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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

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 2022 and 2032, creating 177,400 new jobs.


    The average salary for registered nurses is $81,220 per year, with the top 10% of workers in this profession making more than $129,400. A graduate certificate will help you reach the high end of your salary potential.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online graduate certificate in nursing programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the programs on our list have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of nursing programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the 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 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 Badge

University of Connecticut

Stony Brook School of Nursing

Saint Louis University

Duquesne University School of Nursing

Winona State University

Clarkson College

University of North Georgia

University of Kansas

University of Arizona

Ball State University

What You Should Know About This Degree

There are plenty of other degrees and certificates 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.

Only apply to schools approved by a DOE-recognized accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). If your school isn’t accredited, you may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

To be accepted into a graduate certicate in nursing program, you will likely need to already possess a bachelor’s in nursing degree.

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, basic life support, and other 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? 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.

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