A neonatal nurse typically goes to school for two to four years to become a registered nurse. An RN needs a nursing education to meet state licensing requirements. Neonatal nurses often complete a bachelor's degree to complete more specialty courses.
During a nursing program, someone who wants to specialize in neonatal nursing typically completes clinical requirements in a neonatal setting. Some hospitals hire neonatal nurses after college who have experience in the neonatal care unit. Experience in a pediatric environment is also helpful to get a job in a NICU. A master's degree or doctoral degree in nursing affords a neonatal nurse even more career options.