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Nursing Administration Certification and Certificate Programs

A graduate certificate program in nursing administration is available for experienced nurses who have earned undergraduate or graduate degrees and want to advance to management positions in the field. Learn more about the curriculum and future opportunities for those who finish.

Essential Information

Experienced nurses who are interested in directing their careers toward nursing administration may earn a graduate certificate in the field. Most of these certificate programs are designed as post-master's certificates for nurses who have earned their master's degree in a different specialty area, but there are also programs that admit registered nurses who only have bachelor's degrees. Application materials include transcripts, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation. Most programs are offered on a part-time basis in order to meet the scheduling needs of working nurses and can usually be completed in one year or less.


Nursing Administration Certification

In graduate certificate programs in nursing administration, nurses develop the management and organizational skills needed for leadership positions in healthcare institutions. Rather than focusing on clinical practice, courses emphasize the administrative aspects of the healthcare field. Some programs also include a practicum in which students learn about the daily processes of nurse administration. Common course topics include:

  • Financial management and budgeting
  • Health Informatics and information systems
  • Theory and application of organizational behavior
  • Executive managerial processes
  • Human resources and communications
  • Strategic planning

Popular Career Options

The career choices available for those with a graduate certificate in nursing administration are high-level administrative positions within healthcare institutions. Following are just a few of those job choices.

  • Nurse Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Quality Improvement Coordinator
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Program Administrator
  • Nurse Executive

Continuing Education

According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a person who works in nursing administration is now called a nurse executive. The ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association and is the largest and most distinguished organization offering nursing credentials. The organization now offers nurse executive certification entitled the Nurse Executive - Board Certified (NE-BC) and the Nurse Executive Advanced - Board Certified (NEA-BC).

In order to sit for this exam, the student must hold an active registered nursing license and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or higher. He or she must also hold an administrative-level job in a facility or be a faculty member in a graduate program for nursing administration. Continuing education credits must also be met within the few years prior to completing the exam for certification.

The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Certification Center offers Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) credentials. The examination for this certification covers economics, marketing, staffing issues, management systems, ethics, legal aspects, and other topics. To be eligible for this examination, students must hold an active registered nurse license and at least a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, along with experience in an executive nursing position.

Trained nurses who want to redirect their careers toward management, rather than clinical care, can benefit from a graduate certificate in nursing administration. These programs prepare nurses for career advancement and optional professional certifications.

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