What is a Nursing Post Master’s Certificate?
As a nurse, your time is valuable. You might wonder how it’s possible to fit in one more thing, on top of your long shifts and trying to have a personal life. If you’re ready to further your career, but don’t want to dedicate years of studying to a Ph.D., earning a post master’s certificate can be a great way to bolster your credentials, learn more about your craft, and get up to date on the latest in patient care in a specialty field of your choice.
Post master’s certificates can be useful for both nurses in direct patient care and for nurses in the academic field. When pursuing a post master’s certificate, you have a few different options. If you already have a specialty, you could earn your certificate in your specialty field, helping you learn even more about the latest care techniques for the patients you work with on a day to day basis. If you’re interested in learning more about a new specialty, you could choose to earn your certificate in a field that’s entirely new to you. Many nurses choose to earn certificates in fields they enjoyed learning about in nursing school, but have yet to pursue professionally. Nurses can also choose to earn certificates in areas that are outside the scope of patient care, such as health care administration or nurse education. These certificates can be a great option for nurses who are interested in moving on to leadership or teaching roles.
What Does a Nurse with a Post Master’s Certificate Do?
There are many different paths for nurses to take after earning their post master’s certificates. Some nurses choose to stay in their current career field, using the knowledge they gained through certification to hone their craft and provide top notch patient care. Others become leaders of nurses at their facility, often taking on a supervisory role and reporting to upper management. Some nurses choose to leave direct patient care altogether after earning their post master’s certificate, and may move on to a management role at a health care management organization, or move into academia and begin providing nurses-to-be with education.
Career & Median Salary
Earning a post master’s certificate can lead to a variety of new nursing jobs and salaries. Remember, the below salaries are median. Actual salaries may be higher or lower depending on the financial health of your organization and its location, as well as your years of education and level of experience.
Registered Nurse – Median Salary $63,000
Many registered nurses choose to remain in their current career after earning their post master’s certificate. Many employers increase pay and responsibilities upon completion of a certificate program.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse – Median Salary $64,000
Earning certification to work with psychiatric patients can be interesting and rewarding for nurses who have an interest in providing mental health care. In addition to providing direct patient care and administering medication, psychiatric nurses often work closely with patients and their families.
Neonatal Nurse – Median Salary $63,000
If you love babies, becoming a neonatal nurse may be a great fit for you. Neonatal nurses specialize in helping mothers and their babies during and immediately after birth.
Intensive Care Unit Nurse – Median Salary $64,000
Intensive care unit nurses provide direct care to patients who have critical health situations. While working in the intensive care unit can be stressful, it can also be extremely rewarding.
How Nurses Can Earn a Post Master’s Certificate
It’s important to note that there is a difference between completing a post master’s certificate program and actually earning a post master’s certification. A certificate program provides coursework, practical knowledge, and classroom experience to help prepare you for your certification exam. Sometimes, the hands on portion of the certification process can be done in tandem with the work you’re already doing. This means that while you’re at work, you’ll meet with your supervisor to discuss techniques in patient care that relate to the certificate you’re earning. In some cases, this is not possible, and you may need to put in unpaid hours as an intern to fulfill the practical requirements of your certificate program. In order to actually earn most certificates, you’ll need to pass the exam. Some of the specialty exams can be difficult, and many nurses require more than one try to pass, even after completing a post master’s certificate program. Be sure to talk to your program advisor about what you’ll need to do to actually become certified in the specialty of your choice.
You’ll also want to talk with your employer to see if they’re willing to cover the cost of your education. Many employers are willing to at least partially pay for graduate school credits. Be sure to learn about the requirements of any workplace reimbursement programs that may be in place. Some require you to maintain certain grades in order to receive benefits, while others require you to continue working at the same facility for a number of years after your school has been paid for.
Is Getting a Post Master’s Certificate the Right Choice for You?
Nurses are busy, and it’s important to think about your future career goals when you’re deciding whether pursuing a post master’s certificate is the right choice for you. Think about your future career goals. Do you have the education you need to advance in your career? Are you future salary goals in line with your current position? If not, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to further your education to meet your goals.
Many post master’s certificate programs offer at least some classes online, which can make it easier to succeed with your busy schedule. Online learning allows you to progress at your own pace, on your own time. With most certificates, you’ll also need to put in some in-person practical hours. It’s important to talk with your program advisor about how you’ll complete this aspect of the program to ensure that it’s doable with your current schedule. You’ll also want to consider the number of credits required for your certification of choice. Some certifications require as few as nine credits, while others require as many as 42. Consider how much time you’ll be able to devote to your coursework when choosing the certificate you’d like to pursue.
If you’re passionate about patients getting the best care possible, it’s likely that a nursing post master’s certificate is a good fit for you. Nurses tend to be high achievers who know how to manage time well. If this sounds like you, you’ll have no problem fitting a post master’s certification into your schedule.
American Nurse Today