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Part of Western Governors University

Post-Master's Certificates in Nursing

Add the Specialty Skills That Take Your MSN Further

As an MSN-educated nurse, your work in health care changes lives every day. Now, you have more opportunity to advance your health care career and impact patient care with a post-master’s certificate in nursing. You already have critical skills and knowledge that have brought you to an impactful career—now you can add additional specialty skills that will allow you to go further.

At WGU, there are two post-master’s certificate nursing programs that help master’s degree-holding nursing professionals advance in or diversify their career paths:

  • Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Education
  • Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management

These post master nursing certificate programs allow current MSN-educated nurses to take on additional specialties, pivot their careers, and boost their résumés.


Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Education

The Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Education program is designed for nursing professionals who want to move into nursing education or clinical instruction. If you are passionate about helping other nurses who are looking to advance their own careers, a nursing education career could be the perfect fit for you. This certificate prepares nurses who already hold a master’s degree to improve their career outlook and work in education roles such as preceptor, clinical instructor, and nursing educator.

The 16-competency unit (WGU's equivalent of credits) program can be completed in two terms (about 12 months). This program may help you prepare to sit for these valuable certification exams, if you choose: National League for Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam and Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE-cl) exam. Students will learn about nursing course design, strategies to measure learning, emerging trends in nursing education, and more. This post-master’s certificate includes valuable field experience, which will prepare students for the real-world experiences that come with being a nurse educator.

Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management

The Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management program is designed for nursing professionals who are ready to become managers and leaders in their hospital or clinic. This certificate qualifies master’s degree-holding nurses to advance into roles in nurse management, including job titles like director of nursing, chief nursing officer, and clinical nurse leader.

This accredited post-master’s certificate program contains 16 competency units (WGU's equivalent of credits) and can be completed in two terms (about 12 months). Unique to this certificate program is the opportunity for students to earn NAHQ industry certification by sitting for the CPHQ exam at no additional cost for the first attempt. Our Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management also prepares students to sit for the following certifications after graduation:

  • AACN Certified Nurse Leader (CNL)
  • ANCC Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC)
  • AONL Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) or Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)

In this program you will learn about strategic planning, business care, managing resources, and more. Field experience will be critical in preparing you for the rigors of management positions in nursing.

A medical doctor helps his colleague practice the method of injecting into an arm. They are working together in the hospital ward.

Who Should Get a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing?

A post-master’s certificate in nursing is a great option for nursing professionals with an MSN degree to further their education and expand their certifications and career opportunities. To satisfy admission requirements, you will need to have an active, unencumbered RN license and have completed an MSN degree program from an accredited institution in order to qualify for a post-master’s certificate in nursing. Post-master’s certificates at WGU allow nurses who can fulfill the admission requirements to accelerate their current health care career progression or potentially make a shift to a different role within the field of nursing. Whether you’re considering an additional nursing program to become a nurse educator or expanding your options within nurse leadership, one of our post-master’s certificates in nursing can provide the skills and credentials you need to stand out.

How Long Does a Post-Master’s Certificate Take?

6–12 months

Utilize your knowledge, MSN degree, and experience to help you accelerate through courses at a pace that works for you and your life. You can continue to work full-time, taking on courses whenever it works for your busy schedule.

How Much Does a Post-Master’s Certificate Cost?

$4,240 per six-month term

At WGU, tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit. So you can take as many credits as you are able during the term and not pay more. This allows students to save money the faster they are able to go through their courses.

Do I Need an MSN to Apply to a Certificate Program?


In order to apply for these post-master’s certificate programs, you must already hold an MSN degree. These specific nursing certificates are meant to be added on to your current MSN degree. They do not take the place of an advanced nursing degree.

Benefits of a Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing

A post-master’s certificate in nursing can open up a number of career opportunities to nursing professionals, including:

  • A career change. If you’re a nurse with a master’s degree looking to shift to another career within the field of nursing, a certificate can help. Coursework and the credentials you will earn are critical in demonstrating that you are prepared for a different field of work inside nursing.
  • Increased job stability. Earning a post master certificate adds to your healthcare qualifications, and it can help improve your job security. The more qualified you are, the more indispensable you become, and the more value you can provide to your employer.
  • Increased earning potential. With an advanced nursing certificate, you can often qualify for higher-paying positions within the field of nursing. For instance, a chief nursing officer can make an average of more than $239,000 per year. You may also be able to increase your pay grade in your current position.

Why WGU?

A post master certificate in nursing from WGU has a number of benefits, including:

A flexible online course format.

Our online courses are available anytime, anywhere. This allows you to study around your busy work schedule without worrying about going to class at a specific time and location.

Curriculum designed for immediate application to your current job.

Our online competency-based model makes it easy to maintain your current work schedule while using what you’re learning in your day-to-day work. Our curriculum aligns with the latest trends and challenges in nursing and provides immediately actionable knowledge.

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A learning model that allows you to graduate faster.

Our competency-based model allows you to use your current skills and experience to move through your courses more quickly, instead of spending time on subjects or materials you already know or understand well.

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A lower tuition cost than other online certificate options.

At WGU, our goal is to make education accessible and valuable. That’s why we work to make sure our tuition is as affordable as possible. Scholarships and federal aid also make our already-low tuition even more affordable for most students.

Nursing Post-Master's Certificate FAQs

A post-master’s certificate allows individuals who already hold an MSN degree to gain additional skills and credentials that often qualify them for a new job or better trajectory within their healthcare careers. Certificates are less broad and more specialized than general master’s degrees. Post-master’s certificates provide specialty knowledge and training in a subject area the student has not already studied in their master's program, giving students the experience they need for a specific career.

Yes. A post-master’s certificate can provide a great return on investment. It not only increases your value in your current healthcare role, but also helps you learn additional skills and gain qualifications to progress into a higher-paying position with a better career outlook. Most graduates report having a 13–25% pay increase due to a post-master’s certificate. That bump in pay helps you see great ROI for your investment.

Still have questions?

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