On average, it takes 5-6 years to become a neonatal nurse. The first step in becoming a neonatal nurse is obtaining an associate or bachelor's degree.
A person can commonly obtain one of these degrees in 3-4 years, depending on the class the person takes. After receiving this degree, the person must enroll in an accredited nursing program, which can take 1-2 years. If a master's or doctorate degree in nursing is desired, this can take an additional 2 years. Advanced nursing programs are also available and may be required depending on the hospital at which the person is applying.