<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TJCKC2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Clinical Nurse Leader Post Master’s Certificate | Drexel Online

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  • Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master’s Certificate

    ***While we reimagine this program, we are not currently accepting applications. We encourage you to explore similar programs, including the MSN: Nursing Education, MS: Quality, Safety and Risk Management, MSN: Quality, Safety, and Risk Management, MSN: Undeclared, and Certificate in Healthcare Simulation.***

    Drexel’s accredited online Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master's Certificate is for nurses who already have their MSN but want to prepare for this evolving specialist role. Clinical Nurse Leaders practice across the continuum of care within any healthcare setting. They are accountable for outcomes of care and integration of healthcare services, and function as a resource for a nursing team.

    This Post-Master's Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate focuses on building key competencies so that graduates may pursue Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). It offers a holistic curriculum that explores the use of technology, customization of care, measurement of outcomes, and more.


    Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master’s Certificate Program at a Glance

    • 25.5 quarter credits (the equivalent of 17 semester credits)
    • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited program
    • Flexible scheduling of clinical practicum in a variety of settings
    • Prepares you to sit for the national CNL exam through the Commission on Nurse Certification
    • Drexel’s Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master’s Certificate is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
    • You will learn from experienced and board-certified faculty from Drexel's acclaimed College of Nursing and Health Professions
    • A highly interactive online learning method that challenges and engages
    • The format is convenient for working nurses
    • Flexible scheduling of clinical practicum in a variety of settings

    What is CNL Certification?

    CNL certification is a credential for graduates of master's and post-master's Clinical Nurse Leader programs.

    It is a type of rubber stamp awarded by a non-governmental agency to CNLs who meet pre-defined standards. These include showing the skills and knowledge to apply best practices in a quality-driven and safety-focused context.

    The Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Exam is managed by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC), a branch of the AACN. Per the AACN, the credential inspires credibility and confidence.

    Will Drexel’s Clinical Nurse Leader Program Prepare Me For CNL Certification?

    Drexel University is proud to be listed as an eligible CNL education program by the Commission on Nurse Certification. The curriculum in the online Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master’s Certificate is designed to prepare you to sit for the National CNL exam.

    Throughout the Program, You Will Learn To:

    • Use tools to assess risk
    • Apply evidence-based knowledge and analysis of outcomes to design and redesign client care
    • Develop and monitor disease management programs that promote healthy lifestyles
    • Manage and build partnerships with other healthcare professionals
    • Understand healthcare reimbursement
    • Navigate issues in planning care across the lifespan as well as understand financial and economic concerns
    • Utilize epidemiological methodology to collect data and gain the knowledge necessary to plan community health promotion programs

    Residency On-Campus Requirement

    To help you prepare for your clinical practicum experience, you’ll participate in an exciting short two day on-campus residency. Utilizing Drexel’s state-of-the-art simulation lab, you’ll have the opportunity to build proficiency, develop hands-on experience, and practice your recently acquired quality, safety, and risk management skills during case studies designed specifically for your potential new roles.

    Given the current pandemic, we are temporarily conducting the on-campus experience virtually via Zoom. We will continually monitor the situation to determine when we can bring students to campus again.

    Clinical Practicum

    A key component of the clinical nurse leader online certificate program is the required clinical practicum. The practicum requires a total of 400 hours and is divided between three quarters. Each practicum quarter is offered once per year and each practicum quarter requires a specific number of hours. These experiences provide the opportunity to deepen your clinical skills. At the same time, you will able to develop extra competencies relating to the management of clients’ healthcare needs at the point-of-care. Precepted clinical experiences will include activities such as:

    • Modeling of care
    • Assessment and evaluation of aggregate patient outcomes
    • Case management and service integration
    • Unit and interdisciplinary team leadership
    • Teaching and mentoring of staff

    Post-Master’s Options as a Clinical Nurse Leader

    A Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Master's Certificate and CNL certification may help you pursue new nursing career opportunities. As the newest nursing role to be created in the last 30 years, Clinical Nurse Leaders earn from $52,000 to $106,000 per year with the average salary at $76,988.

    While the role is evolving in the broader field of nursing, per the AACN, over 90% of CNLs report being valued as employees because of their new knowledge and abilities. About 97% also say they are able to apply their CNL competencies into their current role.

    Related Programs

    Questions? We're here to help!

    For application related questions:

    For program related questions:
    College of Nursing and Health Professions Program Team

    State restrictions may apply to some programs.
    The Clinical Nurse Leader Post-Masters Certificate program at Drexel University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    View a sample plan of study.

    Required Courses  
    NURS 531 Epidemiology in Action: Tracking Health and Disease 3.0
    NURS 532 Evaluation of Health Outcomes 3.0
    NURS 574 Advanced Integrative Clinical Concepts 4.5
    NURS 602 Foundations for Clinical Nurse Leader 5.0
    NURS 603 Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Immersion I 5.0
    NURS 604 Clinical Nurse Leader Capstone Immersion II 5.0
    Total Credits 25.5

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • Your MSN must be from an institution accredited by the National League of Nursing (NLN) and/or the American Association Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The accrediting body for NLN is ACEN and the accrediting body for the American Association Colleges of Nursing is CCNE.
      • Nurses with a non-nursing bachelor's may consider applying for the RN-BSN-MSN program to earn both a BSN and MSN concurrently, or apply to the RN to MSN Bridge Program.
      • BSN degrees must be from an institution accredited by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education), ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing), or NLN CNEA (NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation)
    • Cumulative GPA of 3.0
      • If your GPA is lower, you're still encouraged to apply, but should ensure that relevant professional experience is included on your resume. You must also provide two professional letters of recommendation from either previous or immediate supervisors or former faculty members who can attest to your clinical knowledge, skill, and potential aptitude for graduate study.
    • While specific clinical work and/or volunteer experience is not required, it may make your application more competitive.

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions attended (including trade schools)
    • Two professional letters of recommendation from either previous or immediate supervisors or former faculty members who can attest to your clinical knowledge, skill, and potential aptitude for graduate study
      • If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, this requirement can be waived
    • Personal statement describing your interest in the program and particular specialty
    • Resume
    • Copy of your United States RN license
    • Additional requirements for International Students

    An admissions interview may be required.


    The tuition rate for the academic year 0-1 is $0 per credit.

    For the academic year 2023-2024, students enrolled in an online graduate academic program will be charged a graduate online program fee of $125 per year.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations.
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • These rates apply only to fully online courses. Hybrid or on-campus courses may have different rates.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Additional Equipment/Lab Fees

    Scholarship Opportunities

    At Drexel, we understand that developing a plan to finance your education is a critical step in your decision-making process. That's why we encourage students who require financial aid to fill out the FAFSA as early in the application process as possible. Learn more about Drexel's financial aid policies. In addition, nursing students are encouraged to visit the AACN to review the many scholarship opportunities that exist through the organization.


    Academic Calendar

    2023-2024 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2023

    September 26, 2023

    December 9, 2023

    December 11, 2023

    December 16, 2023

    Winter 2024

    January 8, 2024

    March 16, 2024

    March 18, 2024

    March 23, 2024

    Spring 2024

    April 1, 2024

    June 8, 2024

    June 10, 2024

    June 15, 2024

    Summer 2024

    June 24, 2024

    August 31, 2024

    September 3, 2024

    September 7, 2024


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    This program is not currently accepting new applicants.

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