Public Health Leadership Program Online Certificates: FAQs

Additional FAQs for Occupational Health Nursing Certificate



I have never taken an online course, what is it like? Do I have to be online at a certain time?

No, our online certificate courses are asynchronous, meaning you do not need to be online at a certain time. There are, however, specific activities that must be completed by a certain time. Each course consists of a mix of readings, assignments and participation through a discussion forum, and audio/visual tutorials.

How many hours a week do the courses take?

Obviously, this varies from student to student. These are demanding graduate-level courses. The average number of hours per week/per course is 10-12. For some it is more and for others less.

How many courses can I take each semester?

We recommend students take only one course per semester. These are demanding graduate-level courses. These programs are designed for working professionals with full-time jobs and family responsibilities. Most courses take 10-12 hours of course work per week/per course. However, students can request to take more than one course per semester.

Which courses do I have to take to complete the certificate?

Please see the individual certificate program webpages for information about required courses and electives for the different programs.

Can I transfer in a course to the certificate program?

Yes, students are allowed to transfer in one course (3 credits) towards a certificate program in PHLP, provided it was taken within five years and you received a grade of “B” or better. You will need to complete the course exemption paperwork for approval by our course instructor. You must complete the course exemption before enrolling in your final course.

Can I use the credits earned from a certificate towards an MPH or other graduate-level degree?

All credits earned from these certificate programs may be transferrable towards the residential and online MPH offered by the Public Health Leadership Program and most other MPH programs in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. However, we strongly recommend that you check with any graduate program you are interested in before beginning a certificate program to verify these credits will be counted towards a degree.

Can I enroll in the certificate or take certificate courses if I am currently a UNC degree student?

Unfortunately, you cannot be dually enrolled in a degree or continuing education program and a certificate program at the same time. You must complete or withdraw from your other program before beginning a certificate program.

Do I have to submit a residency form every semester?

No, as long as you remain a continuing study student. If you choose to take either the spring or fall semester off you will need to submit a new form. If you have specific questions regarding residency, you can contact Michele Fulton at

Can I get financial aid?

Unfortunately, there is no financial aid for most certificate programs at this time. However, partial tuition and travel support may be available for the Occupational Health Nursing Certificate. Here are a few URLs that you may be able to get information regarding scholarships and loans (please note that the following sites you’re are directed to are not UNC sites):

Do students have access to online library materials?

The UNC-CH libraries license and provide access to many electronic databases and journals for the use of UNC-CH faculty, staff, and students. Most electronic resources are accessible both on campus and from off-campus locations. The resources are accessible from on-campus computers without a login and password.

Will I be able to ask questions?

All courses have a faculty member and teaching assistants that are very accessible via discussion boards, phone or email.

I complete the certificate program; can I put some credentials (initials) after my name indicating my training?

The short answer to this question is no. UNC does not confer a degree on certificate graduates, but rather a Certificate. You should put this on your resume/CV as part of your education and training, since it is a program you have completed and training/expertise you’ve developed. In general credentials or initials after one’s name are reserved for nationally-recognized and standardized academic programs. Nationally, certificate programs vary widely in the type of training, number of hours, whether graduate credit is offered, etc., therefore there are no universally recognized and accepted initials which are appropriate to signify the completion of a certificate program.

Will the certificate be listed on my transcript?

Yes, after you complete the program, your transcripts will indicate not just your completed course work but also that you have earned this certificate. Completing the certificate represents a significant amount of work and 11-15 hours of graduate credit. It is an impressive accomplishment of which you should be very proud. We are pleased that UNC will similarly acknowledge your accomplishment on your transcripts. Transcripts can be ordered online by current students and alumni of the University. Online transcript ordering is convenient, can be done from any location 24/7, and provides emails to inform students/alumni on the status of their request.

How do I get technical assistance?

Technical assistance is available through the University’s ATN department at 962-HELP or go to to use live chat support or to submit a support request online. You can also go through the course faculty and teaching assistants.

What if I want to apply for the MPH degree offered by the Occupational Health Nursing program after I finish the OHN Certificate program? What do I need to do?

By completing the OHN Certificate program, you have already received 11 or 12 credits hours which are part of the requirements for the OHN Concentration MPH degree. You would need to apply to the Graduate School by completing the Graduate School Application online. Please contact Susan Randolph ( or Bonnie Rogers ( with any questions, or check the Student Handbook.

  • Application deadlines: Fall semester-March 1; Spring semester-October 1

For further information from the Graduate School regarding applications, click here. The Graduate School also has information regarding North Carolina Residency. If you have specific questions regarding residency, you can email Michele Fulton (

How does the OHN Certificate program relate to certification in occupational health nursing?

The OHN Certificate program and OHN Certification (COHN or COHN-S) through the American Board for Occupational Health Nursing (ABOHN) are separate. They are not the same. The OHN Certificate program gives you academic credit for graduate level courses. The certificate results from an educational process awarded by an educational program or institution.  After completing the certificate program, the individual demonstrates knowledge of course content in occupational health nursing. After you complete the coursework, you receive a certificate of completion which can be proudly displayed. Certification, granted by ABOHN, indicates that you have successfully passed a challenging national examination, after meeting eligibility criteria, designed to test for advanced knowledge in clinical care, management, employee education, case management, and safety. Certification refers to an earned credential that demonstrates specialized knowledge, skills, and experience, awarded by a standard setting organization. Ongoing requirements, such as continuing education credits, experience, etc. are necessary to maintain the credential. You would be able to use the credits earned in the OHN Certificate program to help meet the continuing education requirements as part of the qualification process for ABOHN certification.

I’m already certified as an occupational health nurse (COHN or COHN-S). What are the advantages of completing the OHN Certificate program?

You would obtain formal academic credit and advanced knowledge at the graduate level in occupational health nursing. If you were considering obtaining a MPH degree in occupational health nursing at UNC, the credits earned through the OHN Certificate program would apply to the total number of required credits for the degree. In addition, other universities will most likely accept some or all of these credits.

Why aren’t all the courses offered online? I’m concerned about the required course offered on-campus and the related cost. 

Students in the OHN Certificate program take PHNU 781 in conjunction with students enrolled in the MPH degree program in Occupational Health Nursing. Faculty have condensed everything into one week in August (starting and ending mid-week), including worksite tours which cannot be done online. While some assignments are completed while on campus, other coursework extends throughout the fall semester as this is a semester long course. Faculty identify housing arrangements at a reasonable cost so students can select an option that best meets their needs and budget depending on where you stay. In addition, travel assistance may be available. A car may be necessary for travel to class and worksite tours.