Become a Certified CNL

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification is obtained through the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC), an autonomous arm of Association of American Colleges of Nursing (AACN). To be considered for CNL certification, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • Registered Nurse licensure
    Candidates currently being disciplined by a state nursing board are ineligible.
  • Graduation from a CNL master’s or post-master’s education program
  • Successful completion of the CNL Certification Exam

Students in their last term of a CNL education program are eligible to sit for the CNL examination.

Waiver for CNL Faculty

The CNC is waiving the eligibility requirements for CNL faculty to apply for certification. The waiver expires December 31, 2018. CNL faculty who meet the following criteria are eligible to sit for the CNL Certification Examination:

  • Registered Nurse licensure

  • Graduate degree in nursing or a related health care discipline (such as health care administration or public health) from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Teach in an existing CNLeducation program

Read The Role of the CNL (PDF 224KB) by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Get more details on the CNL certification process. Click here for a summary of exam resources.