In most jurisdictions, the path you have to take to become a prenatal nurse starts with completing high school or earning an equivalency diploma before enrolling in a nursing program. You will typically have to earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in nursing to begin a career in this field. In addition, you will usually have to pass an examination to become a registered nurse. After earning your nursing credential, you may go on to seek a job as a prenatal nurse, pursue a master's degree in nursing, or complete a nurse-midwife program to prepare for a career as a prenatal nurse.
The first step you’ll usually take to become a prenatal nurse is completing high school or its equivalent. While in high school, paying particular attention to science, health, and math courses may help you prepare for further education. Nurses also have to communicate well verbally and in writing, however. For this reason, you may also prepare well by taking classes and participating in activities that enhance your public-speaking and writing skills.
Once you’ve completed high school, your next step will likely be enrolling in a nursing program. In most places, you will have to become a registered nurse before you can become a prenatal nurse. You can usually do this by enrolling in a two-to-three-year nursing program at a community college or a four-year nursing program that ends with a bachelor’s degree. You’ll usually have to pass a nurse licensing exam as well before you are considered a registered nurse.
The steps you will take after becoming a registered nurse will usually depend on your plans. Most jurisdictions do not require further education for a person who wants to become a prenatal nurse; in many cases, you can seek a job as a prenatal nurse with only a nursing credential. You can typically find jobs in hospitals and doctors offices that care for women who are expecting babies. Some employers do, however, prefer job candidates who have more education, and earning a master’s degree in nursing may improve your chances of landing the job you want.
If you want to become a prenatal nurse, you may also consider training as a midwife. With this type of training, you can care for women during their pregnancies and help them through childbirth. If you’d like to take this path toward a prenatal nursing career, you may choose to enroll in a nurse-midwife training program. Once you’ve completed this type of program, you’ll usually need to pass a certification exam as well.