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Clinical Nurse Leader and nurse

Online Master's Degree MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader

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Register By: May 08 Classes Start: May 10

​Enhance your career with the Clinical Nurse Leader Program Online

Southern New Hampshire University's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program is based on the competencies and practice standards defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Graduates of the Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Nurse leader program meet the educational requirements to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) exam offered by offered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC).

See Yourself Succeed in Nursing

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online program at SNHU prepares today's nurses with the key competencies necessary for continuous improvement of the safety and quality of healthcare systems. The Clinical Nurse Leader program online focuses on the essential skills required by nurse leaders to act as providers and managers of care and assume accountability for patient care needs within the current health delivery environments. It will provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge in the areas of advanced nursing practice, leadership, research, evidence-based practice, care coordination and transition management. At the end of the program, students will complete a capstone course that includes a 300 hour clinical immersion experience under the guidance of a CNL preceptor.

As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission - to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your MSN online at SNHU include:

  • Accredited. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program in nursing at Southern New Hampshire University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202.887.6791.
  • Affordability. Take advantage of some of the most affordable tuition rates in the nation
  • Convenience. Attend class when it's convenient for you - online education means 24/7 access
  • Efficiency and flexibility. With five terms per year, you can complete your MSN degree in 20 months
  • Expert instruction. Learn from instructors with relevant, real-world experience
  • Minimal requirements. No GMAT or GRE required for admission
  • Networking. Tap into our nationwide network of alumni for tips and career opportunities
  • Student support. Count on the ongoing support of dedicated academic and career advisors specialized in your area of study

Admission Requirements

Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application and providing undergraduate transcripts.

MSN Admission Requirements:

  • Must maintain an active unencumbered Registered Nurse license. Licensure exam must be equivalent to NCLEX-RN examination. (If a student holds active licenses in more than one state/jurisdiction all licenses must be unencumbered.)
  • Must have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program (ACEN, CCNE, and CNEA) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Provisional acceptance may be extended to applicants with an undergraduate GPA between 2.67 and 2.99

No BSN? No problem! SNHU also offers a RN to MSN Accelerated Pathway for registered nurses who know they want to continue their education onto an MSN. The Accelerated Pathway saves eligible students up to $3,700 in tuition and 20 weeks of time.

SNHU nursing programs are not authorized in the state of Washington or US territories and we are not accepting students residing in Washington state or US territories into Nursing programs at this time. Currently enrolled students who move into the state of Washington or a US territory will not be able to continue in nursing courses until they move out of the state of Washington or the US territory. Prospective students are encouraged to contact Admission, and current students should contact their Advisor, for more information.

Career Outlook

A report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled ''The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health'' identifies a growing demand for qualified nurses who are prepared to meet the complex and changing needs of the 21st-century healthcare workforce. The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice has recommended that at least two-thirds of the workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of clinical nurse leaders and other medical and health services managers is projected to grow 20% through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.*

Top treatment centers - including ANCC Magnet hospitals - are actively looking for nurses with advanced degrees to take their patient care to the next level. An MSN degree can expand your nursing career employment and leadership opportunities.

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader degree online program, you'll be able to:

  • Propose informatics systems initiatives and technologies that facilitate effective decision-making in delivering upon and enhancing patient care
  • Employ research practices, methodologies and a spirit of scholarly inquiry to motivate change and drive real-world improvement in healthcare
  • Create client-centered, culturally appropriate health prevention and promotion initiatives that improve the health, safety and quality of life for people and their communities
  • Generate data-driven solutions for operational challenges that navigate the intersection of quality and cost in ensuring excellence in healthcare across diverse settings
  • Advocate for ethically responsible policies and effective systems that empower practitioners and meet the needs of healthcare consumers
  • Model leadership and professional practices in healthcare by building effective working relationships and facilitating ethical and strategic decision-making across organizations
  • Design, implement and evaluate population-based programs of care to achieve quality outcomes through the Clinical Nurse Leader role


The curriculum for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader online program follows the competencies and practice standards defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing specific to this role within the field.

It is a requirement that Clinical Nurse Leader and Nurse Educator students carry their own medical malpractice insurance while enrolled in practicum courses. At least two terms prior to the start of the clinical components, students will be required to demonstrate proof of having an active individual medical malpractice certificate. In addition all students must comply with the requirements of the healthcare organizations where their capstone clinical immersion experience will be completed.  These requirements may include (but are not limited to) criminal background checks and verification of licensure, immunization records, and health insurance. Students may incur additional costs to meet the healthcare organization requirements.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Graduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
$1,410 $470

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Students enrolled in MSN programs may be subject to ongoing licensure checks through a third party vendor, additional fees will apply and may vary by state.

Licensure and Certification Disclosures

SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet, at (viewed online December 14, 2017). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.