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Clinical Nurse Educator Certification and Certificate Programs

Learn about the curriculum requirements of certificate programs designed for clinical nurse educators. Read about specialization options, employment trends, continuing education programs and certification requirements for individuals in this field.

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Essential Information

Registered nurses with accumulated work experience, an interest in helping other nurses adjust to their careers and an interest in teaching are well positioned to become clinical nurse educators. Most schools refer to their clinical nurse educator certificate programs as nurse educator programs. Programs acquaint senior nurses with a mix of concepts and practices, such as curriculum design, learning methodologies, student evaluation, and education technology, to help them train subordinates for a career in nursing. Specialization options may be available in subjects like collegiate education or staff development.

Education Prerequisites

Some schools require a master's degree in nursing (MSN) and training in a clinical specialty, such as cardiac care, pediatrics or oncology to enroll in a post-master's nurse educator certificate program. Other institutions offer post-baccalaureate certificates in nurse education and require that applicants have a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field. Additionally, applicants need to be licensed RNs and to have logged a certain number of hours working as an RN.

Program Coursework

Nurse educator programs are generally short, consisting of 4-5 classes. Courses in some programs give students the option to specialize in continuing education, staff development or collegiate education. Here are some common courses in a nurse educator program:

  • Nursing curriculum development
  • Nursing program planning
  • Nursing instruction methods
  • Professional ethics and legal issues
  • Clinical nursing practice

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Nurses who earn a clinical nurse educator certificate are qualified to provide instruction to lower level nurses and nurses in training. Certificate holders can move toward teaching full- or part-time and continue to work in a clinical setting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted opportunities for registered nurses from 2010-2020 to be excellent, at around a 26% growth rate. Growth in demand for nurses will create, in turn, demand for clinical nurse educators. According to, nurse educators earned a median salary of $69,218 as of November 2013.

Continuing Education Information

A number of schools offer both certificates and MSN programs concentrating in nursing education. In many cases, credits earned in a post-baccalaureate clinical nurse educator certificate program can be applied towards an MSN with a nurse educator focus. Licensed nurses who have completed training as nurse educators and want to gain certification can do so by passing the Certification for Nurse Educators (CNE) examination offered by the National League for Nursing.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics