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Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing Online

Qualify to be a critical care nurse specialist with a 100% online graduate certificate course.

Nurses checking patient vitals in intensive care unit

Course Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing is a professional development course for registered nurses who attend to high-dependency patients. You may be working, for example, in an intensive care unit, cardiology ward, emergency department, neonatal or paediatric ICU, or within specialised units for burn victims or trauma patients.

Students of this part-time program learn to accurately evaluate complex patient data, which is essential for informed clinical decision-making. The course covers management and care strategies for individuals with life-threatening conditions and injuries. It also focuses on the application of therapeutic interventions.

The benefits of completing this relatively short, four-subject course are numerous. You will expand your scope of practice and be able to perform your duties with greater confidence. Graduates become eligible for qualification allowances and for advanced nursing practice roles.

Become a Critical Care Nurse

Medical staff monitoring patient vitals in hospital

For registered nurses in Australia, a postgraduate qualification is essential to become a critical care nurse (or emergency nurse). While you can gain foundational experience in settings such as ICUs and emergency departments, a university course offers in-depth knowledge, advanced skills, and a vital credential.

This online course directly targets the unique challenges for critical care nurses. It enhances your skills in evaluating complex patient data and boosts your decision-making abilities. The program prepares you to calmly address life-threatening conditions and injuries.

Completing this postgraduate certificate broadens your career prospects. You become eligible for advanced roles such as clinical nurse specialist, opening pathways to nurse leadership positions. In states like NSW and Victoria, this kind of qualification, combined with clinical experience, is a prerequisite for specialised roles.

UTS Online - Graduate Certificate in Critical Care

UTS Online's Graduate Certificate in Critical Care is designed for registered nurses looking to reinforce and expand their clinical skills. Students learn in a collaborative environment, with interactive activities focused on real-world, job-relevant challenges. The four subjects in this fully online, part-time course are Complex Critical Care, Professional Practice in Critical Care, Applied Pathophysiology in Practice, and Specialty Clinical Practice. New intakes are available every two months. This course forms part of the UTS Online Master of Advanced Nursing program.

What Is a Graduate Certificate in Nursing?

Female postgraduate university student

A Graduate Certificate in Nursing is a short, focused program of study for nurses looking to upgrade their qualifications. At just four subjects long, it is half the length of a Graduate Diploma in Nursing (8 subjects) and one-third the duration of a Masters of Nursing (12 subjects typically). It can be completed in 8 months of part-time study.

Despite its brevity, the qualification is highly regarded. Within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a Graduate Certificate is at Level 8 — on par with an Honours Degree and a Graduate Diploma. It is above a Bachelor Degree (Level 7) but below a Masters Degree (Level 9).

Importantly for nurses, a Graduate Certificate is an advanced postgraduate qualification. With this credential, you can meet eligibility requirements for most specialist or senior roles that require formal qualifications post-registration. Courses are flexible, allowing for general study or specialised study in any one of numerous nursing fields.

Related: What Is a Graduate Certificate in Australia?

Benefits of this Course

Nurses and medical professionals working on a patient in an emergency ward

Earning a Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care) expands your scope of practice and opens up job opportunities. Students develop skills for working in ICUs, emergency departments, and other high-acuity settings. These skills are in demand and useful across many clinical nursing fields.

Additionally, the certificate qualifies you for specialised and senior roles, such as Clinical Nurse Specialist and Clinical Nurse Consultant. Financially, it's a wise choice: a registered nurse in Australia typically earns around $86,861, but with specialisation as a clinical nurse specialist, your annual earnings can reach up to $107,382.

You'll also be eligible for Qualifications Allowances (also known as Continuing Education Allowances), ranging from about $2,332 per year in NSW to $4,065 in the Northern Territory. These allowances are automatic payments healthcare workers receive for gaining postgraduate qualifications relevant to their job. Relative to the program's cost and duration, graduate certificates offer the highest payoff.

Graduates normally have the option to continue studying as well, using the grad cert as a stepping stone towards a graduate diploma or master's degree specialising in critical care.

Related: Benefits of a Graduate Certificate in Nursing | Nurse Salary Australia: Official Pay Rates