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Faculty of Community Services

Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate (PHCNP)

Program at a glance

Program format: Full-time (up to three years)

Start date: September entry

Credential earned: Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate (PHCNP)

Tuition fees range: Tuition fee details

The Nurse Practitioner Primary Health Care Program at Ryerson University is approved by the College of Nurses of Ontario. Current graduates from this program are eligible to apply for Extended Class registration as a Nurse Practitioner in Ontario.

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’s NP – Primary Health Care (Ontario) 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.

Career opportunities

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
Why Ryerson?

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.

Curriculum

The Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Certificate program prepares professional nurses to write the College of Nurses of Ontario’s NP – Primary Health Care (Ontario) exam 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.

Program requirements

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. 

Admissions requirements

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.

Funding

As a nurse in Ontario, you can apply for educational grants, bursaries, and scholarships from nursing organizations and associations.

Find out more about opportunities and eligibility.

Tuition and fees

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.

Ryerson PHCNP life

A challenging, hands-on education in advanced nursing practice

The Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate is an intensive program. Expect to spend 15 to 20 hours preparing material and completing assignments for each course, every week.

Classes are small, interactive, and intense.  Most are held face-to-face, between the hours of 9:00 and 4:00, Monday to Friday, at the school. Experts from across the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN) – including our own faculty – teach PHCNP courses.

In addition to classes, you’ll also complete a total of 728 hours of challenging, role-expanding clinical practice. 

Be prepared to juggle work, family, social, and academic responsibilities while devoting time to your studies. While it is possible to complete the program in one year, we strongly advise against doing so while working. The program administrator can help you understand your options.

Course requirements, assignments and methods of evaluation vary by course.  Expect scholarly papers, seminars presentations, performance demonstrations and/or examinations or evaluations by your self, peers and instructors.

What is a nurse practitioner?

What is the PHCNP program?