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 a bachelor's and master's degree. 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)
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
The following graduate certificates in nursing are available to help you enter specialty nursing careers:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.