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Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate (PHCNP)

Move into advanced clinical practice

Nurse practitioners work in direct care, health promotion, and the treatment and management of chronic health conditions. They have an expanded scope of practice and can diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and perform certain procedures.

Ryerson’s Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Certificate is an intensive program that prepares nursing professionals to write the College of Nurses of Ontario, external link’s NP – Primary Health Care (Ontario), external link exam.   

Admission to Ryerson’s PHCNP Certificate program is highly competitive. We give preference to registered nurses who hold a master’s degree in nursing and have continuous clinical experience that demonstrates critical thinking and the potential to work in a collaborative, holistic, family-centred practice or advance evidence-based practice.

Our PHCNP Certificate program is offered under the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN). Learn more about the Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program, external link.

Program at a Glance

Program Format

Full-time (up to three years)

Tuition Fees

Tuition fee details

Start Date

September Entry

Credential Earned

PHCNP Certificate

Graduates of Ryerson’s PHCNP Certificate program go on to become primary health care nurse practitioners and work in:

  • Community health centres
  • NP-led clinics
  • Long term care
  • Palliative care
  • Aboriginal centres
  • Community-based facilities
  • Ambulatory care centres
  • Family health teams

Preparing tomorrow’s health care leaders

Ryerson’s PHCNP Certificate is part of Canada’s largest nursing school. But it's our small classes, outstanding faculty, and unmatched sense of community that draws the country’s best and brightest nursing professionals here.

Conveniently located in downtown Toronto, the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson is a hub for advancing nursing knowledge and transforming nursing practice.

Our faculty members are leaders in their fields — researchers, clinicians, and gifted educators whose caring and commitment create an unparalleled learning environment.

Our students are smart, committed professionals preparing to take their careers to the next level in:

  • Leadership
  • Education
  • Advanced practice
  • Research
  • Public health and more

We offer them rich, rewarding opportunities for practice, education and research, and support their success with resources like our Advanced Health Assessment Lab, monthly research colloquia, faculty advisors, and dedicated graduate placement coordinators.

Graduates from our programs go on to advanced practice and leadership roles across health care sectors and play an active role in shaping the future of our health system.

The Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Certificate program prepares professional nurses to write the College of Nurses of Ontario, external link’s NP – Primary Health Care (Ontario) exam, external link and work as nurse practitioners in a variety of practice and leadership roles and settings.

The curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in advanced theory, research, and clinical practice, integrating self-direction as an essential element in the role of the nurse practitioner.

The Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate is a challenging, hands-on, full-time program that prepares motivated professional nurses to work as nurse practitioners.  

Students have up to 3 years, or 9 terms, to complete the 7 required PHCNP Certificate courses.  Motivated students can complete the program in less time, but it is very demanding. The program administrator can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

The curriculum prepares students to apply legislative and ethical models to a variety of practice situations through assignments, seminar discussions, and clinical practice. These may include consultation, prescriptive authority, the ordering of laboratory and diagnostic tests and the certification of death.

Evidence-based practice principles are incorporated in each course to help assess, diagnose, and manage health issues appropriately. Discussion and assignments on effective strategies to influence health and social policy are also incorporated.

Instructors aim to enhance students’ capacity to contribute to knowledge development through critical questioning. 

To be considered for the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Certificate program, you must meet the minimum requirements:

  • A Master’s degree in Nursing
  • A Bachelor’s degree in nursing, or its equivalent
  • Minimum CGPA or equivalent of 3.00 (B) overall with 3.00 (B) average in the last two years or 20 graded courses of study from undergraduate nursing program.
  • Equivalent of two years full-time nursing practice (3640 hours) within the past five years. Strong preference is given to candidates with continuous RN experience in a direct clinical practice setting.   

We look for applicants who have good academic standing in nursing and non-nursing subjects. Strong preference is given to students with a 3.67 (A-) or above average in the final half of their undergraduate nursing program or last 20 one-term/semester courses.

Tuition fees in the Masters of Nursing and PHCNP Certificate programs are course-based.  Your fees will be calculated based on the number of courses that you take per term; one unit is equal to one course. 

As a student of the School of Graduate Studies, ancillary fees also apply to cover health benefits, access to the athletic centre, and more. 

To determine the overall tuition cost of your program, multiply the number of required degree or certificate courses by the tuition amount found on the detailed Fees Information page.

A tuition deposit is due upon acceptance into the program.