A post masters certificate in nursing is designed for nursing students that already have their masters degrees, but would like to specialize their practice without having to return to school full time for a second masters degree. These certificate programs give students the core coursework they need, without wasting their time with redundant classes.
They are ideal for nursing students who already have a masters degree, and:
Want to change their career path to nursing education.
Wish to become nurse practitioners.
Want to specialize in another, specific area of nursing, like nurse administration, nurse informatics, or psychiatric nursing.
Would like to make themselves more appealing to employers in their area.
These programs are not intended for students with non-nursing masters degrees that want to make a career change to nursing. In situations like that, those students would have to go through accelerated nursing programs to get their bachelors degrees in nursing first, and continue to get their masters degrees afterward before they would be eligible for a post masters certificate program.
Requirements for a Post Masters Certificate in Nursing
In order to qualify for these programs, prospective students must already have completed their bachelors and masters degrees in nursing, and taken any necessary licensing exams. These certificate programs are designed to allow nurses to specialize in a specific field of nursing. In most cases, a state’s Board of Nursing requires nursing students to complete a certain number of hours of instruction in their chosen field before they are allowed to take any kind of licensing or certification exams for it. A good example here is nursing informatics, which requires a student to have a masters degree in health informatics, or thirty hours’ worth of a post masters educational program, coupled with several thousand hours’ worth of job experience.
Are Post Masters Certificates Necessary?
In order to be able to practice certain types of nursing, either a masters degree or a post masters certificate is a necessity. Nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses currently have a minimum requirement of a masters degree or equivalent, but that’s probably going to change soon. A lot of states are updating their educational requirements to reflect a new standard, which requires APRNs to have doctorates degrees. So, nursing students that are considering pursuing a post masters certificate in nursing should get while the getting is good, and they can be grandfathered in when the new educational requirements are placed into effect.
Is it Worth it to Pursue a Post Masters Certificate?
The nursing shortage is hitting every sector of the healthcare industry pretty hard, but nurses with advanced degrees are one of the hardest hit. Due to a shortage of qualified educators, a lot of masters programs for nurses have been suspended, if not cut entirely. As a result, though it can be difficult and expensive to go through a masters degree program, employers have made it extremely worthwhile. Nurses with masters degrees and beyond can command very high salaries- some nurse practitioners make around $120,000 per year- and there are always jobs available for them.
Using a post masters certificate in nursing to further specialize can help nursing graduates make themselves more marketable to employers, including hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and private practices. When it comes to nurse practitioners and psychiatric nurses, they can even allow them to start their own practices.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to pursue a post masters certificate in nursing is a personal one, and it won’t necessarily be a good idea for every nursing student out there. For nurses who don’t plan to specialize their nursing practice, or who want to continue to work as registered nurses, post masters certificate programs may end up being a waste of time.
A post masters certificate in nursing is a faster, less expensive way to further your education without having to go through a full masters degree program again. For students who have already obtained masters degrees in nursing, these nursing certificate programs represent a way for them to set themselves up for higher salaries and more job offers, without having to sacrifice more of their time to schooling than absolutely necessary.