Empire State Public Health Training Center

Public Health Nurse Ready

nurses Public Health Nurse Ready (PHN Ready) is an online certificate program for RNs working in public health, or desiring to know about how public health works. LPNs and other RNs may find the certificate of interest as well.

All courses are self-paced and on-line, with most courses providing continuing education credits.

This certificate is for RNs who are new to a public health department, agency, or setting. The courses in this certificate provide a foundation of core public health concepts and practices. Topics include: cultural competency, public health literacy, public health policy, basic epidemiology, core functions and essential services of public health. These courses reflect the core public health competencies set forth by the Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations.

If you have already completed the program requirements and would like to apply for your certificate, please complete the online Evaluation and Request for Certificate using the link below upon program completion.

Print out our informational brochure or our informational flyer.

The above documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat installed, you can download it for free.

This project is funded by grant number UB6HP20152 from the Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS, Public Health Training Center Program.

Frequently Asked Questions about the PHN Ready Program

Is it really FREE?

Yes, it's really free! There is no charge for enrollment, no charge for courses, and no charge for the certificate. It is totally free to the enrollee, made possible through a grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

How do I enroll?

Directions for enrollment are in the Student Guidebook, located on our website, www.phnready.org. This is the first place you should try for complete and pictorial instructions. If you are still having difficulty, please contact the Center for Public Health Continuing Education at the University at Albany School of Public Health at (518) 402-0330.

I am not a nurse. Can I still take PHN Ready?

While there is nothing stopping you from taking PHN Ready, the Empire State Public Health Training Center also offers the Foundations of Public Health Certificate, which appeals to a broader audience of public health professionals. Information on the Foundations certificate can be found at EmpireStatePHTC.org.

Do you have to be a New York State resident to take PHN ready courses?

No, anyone can take the courses and apply for a certificate. The courses are all on line and available 24/7, so your time zone makes no difference.

I took all the requirements and applied for my PHN Ready certificate, why haven't I received it yet?

Certificates take between two and four weeks to process. Please be patient and plan accordingly; especially if you are taking PHN Ready for a college course.

How long will the certificate program be available?

The University at Albany School of Public Health's Center for Public Health Continuing Education has committed to ensuring that the PHN Ready program will be available beyond the grant period. It is our intent that the certificate will be available for years to come. That said, however, PHN Ready enrollees are encouraged to maintain their steady progress and complete the certificate within a few months of enrolling. Nurses who maintain their involvement at a steady pace are probably more likely to complete the program.

Is there is a difference in choosing "CEU" or "CNE" when given that option?

The School of Public Health at the University at Albany issues CNEs, which are nurse contact hours. Our center is an approved provider of Continuing Nurse Education by the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses, Inc., an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Our assigned provider code is PA# 157N. Just to be clear about the difference, "Contact Hours" is the term used by the American Nurses Credential Center's Commission on Accreditation (ANCC) to define a unit of nursing continuing education in nursing. A contact hour is defined as: "Sixty minutes of an organized learning activity, which is either a didactic or clinical experience." So, if one were calculating the contact hours for an activity that took 150 minutes, it would equal 2.5 contact hours. A CEU or "Continuing Education Unit" is "ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction." Most nurses look for CNE credit, we have found.

Can this certificate serve as a ''PHN Certification'' for states that require PHNs to be certified?

That question should be directed to the agency that provides the certification in your state or territory. We are happy to work with them and provide information about the courses so that they can determine whether our certificate or any part of the program meets their needs.

Do you need to pass an examination at the end of each course or before you receive your PHN Ready Certificate?

Some of the courses in the certificate curriculum may require filling out a final evaluation and a post test in order to get the CNEs. There is no test in order to get the Public Health Nurse Ready certificate itself.

How much content is New York specific?

The content of the certificate is based on the Quad Council Competencies for Public Health Nurses, which are not state specific.

When you leave the Learning Management System, do you have to enroll and setup passwords at other sites?

Unfortunately, sometimes you do, especially if it's a course that is offered by someone other than our Center. Luckily, most of our courses are on the Empire State Public Health Training Center site (EmpireStatePHTC.org), so once you enroll, you don't have to enroll again. For courses that are outside that system, you may need to enroll and set up a password for that.

I live in a rural area, and the bandwidth is sometimes an issue. What can I do if I can't tune into the web streamed offerings?

Currently PHN Ready offers one course in a web-stream format, "The Future of Public Health Nursing: an Update on Standards and Credentialing." If you are unable to view this web-stream, we do have DVDs that can be made available for you to borrow. Please contact the Center for Public Health Continuing Education for details or questions.

Do you advise if a nurse has more than a certain amount experience that the nurse enrolls in Public Health 2 instead of PHN Ready?

That is a decision that each nurse will have to make on their own. It is recommended that you look at the PHN Ready curriculum first. The PHN Ready curriculum focuses on competencies for public health nursing, and will be most helpful to those who are new to public health nursing, those who are newly returning to public health nursing, and those whose education in public health nursing was not competency based. The Quad Council Competencies for public health nursing practice have been available since 2004. Those educated before that date may not be familiar with the full scope of the competencies, and may find the PHN Ready certificate to be helpful. One thing to keep in mind is that the PHN Ready curriculum is non state specific, whereas the continuing education requirements for PHN 2 and Supervising Public Health Nurse are New York specific. The PHN Ready website provides a portal to the PHN2 and SPHN continuing education offerings, so it's easy to look at each program and compare.

Is there a way to get college credit for the coursework in PHN Ready?

This is a non academic certificate, so there will not be University at Albany college credit given. The University's School of Public Health has online college credit available, which you can learn about at www.albany.edu/sph/. The PHN Ready certificate can be incorporated into college courses, and we are willing to work with any nursing programs who would like to know more about this.


This certificate fulfills the requirements set forth by the New York State Sanitary Code which requires nurses in the title Public Health Nurse 2 and hired after August 2008 to complete 15 hours of continuing education within their first year of employment.

It is intended for nurses who have experience in the field of public health and who are involved in any of the following: program administration, budget development, quality improvement efforts, or advocacy or liaison efforts.

To register for the PHN2 certificate, please visit the New York State Learning Management System.


This certificate fulfills the requirements set forth by the New York State Sanitary Code which requires nurses in the title Supervising Public Health Nurse and hired after August 2008 to complete 15 hours of continuing education within their first year of employment.

It is intended for nurses who have advanced experience in the field of public health and who work in the capacity of supervisor.

To register for the Supervising Public Health Nurse certificate, please visit the New York State Learning Management System.

Additional Education

PHN Ready encourages BSN completion.

"Dispelling the Myths: Discovering the Facts about BSN Completion"

To find a BSN completion program:
New York State Residents may search for BSN completion programs in their area through the New York State Education Department website. http://www.nysed.gov/heds/irpsl1.html. Click on "Search for Programs by Subject Matter—Programs Bachelor's or Higher". Or, go to: http://www.rntobsnprograms.com/nursing-schools/new-york.htm

For US resources, and for states outside of New York, including online sources of BSN education, go to: http://www.rntobsnprograms.com/rn-to-bsn-completion-programs/

Basic Environmental Health Program (BEHP)—The Basic Environmental Health Program (BEHP) is an introductory training program designed to equip entry level environmental health personnel with the basic knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop competency in their initial and future duties.

Nurse TIP—Nurse TIP recognizes that nurses play an integral role in the success of immunization programs. Nurses are often the first point of contact at any health care visit and can have considerable influence on the public health practices of a community.

Quad Council Competencies —Core Competencies for Public Health Nursing (CCPHN) may be used at all levels and in a variety of practice settings. Competencies were planned that could be useful for agencies/organizations agencies/organizations employing PHNs, and educational institutions and other agencies engaged in educating PHNs.

Public Health Live!—Public Health Live (T2B2) is a monthly webcast series designed to provide continuing education opportunities on public health issues. Broadcasts are free and available to all who are interested in furthering their knowledge of public health. The live webcast is always held from 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET on the third Thursday of each month.

ACHNE—The Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE) provides a meeting ground for those committed to excellence in community and public health nursing education, research, and practice.

Lost? Confused? Have other questions or comments? Please contact the Empire State Public Health Training Center at:

(518) 402-0330
or ConEd@albany.edu


This Date in
Public Health

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