Top Online Post-Master’s NP Certificate Programs

A post-master’s nurse practitioner (NP) certificate allows master’s-prepared nurses to pursue an NP specialization such as family care, neonatal care, pediatric nursing, psychiatric-mental health, adult-gerontology, or women’s health.

Post-master’s NP certificate programs require a valid registered nursing license and a master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), or PhD to enroll. While many programs will accept any qualified MSN-prepared RN, others accept only advanced practice registered nurses (clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, or NPs). Still others only accept NPs, in rare cases requiring those NPs to have a specific specialization.

So certainly these programs are not one size fits all.

And that goes for program credit hour requirements as well. Incoming post-master’s NP certificate students are subject to a gap analysis whereby admissions personnel evaluate their specific educational background in order to determine the number and nature of courses and clinical hours they need to complete in order to earn their NP certificate.

Required course credits can range from approximately 8 to 50 depending on the specialty, and the previous education of the applicant. For example, as mentioned, some programs are for graduates of MSN-NP programs who are already trained as nurse practitioners and want to expand their scope of practice and earn a second or third specialty. Other programs are designed for nurses who do not hold a nurse practitioner certification and require more courses and practicums.

Online Post-Master’s NP Certificate Program Rankings

Online post-master’s NP programs generally offer mostly or totally online coursework with practicums local to the students. Some programs require campus visits as well. To be included in our rankings, programs must require nine or fewer campus visits.

The programs below are drawn from the database, which contains information for more than 700 online nursing programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels. Our mission is to ensure the accuracy of the data on our website. Should you find an error or missing program, please contact us to alert us to the issue.

For the purposes of calculating credit hour requirements and tuition cost of the programs listed below, we assumed that incoming students would have to complete the full post-master’s NP certificate course load in order to earn a certificate, meaning we assumed a credit requirement and tuition cost at the top of the possible range.

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Nurse Practitioner Career and Salary

Certified nurse practitioners are in high demand and the job outlook is excellent for these roles. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nurse practitioner positions are expected to rise 28 percent between 2018 and 2028, an increase of over 53,000 jobs (BLS, 2018). Additionally, nurse-midwifery positions are expected to increase by 16 percent for that same time frame. The average across all occupations is 5 percent, for reference.

Nurse practitioners can expect to earn between $80,670 and $182,750 per year with a median salary landing at $107,030 (BLS, 2018). NPs play an important role in healthcare, and given their advanced practice training and their significant autonomy and practice authority, NPs can help mitigate the shortage of family practice doctors across the country.

NPs study a wide variety of subjects including courses on:

  • Healthcare policy
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Advanced nursing roles
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Ethics
  • Communication
  • Informatics
  • Advanced health assessment

Nurse practitioners are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat illnesses, administer medications, provide preventative healthcare and education, and work with patients and healthcare teams in a variety of settings including hospitals, private clinics, government facilities, long-term care facilities, research facilities, and home health care situations.