Overview of Online Post-Master's Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate Programs
Online clinical nurse leader post-master's certificate programs are designed for nurses who have already earned their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and want to take on leadership positions to care for their patients. These certificate programs are designed to equip students with clinical leadership skills and knowledge in technology, assessment, and evidence-based practice for the field. Graduates of these programs are prepared to navigate the field of healthcare and provide quality care and safety to their patients.
In addition to an MSN, some of these programs may require applicants to have an RN (registered nurse) license and/or meet a minimum number of hours of work experience as an RN. Depending on the program, students may also need to have prior coursework in areas like pharmacology, health assessment, and pathophysiology. These certificate programs can be completed in as little as 2 years and usually include about 7-8 online classes and a hands-on experience. Some certificate programs may be specifically designed to prepare students for the Clinical Nurse Leader board certification exam from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Commission on Certification for Nurses.
Requirements for Online Post-Master's Clinical Nurse Leader Certificates
Online post-master's clinical nurse leader certificate programs can typically be completed fully online other than a clinical practicum or clinical immersion project in their local area to provide students with hands-on training in the field. Students in these programs may gain additional skills in developing disease management programs, managing complex environments, collecting data, analyzing risk, and more.
Students in online post-master's clinical nurse leader certificate programs may be required to complete between 19 and 30 credits of coursework. Typically, students complete core courses online, which may include a range of interactive learning methods while still providing students with the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Some certificate programs may help students create individualized plans of study based on a past clinical experiences and coursework. Some course topics for these programs may include health outcomes, epidemiology, quality improvement, and information management.
Usually, clinical nurse leader post-master's certificate programs require hands-on experience in the form of a practicum or immersion experience. During this time, students get the chance to further develop their clinical skills in a range of settings. Students typically get the chance to be mentored by another professional in the field and may further develop skills in case management, evaluation, and more.
Career Outcomes with a Post-Master's Certificate in Clinical Nurse Leader
A post-master's certificate in clinical nurse leader does not qualify students for a position in and of itself, but since applicants to these programs need to have an MSN and an RN license, graduates have several career options. Some students may continue working as an RN, but many may go on to work as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist, who typically need to have at least a master's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, graduates from programs like these who are interested in leadership positions might work as clinical managers in nursing, which the BLS groups under the larger umbrella of medical and health services managers.
According to the BLS, medical and health services managers need to have at least a bachelor's degree and some work experience. As of 2019, these managers had a median annual salary of $100,980 and a job outlook of 18% from 2018 to 2028. This job outlook is much faster than the national average.
There are a few online clinical nurse leader post-master's certificate programs that may take around 2 years to complete. These programs usually include a clinical component and require applicants to have their MSN and nursing license.