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Clinical Nurse Leader Programs
(found programs from 106 schools)



Becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader is a great way to assume a leadership position in nursing without giving up your patient care role. If you would like to help teach other nurses how to provide effective and safe care to patients, design policies and procedures and maintain your active role within healthcare, a CNL program may be right for you.

The Clinical Nurse Leader is seen as a guardian of care, ensuring that evidence based practice is incorporated into nursing practice, and routinely serving as the main educator and the lead coordinator of interdisciplinary care practices. If you are ready to learn more about how you can enter this profession, contact the schools you see below to learn more.

The Clinical Nurse Leader role has been the subject of much discussion since its creation by the AACN. The primary focus of the role is on managing care plans and care delivery to improve patient outcomes. There is less emphasis on directly providing primary care, however most CNLs continue to oversee entire units of patients, thereby maintaining a line to direct patient care.

clinical nurse leader role

There is a great deal of information about the role of the CNL on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) website, if you are just beginning to look into this profession. If you are ready to get program information from schools, select your state below and contact the schools you see listed.

The first step in becoming a Clinical Nurse Leader is to pursue a CNL track as part of a nationally accredited Masters of Science in Nursing program. The CNL Certification Examination is administered at the end of the program by the AACN's Commission on Nurse Certification. As always, you should also make sure to check with the Board of Nursing in the state where you intend to practice, for any state specific requirements.

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Online programs may not be available in all areas

Traditional On Campus Programs:

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Alabama

Spring Hill College (Mobile, AL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
Program Name: Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) - CNL
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (Huntsville, AL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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California

California State University-Dominguez Hills (Carson, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA)
Program Name: MSN Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nursing (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of San Francisco (Cupertino, CA / San Francisco, CA / San Ramon, CA / Santa Rosa, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online), Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona, CA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online), Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Connecticut

Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
Program Name: MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader (online), RN-BSN-MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Florida

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Georgia

Georgia Regents University (Augusta, GA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Idaho

Idaho State University (Pocatello, ID)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Illinois

Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Illinois State University (Normal, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Millikin University (Decatur, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader, Master's Entry into Nursing Practice: Pre-Licensure (MENP-PL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Resurrection University (Oak Park, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Rush University (Chicago, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) (online), Generalist Entry Master's With Focus in Clinical Leadership (GEM)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Saint Anthony College of Nursing (Rockford, IL)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing (Peoria, IL)
Program Name: Child and Family Nursing (CNL CNS or Educator) (online), Medical-Surgical Nursing (CNL CNS or Educator) (online)
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
Saint Xavier University (Chicago, IL)
Program Name: MSN - Clinical Leadership (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Indiana

Goshen College (Goshen, IN)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Iowa

Grand View University (Des Moines, IA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Kaplan University (Cedar Falls, IA / Cedar Rapids, IA / Davenport, IA / Des Moines, IA / Mason City, IA)
Program Name: MSN - Executive Leader
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Maine

Kaplan University (Lewiston, ME / South Portland, ME)
Program Name: MSN - Executive Leader
University of Southern Maine (Portland, ME)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Maryland

Kaplan University (Hagerstown, MD)
Program Name: MSN - Executive Leader
University of Maryland (Baltimore, MD)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Massachusetts

Curry College (Milton, MA)
Program Name: MS in Nursing (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Simmons School of Social Work (Boston, MA)
Program Name: Clinical Leadership (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
UMassOnline (Shrewbury, MA)
Program Name: Master of Science Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Amherst, MA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Michigan

Oakland University (Rochester, MI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Saginaw Valley State University (University Center, MI)
Program Name: Health System Nurse Specialist (CNL Educator Manager or Informaticist)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, MI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Missouri

Central Methodist University (Fayette, MO)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Cox College (Springfield, MO)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Montana

Montana State University (Bozeman, MT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Nebraska

Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Kaplan University (Lincoln, NE / Omaha, NE)
Program Name: MSN - Executive Leader
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Nevada

University of Nevada-Reno (Reno, NV)
Program Name: MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader
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New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University (Hookset, NH)
Program Name: MS in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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New Jersey

Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck, NJ)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark, NJ)
Program Name: Clinical Leadership
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
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New York

CUNY-Hunter College (New York, NY)
Program Name: Adult Health - Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The Sage Colleges (Troy, NY)
Program Name: Community Health (CNS CLS Educator or Administrator)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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North Carolina

Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Ohio

Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader Track (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Otterbein University (Westerville, OH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of Toledo (Toledo, OH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Wright State University (Dayton, OH)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH)
Program Name: MSN Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma Health Science Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
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Oregon

University of Portland (Portland, OR)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Pennsylvania

Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader in Adult Health
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Program Name: MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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South Dakota

South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Tennessee

East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
Program Name: Clinical Management
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
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Texas

Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (Galveston, TX)
Program Name: MSN - Clinical Nurse Leader
University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, TX)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Utah

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Virginia

George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader Program (CNL)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
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Washington

Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA)
Program Name: Care and Outcomes Manager (COM)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
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Wisconsin

Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
Program Name: Direct Entry MSN
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (Oshkosh, WI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Viterbo University (La Crosse, WI)
Program Name: Clinical Nurse Leader
Accreditation: CCNE accredited