Become a Nurse Leader Who Can Impact Patient Lives and Influence Your Community
As a motivated registered nurse (RN) with an MSN degree, you have already established your career in caring. Now you're ready to take on new managerial challenges in nurse leadership and beyond. If your vision of your professional future includes a role in nursing administration and management, a Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management can be your next step. Improve healthcare systems, advance patient care, and create a positive environment for other employees as a nurse executive or clinical nurse leader.
Advance your nursing practice and become an effective transformational leader in healthcare. In this post-master's nurse leader certificate, we will empower you with the knowledge and skills to make it happen.
Expected time to completion
The program consists of 16 competency units and is paced to be completed in two six-month terms.
Tuition per six-month term is
Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. Finish faster, pay less!
Graduates who recommend WGU:
The vast majority of alumni say WGU delivered on its promises. In fact, over 50% of students found WGU thanks to a friend's recommendation.
Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?
Next Start Date: January 1
Start Dates the 1st of Every Month
Leading with Personal Mastery prepares the advanced professional nurse to demonstrate self-awareness, self-management, executive function, and social awareness skills while leading and managing in diverse healthcare settings. In this course, students will learn how to incorporate these skills when developing personal relationships and building teams. Developing both social and emotional intelligence as a nurse leader will ensure that students have the ability develop strong relationships and make wise decisions when interacting with others. Increasing personal mastery will provide students with a set of tools and strategies to improve healthcare by producing high-quality results. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses, as a leader in healthcare will help students create a vision for success that includes making choices that will help balance their work life more effectively.
Business Case Analysis for Healthcare Improvement provides learning experiences that help students develop essential skills for proposing changes that improve and enhance healthcare outcomes. In this course, students will develop a business case during the early stages of a project by assessing the need for the project and the feasibility of initiating a project. Understanding the techniques used to develop a business case will provide students with the skills to obtain buy-in from key stakeholders and determine the best value strategy. Writing a strong business case presents the benefits, challenges, costs, and risks of moving forward with the project or maintaining status quo. It compares the current situation to a future vision so key stakeholders can make data-driven decisions to move forward with the project. During the development of a business case in this course, students will collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to initiate a healthcare improvement project (HIP) that is grounded in project management principles and influenced by stakeholder perspectives.
Strategically Planning the Execution of a Healthcare Improvement Project will help students develop the skills for systems thinking, problem-solving, and data-driven decision-making. In this course, students will plan the implementation of a healthcare improvement project by identifying people, processes, and procedures that need to be in place for implementation. In addition, sociodemographic data on the population that may be affected by the healthcare improvement project will be analyzed to determine risks and opportunities. During this phase, students will perform an assessment of the forces for and against implementing the project. They will also identify short-term objectives and create action plans to align to the vision, mission, and values of the organization where the project will be implemented. Students will also examine the evolution of existing policies, procedures, and processes at the systems level for the purpose of advocating change that will support a healthcare improvement project. During this course, students will plan the implementation of their healthcare improvement project through the use of sociodemographic and health data, strategic planning, and a comprehensive integration of quality and safety concepts.
The Nursing Leadership and Management Field Experience course provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills they developed in previous courses toward the successful implementation of their healthcare improvement project (HIP). This phase puts into action all the components of project management that were planned and developed while working collaboratively with key stakeholders to establish the need and feasibility of the HIP, analyzing the organizational readiness for change, and planning the implementation and evaluation phases. In this phase, students will develop and implement a training plan for staff, managers, and leaders. They will also implement the communication plan they developed in a previous course. They will also manage the implementation process by applying organizational standards and practices. Students will demonstrate strong leadership skills when meeting with stakeholders to report the status of the implementation phase and collaboratively problem-solve risks. Completion of the specialty courses is a pre-requisite for this course.
The Nursing Leadership and Management Capstone provides students with an opportunity to evaluate and close their capstone project. This is the final course in the MSN Leadership and Management program. Students will evaluate the success of their healthcare improvement project (HIP) by analyzing results, using the key performance indicators and metrics that were identified while planning the evaluation phase. Students will present the results of the improvement project in a final report and presentation with a focus on lessons learned throughout each of the phases: initiation, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Reflective and analytic thinking are essential aspects of a capstone project, as students reflect and report on the successes and challenges encountered in each phase. Nursing Leadership and Management Field Experience is a prerequisite for this course.
Managing Human and Financial Resources in an Era of Disruption examines the main premise of people and fiscal leadership. This includes the promotion of healthy work environments through the development of programs in support of mitigating behavior problems for the betterment of work-life balance. Students will analyze business model budgets, revenue streams, and human and financial resource allocation, develop training programs to evaluate compliance and regulatory requirement, and create team building experiences to promote high performing teams by improving engagement, establishing trust, and achieving common goals. Students will assess an organization’s mission, vision, and values to establish alignment between healthcare improvement and an organization’s principles for management. Changes in healthcare are inevitable, as the business success strategies used in the past are not sufficient for surviving in an era of persistent disruption. This course will help students develop the skills nurse leaders need to become partners in recommending innovative strategies that promote value-based healthcare for the future.
Evidence-based measures for evaluating healthcare improvements is an essential component of the planning phase of the healthcare improvement project. In this course, students will determine key performance indicators and metrics used to determine the success of a healthcare improvement project (HIP). The student will develop collaborative partnerships and build consensus with stakeholders to determine how specific data will be collected, managed, and analyzed. This is also an opportunity to discuss data issues and technologies needed for the project. To accomplish this phase, students will also determine the parameters, procedures, and technologies needed for data collection, management, analysis, and reporting.
The learner will explore professional communication by applying the principles of academic writing to their discipline. Learners will incorporate these skills into the development of an evidence-based scholarly paper in their specialty area. As learners develop a scholarly paper, they will acquire a deeper understanding of the research topic selected and analyze whether initiatives and interventions have been effective or ineffective.
This program consists of 8 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.
Special requirements for this program
While most of your coursework will be completed online, your nursing program includes some requirements—including field experiences—that must be completed in a facility near you. And while most of your courses can be accelerated based on your prior knowledge and hard work, some nursing programs begin with a cohort-based course that must be completed via five scheduled webcam sessions with faculty and fellow students.
Top accreditations mean that your certificate is respected by employers and peers. You will get a quality education that is valuable in the industry with this nursing leadership program.
On Your Schedule
You can continue working at your full-time job or maintaining your responsibilities while earning your nursing leadership post-master's credential. You don't have to log in to classes and there aren't due dates. You are in charge of your program.
When you enroll in the nursing management certificate program at WGU, you join an impressive network of healthcare professionals. Over 18,000 students earned healthcare degrees from WGU in 2020 alone, and are hard at work, changing the lives of patients and impacting communities.
One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.
COST & TIME
An Affordable Nursing Leadership Certificate
By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their programs. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.
A Nursing Certificate Is Within Reach
There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:
A Certificate in Nursing Management Designed to Be Earned on a Nurse's Busy Schedule
Competency-based education puts working nurses in the driver’s seat of their education. As a busy nurse, you need a certificate program that's more than simply online—you need one that truly reflects the realities of your work life and experience. At WGU, your progress is driven by your ability to prove what you’ve learned. How quickly is largely up to you. Once you’ve mastered the defined competencies (knowledge and skills), you prove what you know through tests, papers, projects, or other assessments. Demonstrating mastery is how you pass a course, so learning what it takes to be outstanding in your career is at the heart of WGU’s curriculum.
Other online certificate programs may give you the convenience of distance learning; WGU's competency-based online programs take that flexibility further—many steps further!
A Program That Prepares You to Lead Healthcare Teams
Once you have completed your Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing–Leadership and Management, you will have the knowledge and skills to be an outstanding nurse manager, leader, or administrator. You'll be in demand because you'll be prepared to translate your extensive nursing knowledge into strong, effective leadership, guidance, mentorship, and management that will change your team—and your facility—for the better.
Nurse leaders combine their technical nursing know-how with strong people skills, organizational prowess, and business knowledge to lead healthcare teams to success—success that transforms lives. As a nurse leader, you may increase your earning power. But beyond that, your daily work will improve the quality of life not only for patients, but for the nurses you lead. As a qualified and compassionate nurse leader, your expertise and human touch can make your healthcare facility a place of positivity and healing.
Return on Your Investment
Nursing Leadership Graduates Have Highly Rewarding Careers
Our 3,300-plus Nursing Leadership and Management alumni have great jobs and satisfying careers:
- Director of nursing
- Chief nursing officer
- Quality director
- Clinical nurse leader
- Project manager
- Health systems
- Cancer centers
- Local, state, or federal government
- Hospice providers
- Ascension Health
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- U.S. Army
- UCLA Health System
WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers
Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a credential from WGU, so your nursing certificate is valuable.
Admissions Requirements Unique to This Program
To be considered for this post-master's certificate program in nursing, you must:
- Possess an M.S. in Nursing from an accredited institution or state board of nursing approved program.
- Possess an active, unencumbered RN license in your state of residence, or your state of employment. (Some license holders may be granted a waiver if they are not licensed in their state of residence or employment.) You must be licensed in the state in which you will complete your clinical experience.
Safety Notice: WGU and the College of Health Professions (CHP) are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all patients, community members, and key stakeholders that interact with WGU students at various clinical/host sites. Interactions might include direct patient interaction, observation experiences, laboratory experiences, project development, or conducting research. Standard compliance verification for students in applicable CHP programs is required to protect the public, meet CHP program expectations, reasonably assure compliance with state regulatory board requirements, meet WGU’s contractual and legal obligations with clinical partners, and support WGU’s mission to prepare students who will be qualified to enter their desired field. Compliance items may include, but are not limited to, background checks, immunizations, and drug screens as needed.
Get Your Enrollment Checklist
Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.
Get Your Questions Answered
Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.
More About the Nursing Leadership Certificate
- General Program Questions
- Financial Aid Questions
In order to be eligible for this certificate program, you must be a registered nurse with an active, unencumbered RN license and hold a MSN degree from an accredited program.
Yes! WGU does offer scholarship opportunities for students in post-master's certificate programs.
As a nonprofit university, WGU doesn’t need to benefit shareholders. Our students are our only focus. We also try to keep our operating costs low. And since we’re an exclusively online university, we don’t need to maintain expensive classroom buildings, a campus, or other nonacademic programs.
A post-master's certificate in nursing is a great option for MSN graduates who are looking to change the trajectory of their careers. For example, MSN-educated nurses who want to become a nurse manager can benefit from a post-master's certificate in nursing leadership and management.
Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:
- How to apply
- Eligibility requirements
- Examples of scholarships
- What happens after you apply
- Other financial aid options
WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at other schools.
Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?