Why This Matters


    While most nurses are employed in hospitals, you can also find work in ambulatory healthcare services, residential care facilities, government positions, and educational services.


    Nursing jobs are expected to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, creating 195,400 new jobs.


    As of 2021, the national median wage for all occupations is $45,760, while the median wage for registered nurses is $77,600.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online Graduate Certificate in Nursing programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of nursing-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online Graduate Certificate in Nursing programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 50 Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing Programs

Best Graduate Certificate in Nursing Programs 2023
Intelligent Pick
University of Connecticut
Most Affordable
Stony Brook School of Nursing
Best Private Institution
Saint Louis University
Best Catholic Institution
Duquesne University School of Nursing
Best Public Institution
Winona State University
Best Part-time Program
Clarkson College
Most Flexible Admissions
University of Kansas
Best for Adult Learners
The University of Arizona
Best in the Midwest
Ball State University

What You Should Know About This Degree

There are plenty of other degrees in the medical field you can pursue, such as clinical laboratory science, cytotechnology, radiology, pharmacy, and audiology, among others. However, while nursing is a more general degree for overall patient care, these other programs require more specific science courses that often add an extra year of study, requiring a bachelor’s degree before pursuing further education.

The majority of BSN (Bachelor of Nursing) programs across the United States receive accreditation from CCNE. Search for online certificates that are accredited by this institution, or by a reputable regional alternative.

The job outlook for those entering the nursing profession is extremely positive, with a 6% growth rate anticipated in the next decade. While there were 3,130,600 registered nursing positions in 2021, it’s projected that this number will increase to 3,326,000 by 2031.

A BSN, which takes four years to complete, gives applicants an edge over those with lesser qualifications. An ASN, or Associate of Science in Nursing degree, takes just two to three years to complete and may be sufficient for work in some hospital settings.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online graduate certificate in nursing programs:

  • What licensing or certifications are required? To become a registered nurse, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), BLS (basic life support ), and ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) certifications may also be necessary depending on the area of work you want to pursue after graduation.
  • How long does it take to complete this online program? To complete a graduate certificate in nursing, the timeline ranges from one to three semesters based on the program and credit requirements.

As you research individual programs to determine which one is the best fit for you, keep track of application deadlines and admission requirements. Having an organized system for this information will make it easier for you to apply successfully when the time comes. Also, take note of the cost per credit at each institution to get a sense of the expenses.