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Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing

student nurse on laptop

About the Program

Expand your knowledge and credentials with a postgraduate certificate. Prepare for advanced practice in leadership, education and clinical practice.

We feature collaboration and placement with over 200 established partnerships in a variety of local and regional clinical settings. Our clinical preceptors are engaged, caring healthcare professionals who provide an invaluable piece of our students’ clinical education.

Both of the APRN postgraduate certificate options (FNP and PMHNP) allow students with a master's degree or doctorate degree in nursing who obtain further education to qualify for certification in the respective APRN specialty.

Certificate Options and Curriculum Plans

Clinical Nurse Leader (online program)

The online clinical nurse leader certificate is focused on integrating the vital work of clinical nurse leaders into every hospital. Graduates are prepared for coordination of care and clinical leadership in all health care settings. This certificate program is designed for nurses who currently hold a master’s degree in nursing education, nursing administration or clinical nurse specialist. Courses for the certificate are designed to meet the national AACN requirements for the student to become a clinical nurse leader, and graduates are eligible to sit for the clinical nurse leader certification exam.

The program coursework is delivered online and includes a field-based practicum. The program of study is individualized. Interested applicants are advised to contact the graduate nursing department to discuss options. For required courses and more information, see the clinical nurse leader curriculum plan.

Nurse Educator (online program)

The postgraduate nurse educator certificate program prepares graduates to utilize theories of teaching and learning in a variety of settings with emphasis on nursing education. Graduates demonstrate the ability to plan, implement and evaluate nursing education programs. Individuals who have earned a nursing master's degree from SDSU or any other CCNE or ACEN accredited nursing program are eligible to apply. Graduates may be eligible to earn national certification as a certified nurse educator. Individuals must meet eligibility requirements before they can take the exam.

The program coursework is delivered online and includes a field-based practicum. The postgraduate nursing education certification program of study is individualized. Interested applicants are advised to contact the graduate nursing department to discuss options. For required courses and more information, see the nurse educator curriculum plan.

Family Nurse Practitioner (blended face-to-face and online program)

Graduates of the postgraduate family nurse practitioner certificate program are prepared to deliver evidence-based direct patient care at an advanced practice level to individuals across the lifespan in primary care settings with an emphasis on rural healthcare. Graduates of this program are prepared to deliver evidence-based direct patient care at an advanced practice level to individuals across the lifespan in primary care settings. Graduates are eligible to write certification examinations in Family Nurse Practitioner from either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP). Applicants must also meet any additional eligibility criteria in effect when they apply for certification.

A blend of online and face-to-face course delivery ensures convenience and accessibility. Many courses are online, but some require intermittent in-person attendance. Students complete a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical practice preceptorship in a variety of settings, including mandatory practice in rural settings. For required courses and more information, see the family nurse practitioner curriculum plan.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (online program)

The online postgraduate psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate will prepare you to effectively care for patients with complex psychiatric and physical health needs. Advanced nursing practice in psychiatric mental health covers both outpatient and inpatient care, children through elderly individuals, and mild depression and anxiety to significantly disabling conditions including substance abuse, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. This certificate prepares graduates to provide much needed high-quality mental health care to all populations and conditions in a variety of rural and urban settings. Graduates are prepared to sit for the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certification exam through American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

All courses are online and include 540 clinical hours. For required courses and more information, see the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner curriculum plan.

Ready to take the next step?

Program Outcomes
To prepare clinical nurse leaders, nurse educators, family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners who:
  • apply knowledge of evidence-based practice,
  • engage in life-long learning, and
  • serve South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world in urban, rural and frontier health care settings.
Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the program, the graduate will successfully demonstrate the following outcomes:
  • Display competence within the legal scope of practice for chosen specialization. 
  • Evaluate and utilize research within advanced nursing practice. 
  • Integrate cultural learning into nursing practice to effectively tailor health care to the diverse lifestyles of clients. 
Specialization Specific Student Learning Outcomes

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Certificate

  • Assess, diagnose, and treat patients appropriately throughout the lifespan who present to primary care for acute and chronic health conditions.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the professional and legal aspects of the family nurse practitioner role.
  • Develop patient centered treatment plans that demonstrate understanding of physical assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacologic principles and integrate cultural, socioeconomic, and spiritual factors.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Certificate

  • Assess, diagnose, and treat patients appropriately throughout the lifespan who present to psychiatric mental health settings for acute and chronic health conditions.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the professional and legal aspects of the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner role.
  • Develop age-appropriate treatment plans for patients with mental health problems and psychiatric disorders that incorporate psychosocial and physical assessment, pharmacologic standards, are based on therapeutic relationship strategies, and integrate cultural, socioeconomic, and spiritual factors.