Top Online Post-Master’s NP Certificate Programs
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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 toward 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 or intensives.
To help make the research process more accessible, NPSchools.com has compiled a comprehensive list of online post-master’s NP certificate programs to help nurses expand their career options and specialize in providing care for a specific population. For further detail on admissions, program requirements, online course delivery, and tuition, click on a school to view its full profile.
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 NPSchools.com database, which contains information for 1,008 online nursing programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels during the 2022-2023 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.
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 (BLS), nurse practitioner positions are expected to rise 40 percent between 2021 and 2031, an increase of over 118,600 jobs (BLS 2022). This is much faster than the national average for all occupations (5 percent) and is slated to created 30,200 openings every year in the coming decade.
Nurse practitioners can expect to earn between $87,340 and $165,240 per year with a median salary landing at $121,610 (BLS 2022). 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
- Advanced nursing roles
- Evidence-based practice
- 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.