Nursing Graduate Certificates Areas of Interest

Updated: Mar 9, 2024

An online nursing graduate certificate (sometimes known as a post-graduate or post-master's certificate) is a master's level qualification for nursing grads who have already completed both a bachelor's and master's degree in a nursing area. They are focused areas that help nurses pursue a career in a specialty area of nursing for career growth and expertise. For example, if a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner wants to become certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader, they can earn a graduate certificate rather than going through another lengthy and expensive full degree program.

Some key considerations for an online graduate nursing certificate include:

  • Full-time campus study over one academic year comprising two semesters
  • Part-time campus study may be spread over a longer period, typically two years – one semester per year
  • Credits are typically between 12 and 18 credit/semester units (varies by school and program)
  • Most schools expect a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • An active, unencumbered RN licensure is a requirement, as well as a minimum number of years of clinical nursing experience (typically 3)

Why Get an Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing?

A nursing graduate certificate:

  • Gives you specialist knowledge in the treatment of patients with specific needs
  • Helps you achieve certification and license to work in regulated niche areas of nursing (see full list below)
  • Improves your employability options in healthcare, giving you more choices to work where you like
  • Opens senior doorways into management, administration, and non-bedside senior hospital roles
  • Leads to anything between 13% and 25% higher pay than nurses without such a certificate
  • Increases job security
  • Improves professional networking opportunities
  • Is good preparation for pursuing doctoral-level degrees

Online Nursing Graduate Certificate Specializations

The following graduate certificates in nursing are available to help you enter specialty nursing careers:

Post-Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Nursing is such a broad area that you may need a specialization to secure certain career pathways. Adult Gerontology Nursing Graduate Certificates take your nursing qualifications and experience towards caring for the aging and elderly. Work options include nursing homes, specializing in elderly health in hospitals, and public outreach.

Post-Master's Certificate in Clinical Nurse Leader

Leadership roles in clinical nursing are vital. A Clinical Nurse Leader Graduate Certificate will help you advance your nursing career into leadership and clinical decision-making to improve outcomes across the board and to provide clinical experience within management.

Post-Master's Certificate in Clinical Nurse Specialist

The Clinical Nurse Specialist can specialize in Adult-Gerontology, Neonatal Care, Pediatrics, Public Health, Women’s Health, and more; they can further concentrate in oncology or critical care within their area of study. These expert-level nurses are trained to work in acute, primary, or long-term care settings and can provide care with a great deal of independence.

Post-Master's Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner

A Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate helps nursing grads specialize in working at a family health practice. You will understand diagnosis, one-on-one consultation and care, and work with families and individuals across the lifespan.

Graduate Certificate in Forensic Nursing

By gaining knowledge of forensic science as well as the court and legal system, nurses enrolled in a post-master's forensic nursing certificate program can become patient advocates and leverage their clinical and scientific expertise to prosecute violent offenders.

Post-Master's Certificate in Nurse Midwifery

Designed for RNs who have already earned a master’s degree, the post-master's certificate in Nurse Midwifery enables nurses to become primary care providers to women across the reproductive lifecycle.

Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Administration

Nursing Administration Graduate Certificates are for nursing professionals who desire a future career in managerial healthcare. It provides access to senior leadership roles, and in some cases logistics and organization.

Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Education

Considering a career teaching the next generation of nurses? A Nursing Education Graduate Certificate may be what you are looking for. Nurses with experience in patient care or clinical management can work in nursing colleges or universities in academic research and teaching, or in hospitals training professionals in new technologies and procedures.

Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Informatics

By earning an online post-master's certificate in Nursing Informatics, nurses can step into a career that blends information and computer science with nursing fundamentals.

Post-Master's Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Graduate Certificates enable nursing grads to specialize in mental illness treatment. With this certificate, you can work in mental health hospitals, specialty units and clinics within medical facilities, and as a practice nurse.