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 a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. NPs who already practice in one specialty area may want to switch or augment their focus with certification in another area, such as acute care, family nurse practice (FNP), gerontology, pediatrics, or women’s health.
Online learners can earn their NP post-master’s certificates in 1-2 years of part-time study. Designed for working NPs, the curriculum typically includes about 20 credits and 650 supervised practicum hours in the NP’s new specialty focus areas. Programs may offer scheduled synchronous online classes or asynchronous courses, along with on-campus immersions. Clinical rotations take place at local healthcare sites.
This guide and program listings provide admission and certification information, along with information to help you choose the best program for your professional goals.
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Applying to an Online Post-Master’s Nurse Practitioner Program
Applicants to an NP post-master’s certificate program typically need active, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) and advanced practice registered nurse (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 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.
Once NPs earn their post-master’s certificates, they can apply to become nationally board-certified in their new specialization. NPs must still maintain their RN license, along with their APRN license, and any previous board-certification for specialty areas in which they plan to continue practicing.
Featured Online Programs
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a post-master's certificate worth it?
Post-master’s certificates are worth the time and effort for those seeking a change in focus, career advancement, or higher pay. Clinical NPs may discover an interest in teaching and pursue certification as nurse educators, which are in-demand. NPs who become nurse anesthetists could increase their average annual salary to around $115,800, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Accreditation indicates high academic standards and ensures prospective students that the program can effectively prepare nurses for their careers. The two primary accrediting bodies are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, both of which review nursing programs on a regular basis.
What is a post-master's certificate nurse practitioner?
An NP with a post-master’s certificate qualifies to apply for national board-certification in an additional specialty area. For example, post-master’s FNPs can specialize in pediatrics, or an NP who focuses on women’s health can become a certified nurse midwife. Post-master’s certificates provide opportunities to change or refine an NP’s career direction.
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; however, specialty area timelines may differ, depending on clinical hours, course credit requirements, and transfer credit availability.
Top Online Post-Master’s Certificate Nurse Practitioner Programs
Established in 1957 in Stony Brook, New York, and now part of the State University of New York System, Stony Brook welcomes almost 27,000 on-campus and online students each year.
Stony Brook's online advanced certificate – family nurse practitioner program offers master’s and doctoral-level nurses the opportunity to add a nurse practitioner credential with a specialization in family, adult-gerontology primary care, neonatal, pediatric primary care, or psychiatric mental health. Students primarily complete their coursework online, with a few campus visits. The program varies in length from 19-22 credits, depending on specialization.
Applicants must hold a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a current RN license. Additional submission requirements include a resume (one year relevant experience preferred), three letters of recommendation, and proof of malpractice insurance.
Stony Brook is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Learn more about Stony Brook University
Georgia College and State University
Founded in Milledgeville in 1889, Georgia College was designated by the state's Board of Regents as Georgia’s public liberal arts university in 1996. Today, the university serves nearly 7,000 students every year.
Georgia College’s online nursing post-master certificate program offers three nurse practitioner options: family, psychiatric, or women’s health. All three programs, offered primarily online with occasional campus visits, require a minimum of 22-23 credits. Depending on their previous educational background, students may need to take up to nine additional credits of core courses like advanced nursing assessment or applied pharmacology.
Applicants must hold an MSN with a GPA of 3.2 or above, along with a current Georgia RN license. Additional materials include a resume, a statement of professional goals, and two letters of reference.
Georgia College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Learn more about Georgia College and State University
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Established in Knoxville in 1794 and now the flagship of the University of Tennessee system, UT Knoxville enrolls more than 30,000 campus-based and online students per year.
The university offers an online graduate nurse practitioner certificate with four concentrations: family, primary care pediatric, acute care pediatric, or psychiatric mental health. All concentrations take three semesters to complete, except for acute care pediatric. This two-semester program is open solely to currently licensed primary care pediatric nurse practitioners. Students in all concentrations must complete clinical practice hours (the number varies by concentration).
Applicants must hold an MSN or doctoral nursing degree and a Tennessee nursing license. Applicants must also submit an essay, a resume, and two recommendation forms.
UT Knoxville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Learn more about The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Established in Muncie, Indiana, in 1899, Ball State became Ball State Teachers College in 1929 and adopted its current name in 1965. Today, the university welcomes nearly 22,000 students each year.
Ball State offers a fully online post-master's certificate in nursing – family nurse practitioner with a one-day campus orientation required. Students must find their own clinical placement sites. The department offers two different tracks, depending on whether the student is currently an adult or adult-gerontology nurse practitioner. Current nurse practitioners take three courses and a final practicum, including 390 clinical hours. Non-nurse practitioners take five courses and a final practicum, including a total of 630 clinical hours.
Applicants must reside in Indiana or Ohio and hold an active RN license in one of those states. Additional requirements include an MSN with a GPA of at least 3.0, three recommendations, a criminal history disclosure, and a completed goals and objectives questionnaire.
Ball State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Learn more about Ball State University
UC is part of the University System of Ohio and the second biggest university in the state. Established in 1819, the school serves more than 44,000 campus-based and online students per year.
UC’s fully online post-master’s family nurse practitioner program offers a flexible, personalized curriculum based on each student’s educational background, licensure, certifications, and professional experience. Sample courses include clinical management of health problems for women and children and differential diagnosis. Students may complete up to four clinical internships.
Applicants must hold a BSN and an MSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an unrestricted RN license. Additional materials include three letters of reference, a personal goal statement, and a professional resume.
UC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Learn more about University of Cincinnati