Online Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs

March 2, 2022 , Modified on May 12, 2022 · 3 Min Read

By earning an online nurse practitioner post-master's certificate, FNPs and other specialists can change their focus or add a specialization and increase their expertise.

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Online Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs
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Post-master's certificate nurse practitioner online programs can lead to specialty area credentials for nurse practitioners (NPs) who hold a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. NPs who already practice in one specialty area may want to switch or supplement their focus with certification in another, such as acute care, family practice, adult-gerontology, pediatrics, or women's health.

This guide and program listings provide admission and certification information, along with information to help you choose the best program for your professional goals.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best post-master's NP certificate programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about post-master's NP certificate programs, or go straight to our list of the best post-master's NP certificate programs.

How Do Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs Work?

Online learners can earn their NP post-master's certificate in 1-2 years of part-time study. Designed for working NPs, the curriculum typically includes 20 credits and 650 supervised practicum hours in their specialty focus.

Programs may offer scheduled synchronous online classes or asynchronous courses, along with on-campus immersions. Clinical nursing rotations take place at local healthcare sites.

Nursing schools offer post-master's certificate NP programs in specialties, such as:

Once NPs earn their post-master's certificates, they can apply to become board certified nationally in their new specialization. NPs must still maintain their registered nurse (RN) license. They should also maintain their advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license and any previous board certification for specialty areas in which they plan to continue practicing.

Featured Online MSN Programs

Applying to an Online Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Program

Applicants to an NP post-master's certificate program typically need active, unencumbered RN and APRN licensure, an MSN or a DNP from an accredited program, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least one year of NP experience. Some programs accept applications from graduate degree-holders in healthcare fields with prerequisite nursing courses, such as statistics.

Required submission materials usually include transcripts, goal statements, three reference letters, and a resume. Most programs evaluate potential transfer credits and many invite candidates to interview.

Why Is Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program Accreditation Important?

Nursing school accreditation means that a team of academics and nurses has reviewed the post-master's certificate NP program to ensure that graduates can practice safely in their specialty.

In addition, most boards only certify graduates of accredited programs, and accredited programs almost never accept transfer credits from programs not accredited.

While programs that are not accredited may promise you a faster or cheaper education option, attending an unaccredited program is a risk to your time and money. This guide only includes accredited programs.

Online Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs 2022


Frequently Asked Questions About Post-Master's Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs


What are the highest-earning NP specialties?

The highest-paid NP specialties and median annual salaries are psychiatric mental health adult ($135,000), psychiatric mental health ($131,500), neonatal ($130,500), pediatric primary care mental health ($128,000), and acute care ($127,500), according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

What are the most popular post-master's NP certificate specialties?

The most popular NP specialization is family practice, according to the AANP Compensation Survey, with 65.4% of NPs certified in family practice. The next most popular specialty is adult nursing, at 12.6%, adult-gerontology at 7.8%, acute care at 5.5%, and pediatric primary care at 3.7%.

How long does it take to complete a post-master's nurse practitioner program?

Most NP post-master's online certificate program enrollees continue to work full time and study part time. The program typically lasts 1-2 years.

Full-time learners can finish sooner, particularly in self-paced programs. Specialty area time lines may differ, depending on clinical hours, course credit requirements, and transfer credit availability.

How hard is it to complete a post-master's NP certificate program?

Program difficulty depends on your academic background, experience, and individual program requirements. If you recently had graduate-level classes in that specialty or engaged in professional development, you may find it easier.

Program admission rates can help you measure a program's difficulty.

Related Nurse Practitioner Resources

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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