End of Life Care Micro-Certificate

Program Benefits
  • Learn unique, discipline-specific skills needed to work with the dying and as an effective member of an interdisciplinary health care team
  • Earn a valuable credential backed by the University of Utah which will increase your chances of success in the competitive job market
  • Gain the skills needed to pursue positions in one of today's most rapidly growing job sectors
  • This certificate can be completed in as little as two semesters

Demand in the job market for aging care specialists

New opportunities are emerging daily in the development and delivery of aging products and services. Individuals who understand older adults' needs, strengths, and limitations, as well as their cognitive, physical, and social functioning, will be well-positioned for today's competitive marketplace.

This certificate is designed to guide participants to a better understanding of death's many dimensions and to become more knowledgeable about end of life issues, whether for personal or professional reasons. Professionals in a myriad of practices—nurses, social workers, doctors, chaplains—regardless of setting, will inevitably work with patients facing acute or long-term situations involving life-limiting illness, dying, death, grief, and bereavement.

This certificate is offered in collaboration with the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program in the College of Nursing. These collaborative non-credit certificates utilize existing for-credit classes and as such, have unique application requirements which are described in the information below.


Certificate Overview

Demand for healthcare workers will remain particularly strong due to the mounting healthcare needs of the burgeoning elderly population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "the health care and social assistance industry is expected to be the most rapidly growing sector in terms of employment" through 2020. It is projected that employment will increase by 34.5 percent in healthcare support occupations and 25.9 percent in healthcare practitioner and technical occupations through 2020. There is a growing demand for workers in long-term care in particular as more of the elderly require nursing home care, residential care, adult day care, and home care.

Why get your End of Life Care Micro-Certificate at the University of Utah

Benefit from the University of Utah reputation for credibility and quality. Choosing the University of Utah for your certificate program makes a clear statement about your commitment to excellence.

  • Learn from the same high-quality faculty that teach in our degree programs.
  • Develop a valuable University of Utah peer and faculty network.
  • Convenient online classes offer a schedule that works around you. Go to class whenever and wherever you want.
  • Affordable pay-as-you-go option - pay for classes in the semester you take them. Payment for the full certificate up front is not required.

Who Should Attend

This certificate is designed for individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and goals. Experience in healthcare or caring for the aging is not required for admission into this micro-certificate program. Professionals from a variety of careers will find this helpful to provide more value to their current job or seek opportunities to advance. Following are some of the more typical professional areas that would seek and benefit from this program:

Registered nurses
Nurse practitioners
Licensed vocational or practical nurses
Nursing assistants
Social workers
Occupational therapists
Recreation therapists
Physical therapists
Respiratory therapists

Personal care assistants
Physical fitness professionals
Adult children of aging parents

Certificate Details

The non-credit End of Life Care Micro-Certificate will utilize two existing courses currently offered in the College of Nursing.

Required courses:
PEPEC 656: Interdisciplinary Approach to End-of-Life / Palliative Care – 2 credits
PEPEC 532: Death Dying and Bereavement – 3 credits

Class format: PEPEC 532 is an online class and PEPEC 656 is held on-campus providing networking opportunities with faculty and fellow students.

Class duration: classes are held over a traditional 15 week semester.

Enrollment options: PEPEC 656 is offered each spring / PEPEC 532 is offered each summer.

Course sequencing: there are no restrictions on course sequencing. Students may take the courses in any order.

Average Time to Complete: the certificate can be completed in as little as 2 semesters. Students must complete the program within 2 years. There is no minimum or maximum number of credits a student must or can take per semester.

Prerequisites: there are no prerequisites for this micro-certificate.

Application and Completion Requirements


A bachelor's or AA degree is required for all applicants. Please see application section for more information on how to apply.


A certificate is awarded upon satisfactory completion of two required courses. After completing all requirements, students may request to receive their official certificate by completing the Request for Certificate form. All requirements must be completed within two years after the student starts his/her first course. Upon verified completion, the End of Life Care Micro-Certificate will appear on official University of Utah transcripts.

Digital Badges

example of digital badge for the University of UtahUpon completion, students will receive a digital badge that can be added to their social media accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn, and shared with their professional networks.

Follow the link on the badge to the left to find out what metadata is behind the End of Life Care Micro-Certificate badge.

Find out more about Digital Badges at the University of Utah »


The End of Life Care Micro-Certificate is a five credit program of study with two required courses offered over a time frame comparable to a traditional semester schedule, with fixed start and end dates. These non-credit courses meet with for-credit sections.

PEPEC 656: Interdisciplinary Approach to End-of-Life/Palliative Care

Health care providers, regardless of practice settings, will inevitably work with patients facing acute or long-term situations involving life-limiting illness, dying, death, grief, and bereavement. These patients and their families experience a variety of needs throughout their time of illness. These needs are addressed by the help of many professional disciplines specifically trained to diagnose and treat these needs. This course provides interdisciplinary discourses on the provision of holistic care for patients and their families experiencing life-limiting disease.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss how personal beliefs, biases, and histories impact upon the delivery of care to patients, families/caregivers
  • Define hospice and palliative care and describe how these constructs fit into the care continuum
  • Describe common pathophysiological and psycho-social mechanisms of pain at end-of-life and use appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for pain
  • Differentiate physical pain from suffering due primarily to psychosocial distress
  • List ten common symptoms seen in terminal illness and apply appropriate, evidence-based therapies for their management
  • Describe the major bioethical constructs as they apply to end-of-life care, advanced directives, and assisted death
  • Describe how spirituality and diversity impact on the provision of care of patients and families/caregivers
  • Demonstrate discipline-specific competencies related to the roles of advanced practice nursing, pharmacy, and social work in palliative/end-of-life care
  • Demonstrate skills essential for effective interdisciplinary care of patients and families/caregivers when working with other health professionals
  • Demonstrate clinical communication skills essential to health professionals working with terminally ill patients and their families/caregivers

PEPEC 532: Death, Dying and Bereavement

This course will provide knowledge and strategies which are helpful in working with dying and bereaved individuals and their families. It will present an overview of clinical, philosophical, spiritual and social issues concerning dying and bereavement. Personal growth, confronting one's own mortality and awareness of "unfinished business" will be emphasized.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Develop an awareness of personal feelings, beliefs, attitudes, unfinished business, misconceptions about death and grief, and confront one's own mortality
  • Identify practical strategies and resources for supporting terminally ill or dying individuals and their loved ones
  • Acquire an understanding of normal and complicated grief, and identify practical strategies for working with a grieving person
  • Learn about death and grief customs of other cultures and religions
  • Critique the funeral mortuary experience in American society and its value for survivors
  • Complete (own) advanced directives and be able to educate family, friends, or patients about the value of having these documents in place
  • Identify practical strategies for working with individuals with life-threatening illness and their loved ones


Non-credit tuition for the full micro-certificate is $1750.

Tuition for individual classes is as follows:

PEPEC 656: Interdisciplinary Approach to End-of-Life/Palliative Care
PEPEC 532: Death Dying and Bereavement

Group pricing – for organizations interested in providing this option to 3 or more people, special pricing is available. Please call us at 801 587 8822.

Group payment options – payment options are available for organizations or individuals needing to arrange installment plans or 2018 budget cycle payment terms.

Looking for CEU's? – we are currently applying for CEU recognition for several national organizations. E-mail us to find out if we have CEU approval for your needs.

Tuition is due at the beginning of each course offering a convenient pay-as-you-go option. Textbooks are additional costs. Tuition listed above is for the 2016-2017 academic year and subject to change without advance notice.

Online courses may have an additional $60 per class fee.

Financial aid is not available for this non-credit certificate.

For this certificate, installment plans and deferral payment plans are available for non-credit students. Visit the Tuition Payment Options page for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there exams? Am I graded?

Certificate classes are graded with a "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" option. For successful certificate completion, students must achieve a "satisfactory" grade in all classes.

Can I apply these classes to a degree at the University of Utah?

This is a non-credit micro-certificate and currently cannot be applied to a for-credit degree or certificate. However, the College of Nursing is reviewing options to recognize these courses as completed, for students pursuing the for-credit Gerontology Interdisciplinary Certificate. For more information about this option, please speak with the program director, Kara Dassel.

What is the average weekly time commitment for each of the classes?

For a three credit hour class, each student is expect to spend approximately six hours per week outside the classroom.

What are the online courses like?

The online courses in this certificate are asynchronous, meaning you don't have to attend online classes at a specific time. Our students use a combination of self-study and peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network to facilitate instruction. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to enhance learning outcomes, all at times that are most convenient to you.

Using chat, video conferencing, phone calls, email, social media, bulletin boards, and more, you'll stay connected with fellow students and faculty, building personal networks along the way.

Your courses are developed by faculty and instructional designers who understand the specific needs of learners in an online environment. Special consideration is given to advance planning and setting expectations in the online classroom, so each curriculum is outlined in a syllabus distributed at the start of the course. This document provides an overview of the course assignments, grading strategy, student and faculty expectations, and course materials, as well as an understanding of the course goals and learning outcomes.

Does it matter which course I take first or in what order I take the classes?

There are no restrictions on course sequencing. Students may take the courses in any order.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of credits a student may take in a semester?

There are no minimums or maximum number of credits restrictions for students. Students skipping one or more semesters are encouraged to communicate with their program advisor regarding completion plans.

Will I have flexibility in what classes I take and when?

Once admitted, students are responsible for enrolling in individual classes on their own through Continuing Education Academic Noncredit. There is no specific order in which the courses must be taken and students may consult with the Gerontology program advisor if they have questions about specific courses.

Are these classes eligible for federal financial aid?

This is a non-credit certificate and is not eligible for financial aid. Students are encouraged to explore alternate educational loans or visit with their HR department regarding tuition reimbursement.

How often are classes offered?

The full University of Utah class schedule can be found here.

Certificate classes meet with for-credit sections. All classes are offered at least twice a year but to ensure an efficient program-of-study, careful pre-planning with your advisor is recommended.

How to Apply

The following information is required on the application:

  • Personal information such as your name, address, phone and email address
  • Academic history - degree, degree institution, year
  • University of Utah student history (if any)
  • Your response to two short questions:
         Why are you interested in pursuing the End of Life Care Micro-certificate at this time in your life?
         What are your professional or personal goals once you have completed the certificate?

Please have all information available when you are ready to start the application. Once the application is started, there is no option to save and return. Uploading of documents for short-answer responses is not available. Please be prepared to enter directly or paste from another document.

There is no fee to apply.

This non-credit certificate program is not open to University of Utah matriculated (degree-seeking) students.

Applicants can expect to receive information about their application within 3 days of submission.


Deadlines and Important Dates
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. For planning purposes, applicants are encouraged to submit their application at least one month prior to the intended start date.

Find information about the University of Utah academic calendar here.

Contact Us

Professional Education at the University of Utah
Phone: 801-585-1780
E-mail: proed@continue.utah.edu
Online contact form

Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program
Jackie Eaton, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program
University of Utah College of Nursing
Office phone: 801-587-9638

For more information about our Veterans/Military Program, contact Bill Bialcak at 801-589-4179.