional MSN and a post-master's certificate in the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty, Greenville's East Carolina University is dedicated to filling the need for NNPs. With online coursework focused on theoretical and practical knowledge, students can complete their studies with maximum flexibility.


  • Full-time and part-time schedules available
  • Clinical experiences arranged in the student's geographic area
  • Public 4-year school
Rush University

Chicago, IL


Nurses with experience caring for high-risk infants in the neonatal intensive care units are invited to earn their Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Rush University. The accelerated, mostly online program can be completed in about 3 years. Working only part-time is encouraged.

  • A private research university in Chicago
  • Clinical practicums occur at the top-ranked University Medical Center
  • At least one, three-day on-campus visit is required


Creighton University

Omaha, NE


Creighton University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) fast-tracks nurses to become Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP). Divided into core, role, and advanced specialty practicums, the program includes Advanced Neonatal Assessment, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures, and Management of High Risk Neonate I & II courses.

  • A private Jesuit research university in Omaha, NE
  • At least a few on-campus visits are necessary
  • The university boasts a 100% NP certification pass rate
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs

What Is an Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program Like?

You love working with newborn babies – and you’re ready to take the next step to make tiny little ones the focus of your career. Working as a neonatal nurse practitioner is a great way to take your career to the next level while developing your passion for taking care of babies. Enrolling in an online neonatal nurse practitioner program is a great way to get the education that you need while still focusing on providing your patients with excellent care. When you choose an online neonatal nurse practitioner program, you’ll get all the elements of a traditional in-classroom program, but you’ll get to work at your own pace, on your own time. Typically, professors in nurse practitioner programs are nurse practitioners themselves, and they understand the tough confines of a busy nursing schedule. With an online program, you’ll be able to work on your assignments at times that work for you – even if it’s late at night or on the weekends.

Choosing an Appropriate Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program

There are several degree options to get you to the neonatal nurse practitioner designation. However, the options available will hinge on the type of nursing degree you currently hold. An example of options based on prior education is demonstrated below.

If I Currently Have… Option 1 Option 2
BSN BSN to MSN Programs BSN to DNP Programs
MSN Post-Master’s Certificate MSN to DNP Programs

Another major aspect of choosing a neonatal nurse practitioner degree type is to figure out what your long-term career goals are. This can include the NNP role you aspire to, the location or employer you wish to work for, and even what kind of salary you aim to make. Being clear on your future professional goals will help guide you to the appropriate degree level. If you still need some help determining which neonatal nurse practitioner degree program is right for you, consult our table below to see where your interests align.

MSN Post-Master's Certificate DNP
I enjoy working directly with neonatal patients and their families X X X
I already hold a graduate degree, but I wish to move into specialized neonatal practice X X
I feel called to teach and guide students clinically at the university level X X
I want to advocate for neonates and their families and be a leader in my facility X X X
I have ideas for clinically relevant research projects to improve the lives of patients requiring specialized neonatal care X
My passion is to create and improve national health policies X
I wish to understand population-based neonatal health in order to improve healthcare outcomes across the nation X
I want to guide healthcare law and ethics for the benefit of families with children requiring specialized neonatal care X

It’s key to choose an accredited program from agencies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) when you’re searching for an online neonatal nurse practitioner program. When you select an accredited program, you’re showing future employers that you went through an education that has been approved by governing boards. You’ll be able to rest assured knowing that you’re fully prepared to provide excellent patient care. Throughout the course of your online neonatal nurse practitioner program, you’ll learn about how a fetus and newborn baby develop, how to detect and treat health issues that can arise in the neonatal period, how to use research and evidence to inform your practice, and how to support moms as they get to know their new baby. Check out our guide to online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner programs below.

  1. Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program Admissions & Requirements by Degree Type
  2. Online Neonatal NP Program Classes and Curriculum
  3. Clinical Requirements and Certification

Online Neonatal NP Program Admissions

As you begin to apply to online neonatal nurse practitioner programs, you’ll want to consider which type of program makes the most sense for your career goals. You’ll choose between an MSN program, a post-graduate certificate, and a DNP program. While all of these programs can help you become a nurse practitioner, your prior education and experience will play a role in which option makes the most sense for you.

MSN-Level Neonatal NPPost-Master’s Certificate Neonatal NPDNP-Level Neonatal NP
Prior Education/GPABSN with a GPA of at least 3.0MSN with a GPA of at least 3.0MSN or BSN with a GPA of at least 3.0 (check with your potential program to see if they allow entrance with a BSN)
RN LicensureCurrent, unencumbered RN licenseCurrent, unencumbered RN licenseCurrent, unencumbered RN license, may require APRN certification or a certain number of hours working with neonatal patients
Professional ExperienceAt least one year as an RNAt least one year as an RNOne to two years as an RN, may require experience working with neonatal patients
Written RequirementsPersonal statement, three letters of recommendationPersonal statement, three letters of recommendationResume/CV, personal statement, three letters of recommendation

Online Neonatal NP Curriculum & Classes

MSN, post-graduate certificate, and DNP programs will vary in length. Generally, the MSN can be completed in two years, the post-grad cert can be completed in around a year, and the DNP program can take around 3-4 years of full-time study. If you choose to work through your classes on a part-time basis, you may need more time. While the rules differ between institutions, most schools allow you to have up to seven years to complete your studies.

DegreeMSNPost-Master’s CertificateDNP
Average Credit Requirements32-4312-3633-65

Throughout the course of your online MSN or post-graduate certificate neonatal nurse practitioner program, your coursework is likely to include:

  • Health informatics
  • Health systems
  • Fetal and neonatal development
  • Neonatal pathophysiology
  • Neonatal pharmacology
  • Pediatric care
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Embryology

NNP-DNP programs typically require the aforementioned coursework as well as:

  • Global healthcare
  • Applied statistics
  • Advanced neonatal nursing management
  • Genetic and molecular therapeutics
  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Ethics in healthcare
  • Health informatics
  • Business of the APRN
  • Capstone project

The capstone project in the neonatal nurse practitioner DNP program is where the student demonstrates their understanding of the program’s advanced nursing concepts by addressing a clinical problem or question that relates to neonatal nursing.

Neonatal NP Clinical Requirements

You’ll find that the clinical requirements for online neonatal nurse practitioner programs vary greatly, with some programs requiring as few as 600 clinical hours and others requiring 1,000. You’ll want to carefully consider clinical hour requirements when applying to programs so that you don’t overextend yourself. Generally, your program will help you figure out how to best make clinical hours fit with your schedule. This may mean earning your clinical hours in several settings, such as in a hospital, in a private health clinic, in a birthing center, etc. Talk with your program director to learn more about how you can get your clinical requirements completed while still working hard at your nursing job.

Neonatal NPs typically complete their clinical hours under the supervision of a seasoned NNP, doctor, or physician’s assistant in a hospital NICU setting or another setting where infants with common or complex needs are cared for.

Online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program Listings

Whether you are looking for an MSN, Post-Master’s Certificate, or DNP program in the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty, our online and hybrid listings below are the perfect first stop on your career journey.

Select Your State:


University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Birmingham, AL
University of South Alabama
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Mobile, AL


University of Connecticut
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Master's Program Hybrid
Storrs, CT


Emory University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Atlanta, GA


Rush University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Certificate
Chicago, IL
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Rockford, IL


University of Indianapolis
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Indianapolis, IN


Wayne State University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
Detroit, MI


University Of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Jackson, MS


University Of Missouri Kansas City
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Hybrid
Kansas City, MO


Creighton University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Omaha, NE

New York

Stony Brook University
  • Advanced Certificate - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
  • MSN - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Stony Brook, NY

North Carolina

Duke University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Durham, NC
East Carolina University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Graduate Certificate
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Greenville, NC


Case Western Reserve University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Hybrid
Cleveland, OH
The Ohio State University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • BSN to DNP: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Columbus, OH


University of Pittsburgh
  • MSN to DNP: Neonatal Hybrid
Pittsburgh, PA


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Memphis, TN
Vanderbilt University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Nashville, TN


Baylor University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner DNP Program
Waco, TX
The University of Texas at Arlington
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner MSN Hybrid
Arlington, TX
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Galveston, TX


Old Dominion University
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Norfolk, VA

Are we missing your school's nurse practitioner program or need to update any of the information listed? Please contact us.