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 an advanced degree such as a master of science in nursing (MSN), a doctor of nursing practice (DNP), or a PhD to enroll. While many programs will accept any qualified MSN-prepared RN, others accept only advanced practice registered nurses such as clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, or NPs. Others only accept NPs, in rare cases requiring those NPs to have a specific specialization or a minimum number of years of work experience in a particular field.

These programs are not one-size-fits-all, which also holds true for the program credit requirements. Incoming post-master’s NP certificate students are subject to a gap analysis whereby admissions personnel evaluate their specific educational background. This process determines the number and nature of courses and clinical hours needed to complete an NP post-master’s certificate.

Required course credits can range from approximately eight to 50, depending on the specialty and the applicant’s previous education. For example, some programs are geared 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 practicum hours.

While most of the coursework in these programs is offered online, many online post-master’s NP certificate programs require in-person and on-campus requirements. For example, clinical practicum hours are required for most programs, and some universities offer placements near students’ places of residence. In addition, some programs help students connect with clinical placements. As for on-campus requirements, many programs feature on-campus residencies to be met to graduate from the certificate program.

Advanced practice nurses are busy professionals who dedicate their time and energy to helping others. To help make the research process more accessible, NPSchools compiled a comprehensive list of top online post-master’s NP certificate programs to help nurses expand their career options and specialize in providing care for a specific healthcare field.

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 928 online nursing programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels during the 2021-2022 school year. 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.