Nursing certificate programs are a popular education option for aspiring nurses. This is because most of the coursework can be finished in a year or so, allowing students to pursue their careers sooner. Graduates with nursing certificates are eligible to become entry-level nurses such as Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPNs/LVNs) or staff nurses.
Nursing certificate programs are offered by many types of school including junior colleges, universities and career institutes. Online programs are also available, which may offer a mixture of online and in-person clinical exercises.
Nursing Certificate Coursework
The best nursing certificate programs are accredited by The AACN’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly called the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). While specific courses may vary from one program to the next, most teach similar classes.
Some common core subjects in nursing certificate programs are:
- Medical Terminology
- Nursing Practices
- Mental Health Nursing
In addition to coursework, nursing students complete a certain number of hours of supervised clinical training. During this time they work with nurses and physicians in live healthcare environments.
Other Types of Nursing Programs
Although completing one of the nursing certificate programs is the fastest way to become an LPN/LVN, you also have the option of continuing your education and becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). You can become an RN by enrolling in one of the nursing degree programs or nursing diploma programs. Although these programs typically take several years to complete, you will be able to further your career and earn a higher salary as an RN.
In addition to the standard nursing classes found in nursing certificate programs, diploma and degree programs include additional courses as well as more clinical training. Unlike LPNs/LVNs, RNs play more of a leadership role, often supervising a group of nurses. RNs with advanced degrees may even become eligible to work in teaching and research positions.
After Earning a Nursing Certificate
Once you complete one of the nursing certificate programs, you must still become licensed. In every state across the country, LPNs/LVNs need a license before they can begin working. In order to earn a nursing license, you must pass an exam in addition to earning a certificate from an accredited training program. The licensing exam for LPNs/LVNs is known as the NCLEX-PN and it costs $200 to take.
After becoming licensed, you will be ready to begin your career. There are several opportunities for advancement after completing one of the nursing certificate programs. For example, there are several LPN to RN programs that allow you to work toward an RN position during your career as an LPN. Some LPNs/LVNs also naturally advance to supervisor position with experience and additional training.
Nursing Certificate Programs Enrolling Now