Current opportunities to join our faculty. Learn more

nurse typing at keyboard

Graduate Certificates


With the completely online format, you don’t need to put your life on hold to continue your nursing education. You’re never alone as a student in Penn State’s online nursing programs. Our online campus connects you with highly regarded faculty from the Penn State College of Nursing, fellow students, caring advisers, and other experts who will support you during every step of your education.

Graduate Certificate in Nurse Administrator

As medical conditions become increasingly complex across our population, nurses will continue to be an integral part of the overall care of patients. However, nurses with the ability to lead and manage people, and who also possess the knowledge of how to improve the business processes in a hospital or health system, will be in high demand.

This certificate is designed as a “stand-alone” certificate or can serve as a “step-up” to the Nurse Administrator option in the Master of Science in Nursing degree. When you have successfully completed our nurse administrator certificate program, you may apply the credits toward the master’s degree, if granted admission to enter the highly competitive program.

Graduate Certificate in Nurse Educator

As medical diagnoses and patient care become more complex, a serious nursing shortage could impact the quality of nursing staff in the United States. And, unfortunately, since there are fewer nurses with the background to teach prospective students, many nursing programs are forced to turn away qualified applicants.

The Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate is an excellent stand-alone credential to help you explore a teaching role. In addition, all of the required credits in this graduate certificate can be applied toward the Nurse Educator option of the Master of Science in Nursing, if you are granted admission into the highly competitive degree program.

Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate

This program is a great option for nurses who are preparing to take advantage of the nationwide demand for nurse practitioners.

Delivered in-person, this program enables individuals with a master’s degree in nursing to obtain certification as a nurse practitioner. This certificate is offered at University Park, Hershy, Fayette, Schuylkill, Scranton, and Shenango campuses. Specialties in family, adult-gerontology primary care, and adult-gerontology acute care are available.

Because this program is in-person, it requires admission through Penn State’s Graduate School.

Gerontology Graduate Certificate

This program is offered through the College of Nursing and hosted online, independent of the World Campus. This certificate program provides a strong foundation in gerontology and palliative care.

Applicants should have a B.S.N. or bachelor’s degree in a health-related field. Email for more information.

Primary Palliative Care Certification

This program is offered through the College of Nursing and hosted online, independent of the World Campus.

This program is for baccalaureate-prepared nurses and other health professionals interested in the principles and practices of patient-centered palliative care. Email for more information.


All the certificate programs are offered entirely online through the College of Nursing or Penn State World Campus unless otherwise noted.


Admission requirements are outlined on the World Campus website. To apply to the program you’ll need to complete the Graduate School application.

Application deadline – July 1 and November 15


How long does it take to complete one of these programs?

Typically, only one or two courses in each certificate program are offered each semester. Most students complete the program in three to four semesters, but it may be possible to finish in two semesters depending on the offering schedule. Your academic adviser can help you to develop your plans for completing the courses in as timely a manner as possible.

How much does it cost to complete one of the certificates?

Part-time students at Penn State pay per credit. The cost per credit for the 2018-2019 academic year is $555, although this rate may increase from year to year.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is not available to non-degree students at Penn State.