Nursing Administration and Management Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs in nursing administration and management are non-degree academic programs that provide advanced training in the application of managerial principles and administrative practices in the field of nursing. These programs are designed for Registered Nurses (RNs) who have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, and there are a number of programs that require applicants to have already completed a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree as well. RNs who enroll in a nursing management graduate certificate program generally complete four, five, or six master’s-level courses in healthcare finance, policy, technology, and administration in preparation for leadership roles in hospitals, clinics, healthcare organizations, and other places where nurses are employed.
RNs who complete a nursing management graduate certificate program may be eligible to apply for professional credentials, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Nurse Executive Board Certified (NE-BC) credential or the American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) credential. In addition, graduate credits earned through a nursing administration certificate program may be eligible for transfer to an MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice program, if and when an RN opts to pursue further graduate studies in nursing.
Nursing Administration and Management Explained
Nurse administrators are RNs who are licensed to practice in their state and who work in clinical settings but whose primary responsibilities are in managerial areas, such as budgeting and fiscal planning, data safety and management, and staffing and human resource management. These administrative functions, which may also include facilities oversight, safety and quality control, and regulatory compliance responsibilities, are integral to nursing operations at hospitals, outpatient clinics, residential and long-term care facilities, private medical practices, and other sites where healthcare services and medical care are provided.
In order to prepare for managerial and leadership roles in nursing administration, RNs typically spend a year or more working as clinicians and then enroll in an academic training program in which they learn about healthcare economics, organizational leadership, decision-making and problem-solving strategies, personnel management, and healthcare information technology and patient data systems. Graduate certificate programs in nursing administration, nursing management, and nursing executive leadership represent one of the more direct pathways for BSN and MSN-trained RNs to cultivate managerial skills and administrative knowledge for advancement into nurse administrator and nurse manager roles.
Identifying and Classifying Nursing Management Graduate Certificate Programs
There are two basic types of academic programs that are classified as nurse administrator or nursing management graduate certificate programs:
- Post-baccalaureate certificate programs that are designed for licensed RNs who hold a minimum of a BSN degree and who are interested in advancing into management roles in their profession. These programs typically also accept applicants who have completed their MSN training in a specialization other than nursing administration.
- Post-master’s certificate programs that are designed for RNs who have completed an MSN degree, including Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), RNs who hold a DNP degree, and other nursing professionals whose MSN training is in a specialization other than nursing administration. These programs to do not accept RNs whose highest level of academic training is at the bachelor’s degree level.
GraduateCertificates.com classifies both of these program types as graduate certificate programs in nursing administration and management, as both offer similar curricula, typically consisting of a small cluster of graduate courses that cover topics relevant to the practice of nursing management. These courses are largely equivalent to the courses RNs commonly take as part of a nurse administrator specialization in an MSN or a DNP program. In fact, many graduate certificate programs in nursing management are offered by schools of nursing that have MSN and/or DNP programs in nursing administration, and many certificate program courses overlap with MSN/DNP curricular requirements.
Indeed, one of the main differences between training to become a nurse administrator in a graduate certificate program versus an MSN or DNP program is the number of courses/credits students are required to complete. As a result, while MSN and DNP programs typically take two or three or more years to complete, a graduate certificate program can generally be completed in one year or less.
Nurse Administrator Graduate Certificate Coursework
The names and descriptions of courses and specific curricular requirements vary by program. However, most nurse administrator and nurse management graduate certificate programs require students to complete a minimum of three graduate courses that cover topics in finance and fiscal planning, regulatory and personnel management, data management, and leadership strategies. In addition, some programs include a practicum in which students must complete a specific number of clinical hours in an approved healthcare setting. These practicum experiences can then be applied toward the clinical hours required for professional credentials, such as those awarded by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
The list below draws on actual graduate certificate programs and provides a representative overview of the types nursing administration courses that are commonly required by certificate programs:
- Healthcare Economics and Policy
- Legal, Regulatory, and Financial Management
- Human Resources in Healthcare Organizations
- Information Technology and Innovation in Nursing
- Legal and Ethical Concerns in Nursing Administration
- Organizational Science and Leadership Strategies for Nurse Administrators
Online Nursing Administration and Management Graduate Certificate Programs
Many public and non-profit private colleges and universities now offer online graduate certificate programs in nursing administration and management through accredited schools of nursing. Leveraging advances in online learning technologies has allowed these schools to expand the reach of their programs to students who do not live within commuting range of the school’s campus, and to provide a more flexible alternative for students who are working full time and/or have other reasons that make attending campus-based classes impractical.
Online nursing administration graduate certificate programs provide the same type of training and instruction as campus-based programs but do so using internet-based distancing learning platforms. These platforms, often referred to as learning management systems (LMSs), support and facilitate the streaming of live and pre-recorded lectures and virtual class sessions. They also give students access to a range of course materials and to text messaging and/or video conferencing features that allow students to contact and interact with their instructors.
Some online programs utilize synchronous instruction, a mode of online learning that incorporates real-time lectures and instructional sessions. Other programs use asynchronous instruction, a more flexible mode of online instruction that does not have a real-time component and instead provides students with 24-7 access to pre-recorded lectures and instruction. Asynchronous instruction may be more convenient for some students, as it does not include classes that are scheduled for a particular time each week. However, it requires more self-discipline and time management skills to keep up with course materials in the absence of weekly scheduled lectures and discussion sessions. In contrast, synchronous instruction provides less scheduling flexibility but offers more structure, similar to a campus-based program, where students typically meet once a week during the evening for live online instruction.
Another factor to consider prior to applying to an online graduate certificate program is campus visits. Some programs are 100% online and do not require students to attend any campus-based sessions, while other programs have a limited number of campus-based requirements. Graduate certificate programs that offer most of their coursework online, requiring three or fewer campus visits per year, are classified as online programs by GraduateCertificates.com. Programs that require four or more campus visits are classified as blended or hybrid programs. A blended/hybrid program may be a reasonable option for students who live within commuting range of the school offering the program. For students who live further from a school’s campus, a blended/hybrid program may not be a practical option.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Nursing Administration and Management
The programs listed below are examples of online graduate certificate programs in nursing administration and management that are offered at accredited colleges and universities. The programs below are intended to provide a representative overview of the types of programs in nursing management and administration that are offered online.
The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers an online Nurse Administrator Graduate Certificate program through Penn State World Campus and the Penn State College of Nursing. The program is a post-baccalaureate graduate certificate program that is designed for licensed RNs who hold a BSN degree. Students in the program are required to take three graduate courses that overlap with a Nurse Administrator MSN program offered by Penn State World Campus for a total of nine graduate credits. Students then have the option of taking a fourth course in nursing administration that incorporates a four-credit practicum. Credits earned in the certificate program can be applied toward eventual completion of the MSN degree for those students who opt to pursue further graduate studies in nursing. The certificate program is fully online and does not require any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit Penn State World Campus at www.worldcampus.psu.edu.
Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT offers an online Advanced Graduate Certificate in Nursing Management & Executive Leadership program through its Davis & Henley College of Nursing. The program is a post-master’s graduate certificate program with a nursing administration and management curriculum consisting of four courses. The program is offered 100% online and does not require the completion of any clinical hours. Students in the program can take one or two courses per eight-week term and complete the program in one to two semesters. Applicants to the program must hold a valid and unencumbered RN license and an MSN degree from an accredited school of nursing. For more information on the program, visit Sacred Heart University at www.sacredheart.edu.
The University of Indianapolis offers an online Nurse Leader Certificate program through its School of Nursing. The program is a post-baccalaureate certificate program with a master’s level nursing administration and management curriculum that draws on an MSN in Nursing & Health Systems Leadership program offered by the school. Applicants are required to hold a valid RN license and a BSN degree from an accredited undergraduate program in nursing. Students can complete the Nurse Leader Certificate program, which consists of three courses for a total of nine credits, entirely online without having to attend any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit the University of Indianapolis’ School of Nursing at uindy.edu/nursing/.
More Graduate Certificates in Nursing Administration
Additional Graduate Certificates in Nursing
- AGACNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- AGPCNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- FNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate Programs
- Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate Programs
- PACNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- PMHNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- PPCNP Graduate Certificate Programs
- WHNP Graduate Certificate Programs
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