Can You Take Nursing Classes Online?

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An open laptop computer next to a stack of books. 

Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can position nurses to pursue many different career paths, including research, education, clinical practice, and management. But with just an MSN, it may prove difficult for nurses to quickly expand their clinical roles. To bridge the gap, experienced nurses can pursue a post-master’s certificate to study the specialized clinical discipline of their choice.

Many aspiring students also have active professional careers, with strict work hours that make it challenging to find the time to pursue higher education. Fortunately, online post-master’s certificates can allow nurses to advance their education without compromising their work-life balance.

Can You Take Nursing Classes Online?

Taking nursing classes online makes earning post-master’s certificates more feasible for individuals with busy work and personal lives. Online post-master’s certification coursework is designed to prepare students to advance their nursing practice by improving the level of care they provide their patients. The purpose of certification is to help qualify registered nurses to become nurse practitioners (NPs), and to allow NPs to add a specialty or more autonomy to their current primary care practice.

Benefits of Taking Nursing Classes Online to Earn a Post-Master’s Certificate

Nursing professionals who have earned an MSN typically work full-time. Some nurses may wish to continue their education with a post-master’s certificate, but hectic work schedules and a busy personal life may leave little or no time to visit campus for classes, lectures, and exams.

The benefits of taking nursing classes online make remote learning an exciting alternative for ambitious nurses who are interested in advancing their education, but never imagined they would have the time. Rather than attending classes in person, students can view course materials online and interact with their instructors from the comfort of their own homes. Flexible online education tools allow qualified student nurses to pursue the education they desire. As a result, online nursing classes can be taken from any location, which enables students to have the mobility they need.

In addition, a 2018 survey conducted by The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research found that, for students who had experience with both in-person and virtual classrooms, 85% felt learning online was as good as or better than taking courses in person.

Why Earn a Post-Master’s Certificate Online?

Earning a post-master’s certificate online can be a gateway to career advancement and increased income. It also can enable nurses to work in specializations they enjoy. By pursuing those specializations, nurses can help alleviate the ongoing shortage of health care providers.

Examples of specializations for which you can take nursing classes online include the following.


Pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) are specialists who work with children, from newborns to young adults. Through lectures and hands-on clinical training, they learn to diagnose and treat children. They also learn how to educate their patients and their patients’ families about maintaining health and wellness. According to the compensation website PayScale, the median annual salary for a PNP is around $91,000.

Psychiatric Mental Health

Curriculum in this specialization focuses on teaching nurses to assess the mental health needs of individuals, families, and communities. They are also taught how to diagnose patients’ mental health disorders and develop treatment plans. Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) treat their patients through interventions such as prescribing or managing medications and administering psychotherapy. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a PMHNP is around $110,100.


Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners (AGNPs) learn how chronic illness affects people across the adult lifespan. They also learn how to help their patients cope with the pain and discomfort of those conditions. This entails using nursing practices such as palliative care and polypharmacy. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for an AGNP is around $90,800.


Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) administer care to all members of the family. They treat pregnant women during the pre-, post-, and perinatal periods; promote positive health decisions for children as they age; and provide primary care to all members of the family as necessary. The courses featured in this certification program emphasize teaching students how to promote better overall health for families using methods such as disease prevention, patient education, and counseling. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for an FNP is around $96,300.

Women’s Health

Women have unique health concerns that can be treated only by a professional who has an in-depth understanding of female biology. By completing an accredited program, experienced nurses can develop the skills to help female patients and their families navigate many women’s health issues, such as those related to childbearing and fertility. According to PayScale, the median annual salary for a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) is around $93,000.

Taking Your Nursing Career to the Next Level Through Certification

The NP role is attractive to many nurses because of the opportunities for specialization, independence, career advancement, and leadership. Through a post-master’s nursing certificate program, you can take nursing classes online to prepare for specialties and to sit for a national board certification exam to become a certified nurse practitioner.

Regis College offers five NP certificate specializations in its online post-master’s certificates program. Learn more about how earning a post-master’s certificate in nursing allows you to pursue the nursing career you want, in a way that fits your lifestyle.

Recommended Reading

Should Nurse Practitioners Have Full Practice Authority?
10 Best Practices to Promote Cultural Awareness in the Nursing Profession
5 Areas of Study for the Master of Science in Nursing Student


American Association of Nurse Practitioners, What’s a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Psychiatric-mental Health Nurses
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc., “Uses and Advantages of eLearning and Distance Pedagogy in Nursing Informatics Education”
The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, Online College Students 2018
PayScale, Average Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) Salary
PayScale, Average Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary
PayScale, Average Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary
PayScale, Average Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary
PayScale, Average Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary