What are the limitations of a certificate versus an actual MS degree for NPs?


I'm trying to gather together a career plan. I know I want to become a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, I know I want to live in Florida (the Orlando area), and I know I want to eventually own my own practice (I understand that Florida has pretty strict NP laws but I'm setting this thought aside for the time being; I'll deal with that another day).

I'm definitely going to be getting my BSN and RN in the very near future, but the education requirements I need to get to run a successful Palliative Care practice are a little confusing to me.

Should I go straight for a Master's program that offers a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner program? Should I just get a general Nurse Practitioner Master's degree and then get a Palliative Care certificate from there? Should I skip the Master's degree entirely and just go for the Palliative Care certificate?

I'm only asking because there is a cost difference in the schools I would be looking at. Also, I want to make sure that I don't destroy my future practice by not having the proper education requirements.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

164 Articles; 21,189 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Moved to a different forum

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

It looks like Florida, like most states, requires at least an MSN to become an NP for new graduates. I couldn't find any programs that offered a stand-alone palliative care program. Further, I don't think palliative care is a NP specialty. You would need to become a Family NP or Adult-Gerontology Nurse practitioner. You could get the elective classes in palliative care during your course work if the school offers it or after you graduate, but it wouldn't be required for you to work in palliative care.

Specializes in Hospitalist Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

I've never seen a Palliative Care NP degree, only a certificate. You cannot obtain just a certificate unless you are already an NP. So, you might want to look in to Adult-Gero NP programs and add the Palliative Care concentration to your studies. I've seen universities that offer Palliative as a specialization while obtaining the NP.