Undergraduate certificates in nursing are generally short programs designed to help students enter the field of healthcare without spending years in school. In fact, most of these programs can be completed within one year — some in an even shorter timeframe. Undergraduate nursing certificate programs typically focus on the basic skills used in entry-level nursing careers; this narrow focus is what allows them to be so condensed. In these programs, students can learn how to perform the duties of a licensed practical nurse, aka an LPN (or, as they are known in California and Texas, a licensed vocational nurse — an LVN).

Read on to discover more information about undergraduate certificate programs in the field of nursing.

Getting Started With Undergraduate Certificate Programs in Nursing

Since certificate programs are often the first step aspiring nurses take, the minimum education requirements for these programs can typically be fulfilled during high school. In some cases, having earned a high school diploma or equivalent is all you need to get started.

However, if you graduated from high school too many years ago, an entrance exam may be required. Even if it is not required, returning students may want to see if they can take a similar exam in order to test out out of some of the prerequisites for the certificate program. Check your options with the school you’re applying to, and consider talking to an academic advisor or a counselor about your options if you’re not sure what would be best for you.

Best Schools Offering Undergraduate Certificate in Nursing

When considering schools for an undergraduate certificate in nursing, prospective students should look at a number of factors such as acceptance rate, graduation rate and tuition costs. Knowing these factors can help students to make a well-informed decision on which school is right for their lifestyle, budget and future career goals.

Here at NursingDegrees.com, we have created a list of the best schools for an undergraduate certificate in nursing to help prospective nurses understand their options and select the appropriate school for them. Our data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and our ranking methodology is explained in more detail at the bottom of this page.

01
GateWay Community College
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
5
Undergraduate tuition
$2,064
Undergrad retention rate
56%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
69%
02
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
6
Undergraduate tuition
$13,590
Undergrad retention rate
78%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
87%
03
Hutchinson Community College
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$2,688
Undergrad retention rate
63%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
90%
04
South Piedmont Community College
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$1,728
Undergrad retention rate
52%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
70%
05
Elizabethtown Community and Technical Co...
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$3,744
Undergrad retention rate
56%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
95%
06
Angelo State University
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,965
Undergrad retention rate
67%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
93%
07
George C Wallace State Community College...
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,510
Undergrad retention rate
65%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
84%
08
State Fair Community College
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$3,600
Undergrad retention rate
59%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
95%
09
Highland Community College
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
4
Undergraduate tuition
$2,218
Undergrad retention rate
38%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
82%
10
Cochise County Community College Distric...
Number of Certificate nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,896
Undergrad retention rate
63%
Percent of Certificate students awarded financial aid
76%

Degree Overview

In undergraduate nursing certificate programs, students may learn many different kinds of skills that can help them assist registered nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors. On one hand, there are hands-on patient care techniques such as wound care, injections, immunizations, and medication administration. On the other hand, there are aspects of communication and administration to be learned, such as therapeutic communication, charting and documentation, and medical record management.

Although every program is different, the majority of them cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition, human health and practical nursing. Five examples of classes that are commonly required for students in an undergraduate nursing certificate program include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Adults
  • Nursing Care of Women, Infants, and Children
  • Disease Process and Diet Therapy
  • Pharmacology

Bridge Programs

If you’ve been working as an LPN/LVN for some time and you’d like to advance your career to that of a registered nurse (RN), a bridge program might be well worth looking into. Bridge programs are programs that “bridge” one nursing education program to another. This means that a student who’s completed a certificate program and earned work experience as an LPN/LVN may be able to complete an LPN-to-RN bridge program or an LPN-to-BSN bridge program to advance their education quickly and efficiently. For more information, we encourage you to check out our Bridge Program page.

Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we ranked 6,758 United States institutions to create the ranking for this page. Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. (Schools that did not provide data for all 11 criteria were disqualified from the ranking.)

The 11 criteria for the ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed June 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
  3. Nurse Journal, Accessed June 2018, https://nursejournal.org/practical-nursing/lpn-vs-rn-roles/
  4. O*Net Online, Accessed May 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2061.00
  5. Pennsylvania State University, Accessed May 2018, http://www.nursing.psu.edu/undergrad/certificates/
  6. Loyola University Chicago, Accessed May 2018, https://www.luc.edu/nursing/certificate/
  7. Capital University, Accessed May 2018, https://www.capital.edu/certificate-of-nursing/
  8. Monmouth University,Accessed May 2018, https://catalog.monmouth.edu/undergraduate-catalog/marjorie-k-unterberg-nursing-health-studies/nursing/undergraduate-certificate-nursing/