For registered nurses, Australian universities offer a range of Graduate Certificates in Nursing online. The part-time courses consist of four subjects. Graduate in just 8 months to move your nursing career forward.
Education for nurses doesn't stop once you've received your bachelor degree and started working in healthcare. The launching point for extra formal education is often a post graduate certificate course. It's equivalent to a degree in terms of education standard, though shorter and more targeted.
A Graduate Certificate in Nursing is a postgraduate course aimed at registered nurses with at least 12 months of clinical experience. The program consists of four subjects and may be used as a stepping stone towards a graduate diploma (four more subjects) or nursing master's degree (eight more subjects).
Graduate certificate courses provide advanced training in specialist fields such as clinical nursing, mental health nursing, acute care, critical care and nurse education. By earning a post graduate nursing certificate, you may improve your on-the-job performance, create opportunities for advancement within your niche, shift career direction into another nursing field, and/or establish a platform for further postgraduate study.
Advanced nursing courses are for nurses seeking a skill upgrade and who may be in a challenging clinical setting. You'll study practical topics that you likely encountered in your bachelor degree. These subjects are examined in depth at an advanced level, giving you confidence to apply your expanded knowledge at work.
UTS Online Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing
UTS Online’s Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing is designed for nurses who want to gain the foundations to drive better outcomes for person-centred care in advanced clinical settings. Through this course, you’ll develop advanced skills in nursing practice, applied pathophysiology and implementing evidence in nursing. This course is delivered part-time, 100% online and influenced by strong healthcare industry partners, making it one of the most contemporary and comprehensive courses of its kind.
A Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing is ideal for early-career nurses who are looking to boost their competence and confidence when working in a clinical environment. Postgraduate certificate in nursing courses are designed to expand your knowledge and skills in nursing while staying relevant to practice requirements.
JCU Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Advanced Practice)
The Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Advanced Practice) from James Cook University is a general, practical course that is a pathway to a Master of Nursing degree. The 100% online program covers the topics of effective clinical governance, advanced health assessment, persuasive communication, and the quality use of medicines in practice. You can earn this postgraduate qualification over 8 months of part-time study while working full-time.
Nursing in a critical care setting requires specialised knowledge and expertise to assess and manage patients. Online study for a Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing has the potential to create career opportunities in specialist nursing, clinical education and management roles, and in acute care nursing. 100% online courses are available in Australia, usually consisting of four subjects from a Master of Nursing program.
UTS Online Graduate Certificate in Critical Care
UTS Online’s Graduate Certificate in Critical Care is for aspiring nursing leaders looking to learn and apply specialist knowledge in patient care. Through this course, you’ll develop an understanding of core critical care concepts and be able to confidently evaluate complex patient data to inform clinical decision-making. You'll learn contemporary critical care concepts in a collaborative learning environment, engaging in interactive activities that address real-world challenges relevant to your practice. Delivered 100% online, this course allows maximum flexibility so that you can fit learning around your schedule.
A management career is a possibility for any nurse who may want to take on greater responsibilities, whether that's supervising staff, managing a team, or leading an organisational unit. Build the skills you need to be a confident and capable manager with a specialised management and leadership course for nurses.
JCU Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Leadership & Management)
JCU Online's Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Leadership and Management) is a training course for healthcare managers and leaders. The program will engage your mind in the kind of thinking required in leadership roles. You'll explore, for example, client care, strategic planning, evidence-based decision making, professional resilience, and ethics in health management. By doing this course, you'll develop strategies for the expert handling of diverse management challenges. Graduates are eligible to continue studying for a graduate diploma or Master of Nursing.
Certification in mental health nursing will expand your knowledge and skills in this field, better equipping you to apply evidence-based practice in the workplace. The postgraduate course provides mental health training and may be used as a pathway for a graduate diploma or masters degree. Example topics are acute mental health, physical health care in mental health, supporting behaviour change, and mental health across the lifespan.
SCU Online Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing
An excellent foundation for potentially becoming a mental health nurse is the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing from SCU Online. You choose 4 subjects out of 6 made available from the masters program. After completing the course, you can do another 4 subjects for a Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing or another 8 subjects for a Master of Mental Health Nursing. Both the grad dip and masters are accredited with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN). Flexible arrangements allow you to study online while working full-time.
UTS Online Graduate Certificate in Mental Health
The UTS Online Graduate Certificate in Mental Health is designed for nurses, health and social care professionals. Students acquire specialist skills to navigate mental health care and lead teams that provide advanced and holistic clinical practice. Delivered 100% online and compatible with full-time work, you will develop a strong understanding of trauma-informed and recovery-focused care. Graduate with industry-recognised leadership capabilities that will prepare you for a successful future in mental health – one of Australia’s national health priority areas.
Specialising in Nursing Education prepares you for senior roles in nurse education, training, continuing education and professional development. Knowledge building and upgrading is essential in healthcare. The course trains you to be a better educator and education facilitator. You gain skills and strategies for organising, promoting and instructing in the field of health and social care services.
JCU Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Education)
The Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Education) from James Cook University is open to registered nurses and midwives. The 100% online course consists of 4 subjects and is available for part-time study over 8 months, with 6 intakes annually. Topics include clinical coaching, persuasive communication, teaching in practice settings, and principles of education for the health professional. The course is also a pathway to a graduate diploma (8 subjects) and masters degree (12 subjects).
UTS Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education
The Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education from UTS Online is for healthcare professionals who want to become nurse educators or otherwise develop their ability to lead workplace learning. Students explore how to: create individual education plans, design professional learning programs (for the workplace or higher education), and improve training systems for healthcare teams. The advanced program itself provides an excellent model for online professional development. The 100% online program consists of 3 cores subjects and 1 elective. Intakes are available in Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Oct.
Postgraduate nursing courses tend to be specialised, with each curriculum designed to give optimal nurse training for the particular health field. Electives may be few in number or unavailable.
Here are example subject lists. Enquire for detailed course descriptions.
All specialisations contain the following core subject:
- Persuasive Communication
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Effective Clinical Governance
- Quality Use of Medicines in Practice
Leadership and Management
- Effective Clinical Governance
- Ethics and Health Management
Leading and Managing in Health
- Clinical Coaching
- Principles of Education for the Health Professional
- Teaching in Practice Settings
Effective Clinical Governance – The subject explores the development of clinical governance. Students apply principles of the framework to current issues in their own healthcare workplaces. The aim of a healthcare governance framework is to optimise client care via clear, high-quality individual and team practices. Students have the opportunity to create a plan of action for a project to improve client care within their own health organisation.
Ethics and Health Management – Students contemplate ethical principles and theories, exploring how managers may apply these in a healthcare setting. You also examine the role of professional codes of ethics and human rights statements when determining what constitutes ethical practice. Ethical theory is applied to everyday issues encountered by healthcare managers. The goal is to enhance the ethical standing of a manager's own practices as well as those of others in the workplace.
Leading and Managing in Health – Students explore foundation concepts for leading and managing in different healthcare settings and locations. Students are required to place theories and strategies within the context of their own workplaces, with the goal of extending and enhancing leadership and management skills. Topics include staffing management; enacting change; enhancing quality; strategy and operations planning; using multi-source data to inform decisions; and practical ways to promote professional resilience in the role of a healthcare leader.
Persuasive Communication – In this subject, students examine professional communication strategies across multiple mediums that healthcare professional use in the workplace. You will also learn digital communication and increase your digital literacy. Developing persuasive argument is also part of the course.
Complete any four of the following subjects:
- Contemporary Mental Health
- Acute Mental Health
- Mental Health in Community, Non-government and Private Settings
- Mental Health Across the Lifespan
- Physical Healthcare in Mental Health
- Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts
All courses include the following core subject:
- Specialty Clinical Practice
- Applied Pathophysiology in Practice
- Evidence for Informing Practice
- Improving Safety and Quality in Healthcare
- Applied Pathophysiology in Practice
- Complex Critical Care
- Professional Practice in Critical Care
- Collaborative and Integrative Mental Health Care
- Leading Health and Social Care
- Trauma-informed Care and Practice
- Creating a Culture of Teaching and Learning in Healthcare
- Designing Innovative Learning
Plus one of:
- Learning and its Trajectories
- Strategic Learning in Workplaces
Learning outcomes for post graduate nursing courses are strongly tied to the specialisation and related professional demands. Expect to be exposed to the latest research and thinking, as well as to gain practical tools for implementing in a health or social care setting.
Here are example learning outcomes by course.
Learning outcomes for the Advanced Practice specialisation include being able to:
- Apply the principles of Quality Use of Medicines to practice
- Apply clinical governance principles to achieve quality and safety in healthcare
- Demonstrate clinical reasoning and decision making appropriate to your scope of practice
- Use advanced communication strategies to handle challenging conversations and relationships.
Graduates of the Leadership and Management specialisation should be able to:
- Explain methods to maintain resilience in professional healthcare employment
- Deliver health services while conforming to ethical requirements, both regulated and moral
- Use a principles-based approach to achieve high standards of quality and safety in healthcare
- Communicate persuasively when establishing team expectations, standards and goals.
For Nursing Education, graduates should be able to:
- Apply education and adult learning theories to teaching in healthcare contexts
- Plan, develop, implement and evaluating teaching in healthcare environments
- Facilitate clinical learning and manage challenging coaching situations
- Use digital platforms and persuasive communication principles in the healthcare workplace.
Learning outcomes for the SCU Online Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing include that you:
- Are a well-rounded mental health professional after being introduced to core knowledge and skills for holistic mental health treatment
- Have a contemporary understanding of emerging trends in mental health care by learning from clinically active academics
- Possess evidence-based practice skills that can be applied immediately in a practice or hospital setting.
You'll build advanced skills in leadership, clinical nursing practice, applied pathophysiology, and implementing evidence in nursing.
Students gain skills to manage and care for people with life-threatening conditions, injuries and complications using therapeutic interventions. You'll develop an understanding of essential critical care concepts and be able to confidently evaluate complex patient data to inform clinical decision-making.
Students build specialist skills to navigate mental health care and lead teams that provide advanced and holistic clinical practice. You'll develop a thorough understanding of trauma-informed and recovery-focused care.
You'll gain knowledge, skills and strategies for improving learning in healthcare setting, from the perspectives of both instructors and learning facilitators. By exploring many facets of nursing education, graduates build a toolkit of methods to support nursing professional development.
The specialist nature of these course means you can potentially get a high career payoff. By just completing four subjects, you might be able to capture a niche position and/or more senior role. Potential jobs for graduates include the following.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Clinical Nurse Consultant
- Practice Nurse
- Nurse Unit Manager
- Nurse Coordinator
- Critical Care Nurse
- Health Services Manager
- Clinical Teacher
- Nurse Educator
The entry requirements for nursing schools are typically that you are a Registered Nurse (Division 1) and have at least a year of clinical experience. However, entry requirements do vary by program. Some courses require you to be working in a setting related to the course.
Here are examples of course admission requirements by nursing school. Enquire for further details.
To be eligible for the JCU Online Graduate Certificate of Nursing, you need:
- a Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent qualification;
- registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) or Registered Midwife with AHPRA or equivalent foreign registration for applicants outside Australia; and
- at least one year clinical experience as a registered nurse.
Applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds need to meet English language proficiency requirements. Online programs are unavailable to student visa holders.
Tuition fees are $2,850 per subject in 2022. FEE-HELP is available.
To qualify for admission into the SCU Online Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing, you must be a Registered Nurse (Division 1) AND have access to mental health nurse practice or practitioners during your course of study AND be proficient in English.
Tuition fees are $2,500 per unit in 2022. FEE-HELP available.
Online courses are unavailable to international students on student visas.
Registration as a nurse in Australia AND currently employed in a healthcare setting AND at least one year of post-registration clinical experience AND a recognised nursing academic qualification.
A recognised nursing academic qualification OR recent relevant work experience in a clinical healthcare role. Applicants without a recognised nursing academic qualification will need to present evidence of their capacity to complete tertiary study.
Currently employed in a healthcare setting AND at least one year of post-graduate clinical experience AND a recognised nursing academic qualification or can demonstrate a capacity to complete tertiary study based on prior learning and experience.
A bachelor's degree (or equivalent or evidence of sufficient academic ability) plus one of: (a) Registered as a health care professional in Australia (AHPRA) (b) Current employment in a health and social care environment (shown in CV) or (c) 12+ months of full-time (1800+ hours) post-registration clinical experience (shown in Statement of Service).
Course fees are $2,670 per subject in 2022. FEE-HELP available.
For nurses in Australia, doing a graduate certificate course offers several benefits. Potential advantages include:
- Improved knowledge and skills: You can expand your knowledge and skills in a specific area of nursing, such as leadership, education, or clinical practice. This can make you more effective in your current role and better prepare your for future career opportunities.
- Career advancement: You may qualify for advanced practice roles or leadership positions within the healthcare system.
- Increased earning potential: Nurses who have earned a postgraduate qualification may be eligible for higher pay or more desirable positions, which can lead to increased earning potential.
- Professional recognition: Completing the course may also be recognised as a mark of professional achievement. A graduate certificate is a well-recognised Australian university qualification that will enhance your reputation and standing within the profession.
- Personal satisfaction: Many nurses find that completing a grad cert is a personally rewarding experience that helps them feel more confident and competent in their roles.
Graduate certificates in general offer many advantages, including job relevance, low costs, and the option to study further.