Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who are authorized to provide many of the same services provided by physicians. Like physicians, nurse practitioners often specialize. In addition to family practice -- the most common NP specialty -- some NPs specialize in pediatrics. Of those, a small number specialize in the care of newborns, or neonates. Neonatal NP salaries can vary according to geographic location and experience.
Neonatal NPs comprise only 0.2 percent of the NP workforce, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. While the average annual salary for all NPs was $91,450 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pediatric nurse practitioners as a whole earned $83,937, according to the “Clinical Advisor.” HealtheCareers reports the salary range for a neonatal NP was $70,000 to $90,000 as of September 2012. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, however, reports the average annual salary for neonatal NPs was $107,550 in 2011. At least one-third of the NPs reporting in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners study said they also received bonus payments in addition to the base salary.
Location and Experience
An NP’s total income can be affected by not only her base salary, but also her experience and her geographic location. Although the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners data did not single out neonatal NPs, who comprise such a small percentage of the NP population, it does give some indication of regional and experience variances. NPs in Rocky Mountains states earned the least in 2011, with an average annual salary of $94,944. States in the far West paid the best; the average annual salary was $107,518. Although experience makes a difference, NPs with the most experience did not earn the highest salary. NPs with 16 to 20 years of experience outearned NPs with 21 or more years, at salaries of $106,680 and $101,260 respectively.
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners defined full-time work in its survey as at least 35 hours a week. However, neonatal NPs may work a different number of hours each week depending on the employer and work setting. Two of the most common work shifts in the nursing field are the 8-hour and 12-hour shift. In the first case, an NP would work 2,080 hours a year. In the second, she would work 1,872 hours a year. The difference in hours can have a significant effect on a neonatal NP’s hourly pay rate.
If a neonatal NP earned the lowest salary of $70,000 a year and worked 8-hour shifts, she would earn $33.65 an hour. If she worked 12-hour shifts, she would earn $37.39 an hour. A neonatal NP who earned the highest salary and worked 8-hour shifts would earn $51.70 an hour, while a neonatal NP who worked 12-hour shifts at the higher salary would earn $57.45 an hour. However, bonus payments, experience and geographic location could all affect those figures.