Nurse Students Earn Certificates in Hospital-Based Programs

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Online Certificate Programs

A number of colleges offer online nursing certificate programs, including Post University, Purdue University Global, Drexel University, and Lewis University.

Work While Learning

Nursing diploma programs are part of a dying breed. Once upon a time this degree level was perhaps as popular as the Associates in Nursing degree is now. But over the last couple of decades diploma programs have been overwhelmingly phased out and entry-level nurses with at least an Associates degree are preferred in a professional setting.

This does not mean all gloom and doom for students that think they’d prefer a nursing diploma program. There are still some programs that work for diploma candidates. Diploma programs are provided by host hospitals, often in conjunction with an on-site nursing school or in partnership with a local community college. Programs are designed to teach and train nursing students at the same time they work as nurses’ aides within the hospital. Diploma programs do not present the fastest track to licensure—most take up to 3 years to complete.

Further, some specialty programs enable one to quickly work in fields like medical transcription, medical assisting or physical therapy assisting.

Diploma Programs vs. Degree Programs

Nursing students that complete a diploma program generally earn a certificate, not a degree. But some programs have changed their curriculum; some do include a two-year degree as part of the process. This is important for entry-level nurses to know. Before they may advance to another educational level they may have to take an advanced placement program that assesses them for college level work if their diploma program fall short of a degree. Candidates must check with the specific diploma program to discover its degree description. All diploma programs should provide ample training so students are prepared to take the RN licensure exam.

Course Curriculum and Prerequisites

Most programs require diploma candidates to have a number of course prerequisites prior to enrollment. Requirements may include a college-level chemistry and/or biology course, anatomy and physiology, math, and a sociology or psychology course along with a minimum GPA.

The career advantage to a diploma program is that most graduates may continue to work within the host hospital, which means that job placement is immediate and students are already familiar with their environment and work demands.

Diploma Programs


Nurse diploma programs are not as plentiful as they once were, some estimates suggest only about 100 programs exist in the U.S. But the nursing shortage is such that diploma programs must not be overlooked. They continue to fulfill a purpose–to train hospital nurses to fill critical need positions. Here are some well-known certificate & diploma programs available in our database:

  • Diploma, Medical Assisting Services - Herzing University
  • Diploma, Insurance Billiong and Coding Specialist - Herzing University
  • Diploma, Medical Office Administration - Herzing University
  • Diploma, Medical Administrative Assistant - Ultimate Medical Academy
  • Diploma, Medical Office and Billing Specialist - Ultimate Medical Academy
  • Diploma, Healthcare Technology & Systems - Ultimate Medical Academy
  • Diploma, Medical Billing and Coding - Ultimate Medical Academy
  • CERT, Healthcare Management - Liberty University
  • Health Sciences - Liberty University
  • Physical Therapy Aide - Penn Foster Career School
  • Certified Personal Trainer - Penn Foster Career School
  • Dental Assistant - Penn Foster Career School
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Penn Foster Career School
  • Ocupational Therapy Aide - Penn Foster Career School
  • Pharmacy Technician - Penn Foster Career School
  • Veterinary Assistant - Penn Foster Career School

To see a complete up-to-date listing of these educational opportunities, please click here.


Graduate Certificates


Do you already have a nursing degree & want to further your career with emphasis on a particular specialty? If so, specialty nursing certificate programs may offer additional career advancement opportunities. Here are a list of some of the options available in our database.

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner - South University
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Adult Health Nurse Practitioner - South University
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Nurse Educator - South University
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management - The University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Post MSN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate - Maryville University
  • Post MSN in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate - Maryville University
  • Post MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate - Maryville University
  • Post MSN Pediatric (Primary Care) Nurse Practitioner Certificate - Maryville University
  • Grad Cert, Global Health - Liberty University
  • Grad Cert, Health Promotions - Liberty University
  • Grad Cert, Healthcare Management - Liberty University
  • Grad Cert, Nutrition - Liberty University
To see a complete up-to-date listing of currently available certificat programs in our database, please click here.


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