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The Benefits of Earning a Nursing Certificate for APRNs

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Jan 22, 2024
A nurse with a stethoscope listens to the breathing of an older patient in a hospital bed.

The Benefits of Earning a Nursing Certificate Online

Nurses are the backbone of quality care. Their skills in care delivery, patient interaction, and facility operation can improve a health care facility’s ability to provide high-quality patient care. Nurses can also play a substantial role in a facility’s work to reach its ultimate goal of delivering care that can potentially improve patient outcomes.

Care delivery is often complex, and this optimized level of patient care often depends on the work of nurses who have certain levels of expertise. Advanced practice nurses can strive to provide specialized care by obtaining a nursing certificate in a specialized area of care. Achieving this specialization can be beneficial to their own career path, but its benefits also extend to the facility they work at and the patients they treat.

Why Nursing Certification Matters 

The U.S. is in the throes of a nursing shortage. According to 2022 data gathered by KFF, the country has 8,160 primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). This translates to just over 97 million people being underserved for primary medical, dental, and mental health needs.

While these numbers represent a need in a critical industry, they also demonstrate a tremendous opportunity for nurses seeking to grow their careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (also known as advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs) are projected to grow by 38% between 2022 and 2032. Those filling these projected openings can help put a dent in HPSAs, but they may also be in a position to shape the direction of health care as it continues to evolve through innovation and regulatory changes. 

By gaining nursing certification in a specialization, nurses can potentially take advantage of these opportunities by positioning themselves as leaders in a specific segment of care. The specialization can focus on a patient demographic, such as adult-gerontology acute care. It can also focus on a certain type of care, such as oncology. Regardless of the specialization, the combination of training and skills honed by a certification can prepare nurses to use their knowledge and skills to provide efficient, effective care in a way that makes a noticeable difference within a segment of care. Their work can also have a ripple effect, as improved efficiency in one element of care can factor into a facility’s own goals involving improved levels of health care efficiency. 

Why Earn a Nursing Certificate? 

A nursing professional might consider certification for several reasons. These reasons are particularly relevant for individuals with aspirations of providing and directing effective patient care in a way that best aligns with their own interests.

Expanded Skills

Earning a nursing certificate online can deepen the knowledge and skills that are needed to effectively provide holistic care to both specific patient demographics and specific patient care areas. This deeper knowledge can allow a nurse to insightfully and properly diagnose issues in a more focused way, which can also lead to more effective treatment strategies.

Improved Job Prospects

Nursing certification in a specialized field can potentially place nurses in front of more opportunities for niche roles in health care. Certification can also indicate to a potential employer that the individual has the specific knowledge and skill set needed to resolve unique patient issues; this can make a nurse stand out among other nurses.

Greater Earning Potential

Because specialized roles may require certain duties pertaining to a specific patient type or issue, certified nurses with a specialization may be able to land a higher median annual salary. For example, the BLS lists the 2022 median annual salary for APRNs at $121,610. However, the BLS lists the 2022 median annual salary for nurse anesthetists — those specializing in administering anesthesia within certain medical procedures — at $203,090. Certification can also make a nurse stand out in more competitive markets or for competitive jobs in which the pay is higher, leading to opportunities to optimize their earning potential.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Nursing can deliver a unique sense of satisfaction because its end goal is to help improve patient lives. However, this feeling of purpose and achievement can increase even more for nurses who are applying their time and effort toward a health care field that aligns with their own interests, whether that’s pediatrics or critical care.

How a Nursing Certificate Benefits Others

The benefits of certification aren’t exclusive to those holding a nurse certificate. The advanced skill set cultivated through a certification program can allow nurses to better provide the kind of compassionate, effective care in line with Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model of Nursing. This level of care can organically connect with a facility’s high-level care strategies that highlight efficiency and patient experience, such as evidence-based practice models. 

The advanced level of knowledge and skill a nurse can develop through certification can also benefit patients. This can naturally help them in a clinical setting, but it can also help them away from the clinic. Nurses who understand a specific demographic or illness can help patients develop proactive self-care strategies that can lead to not only better health but also fewer clinical visits.

Make a Difference in Quality Health Care

Nurses will always be a key component in health care. Specialized nurses with nursing certification can elevate the quality of care they deliver to another level as well as make a difference in high-demand areas of the profession and access to care. By homing in on an element of care delivery, certified nurses can develop and deliver deeper, more focused care to patients. This can ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes and a high level of professional satisfaction.

The University of Tulsa’s online Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) certificate can help steer your career toward such a satisfying specialized nursing service. Regarding acute adult care, our program is designed to help you understand its key concepts, which can help you develop the necessary instincts needed to provide effective, efficient care at a moment’s notice. Learn how we can help you play a key role in an important career.

Recommended Readings

How to Become an APRN

The Importance of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing

The Most Important Leadership Skills for Nurses


American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, Certification Benefits Patients, Employers and Nurses

American Nurses Association, “What Is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?”

Indeed, “Nursing Certifications: What You Need to Know”

KFF, Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)

Nursegrid, “Top Reasons for Achieving Nursing Certifications”

The Journal of Nursing Administration, “Why Some Nurses Obtain Specialty Certification and Others Do Not”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

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