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Graduate Certificates


With a 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 advisors, 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, Hershey, Fayette, Schuylkill, Scranton, and Shenango campuses. Specialties in family, adult-gerontology primary care are available, and adult-gerontology acute care is available at the Hershey campus only.

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

For more information, please see the link for NP programs –

Gerontology Graduate Certificate

This program is offered through the College of Nursing and hosted online by University Park. 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. Details are available in the Graduate Bulletin – Email with any questions you have after viewing the Graduate Bulletin hyperlink.

Primary Palliative Care Certification

This program is offered through the College of Nursing and hosted online by University Park.

This program is for baccalaureate-prepared nurses and other health professionals interested in the principles and practices of patient-centered palliative care. More details are available at Email with questions.


Admission requirements are outlined on the World Campus website for the Nurse Administrator and Nurse Educator Certificates. Admission requirements for the Gerontology and Primary Palliative Care Certificates are shown in the bulletin at the link provided under the certificate heading.

Nurse Practitioner certificate candidates must meet the admission requirements for the MSN Nurse Practitioner program. To apply to the program you’ll need to complete the Graduate School application.

Application Deadlines

Nurse Administration certification – February 15 (FALL) and September 15 (SPRING)

Nurse Educator certification – February 15 (FALL) and September 15 (SPRING)

Nurse Practitioner certification – April 1

Gerontology Postbaccalaureate certification – July 1 (FALL) and November 15 (SPRING)

Primary Palliative Care certification – July 1 (FALL) and November 15 (SPRING).

Locations – Graduate Certificates

Nurse Administration – World Campus

Nurse Educator – World Campus

Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner – Fayette, Hershey, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, & University Park

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – Fayette, Hershey, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, & University Park

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Hershey

Primary Palliative Care – University Park, Online

Gerontology Postbaccalaureate – University Park, Online


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

Typically, 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 and when you begin. Nurse Practitioner certificate requirements are based on a Gap Analysis of the student’s educational history. Your academic advisor 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 is available at

World campus tuition rates are located at

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is not available to certificate students.