If you want to have a career that allows you to work with babies, you’ll be pleased to know that you can become a neonatal nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing. You need to pick your school carefully, however. A good program should be accredited, prepare you for your nursing examination and offer neonatal courses.
Finding Accredited Schools
Neonatal nurses are nurses that specialize in caring for newborns. They must meet the same requirements as regular nursing students to qualify for entry-level jobs in their field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a student can become a neonatal nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing, but some students get a bachelor’s degree. Whether you go to a two-year school or a four-year university, you need to make sure that both your program of study and your college are accredited. Good nursing programs are often accredited by either the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. If your college or university is regionally accredited, it should be associated with one of the following:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Accreditation Commission
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Preparing for Your Nursing Exam
You can become a neonatal nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing, but you have to do more than just earning your degree. You can’t become a nurse – neonatal or otherwise – unless you pass your nursing examination. This test it called the National Council Licensure Examination, commonly referred to as the NCLEX. Since all nurses have to pass the NCLEX, a good nursing program should adequately prepare you for this test. To learn more about the NCLEX, you can visit the National Student Nurses Association website. Once you have a better idea of what the NCLEX is and what information will be on the test, you should be able to figure out if your chosen school will help you pass it.
Taking Neonatal Courses
Neonatal nurses don’t have to take any more courses or tests than regular nurses; however, while you can become a neonatal nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing, you should try to gain as much experience in your specialty as possible during your time as a student. If you have a few colleges that you’re considering, try checking to see what kind of courses you can take as electives. Some schools may have more neonatal classes available than others. To find out how many neonatal classes each school offers, check in each college’s catalog. Most educational institutions have their catalogs available right on their website so that both current and potential students can find out about course options, degree requirements, academic schedules, financial aid and other important information.
Related Resource: Pediatric Nurse Certifications
Not all colleges and universities are created equal. In fact, some schools are much better than others. While you can become a neonatal nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing, you should make sure that you choose an accredited school that will prepare you for your nursing exam and your future career.