Featured Online CNL Programs

Queens University of Charlotte

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Queens University of Charlotte’s online MSN Clinical Nurse Leader® (CNL) track transforms you into a healthcare leader so you can ensure both your patients and your team have optimal results. You’ll gain an invaluable credential and develop the in-demand skills for America’s fasting growing occupation. A post-MSN Clinical Nurse Leader certificate is also available.

Sacred Heart University

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Advance your career and expand your understanding of patient needs and professional healthcare knowledge with one of Sacred Heart University’s online nursing degree programs — an RN to BSN, RN to MSN, a Master’s in Nursing (MSN) with four specializations, or a Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Available CNL Programs:

  • RN-BSN-MSN – Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL)
  • BSN-MSN – Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL)

Other available programs:

  • RN-BSN
  • RN-BSN-MSN – Nursing Education (NE)
  • RN-BSN-MSN – Nursing Management and Executive Leadership (NMEL)
  • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN – Nursing Education
  • MSN – Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
  • Post-Master’s DNP

Key Program Elements:

  • Flexible, asynchronous classes online
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and NEASC accredited
  • Top-ranked university by U.S. News & World Report
  • Award-winning faculty
  • Small classes, one-on-one support

With more than 30 years of excellence in nursing education and recognized as a top university in the North by U.S. News & World Report, Sacred Heart University is committed to preparing skilled nurse leaders through a suite of online programs.

Saint Xavier University

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Coursework in the MSN in Clinical Leadership program emphasizes clinical expertise in pathophysiology, pharmacology and health assessment. Applied research, epidemiology and population-based health are also examined. The advanced expertise you’ll gain in this nursing master’s degree program is applicable to all clinical settings.
The skills and knowledge offered in Saint Xavier University’s online program are applicable to most clinical settings including: hospitals, doctors’ offices, rehabilitation centers, hospices and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.
The nursing curriculum for this track covers vital aspects of Clinical Nurse Leadership including:
  • Clinical leadership strategies and how they can improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs
  • Evidence-based quality improvement
  • Advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology and health assessment
  • Trends, issues and policies related to the transformation of the American health care system

Online Accredited CNL Programs

Cleveland State University


The MSN Clinical Nurse Leader track prepares Registered Nurses for leadership roles in the provision and management of health care across all settings. Coursework focuses on developing advanced skills in advocacy, education, policy and organization, supervision, delegation, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Grand Valley State University


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), offered through the university’s Kirkhof College of Nursing, prepares professional nurses as advanced generalists to serve as leaders within clinical micro systems (patient care units/settings) in a reformed health care system. Students who complete the MSN are eligible to take the Clinical Nurse Leader exam.

Lynchburg College


The college’s online program provides advanced training for generalist nurses who will continue to give expert patient-centered care in health care facilities, and educates advanced nurses who will provide care management to patients on a unit-based level. It also develops a knowledge base for nurses to implement outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies, and enables them to create and manage microsystems of care that will be responsive to the health care needs of individuals and families

Saginaw Valley State University


The Master of Science in Nursing prepares registered professional nurses for practice as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). This degree prepares nurse leaders to work with teams and transform systems in clinical and academic settings, as well as in the communities served by those organizations.

South Dakota State University


Clinical Nurse Leader emphasis prepares graduates for coordination of care and clinical leadership in all health care settings. The graduates of the program are skilled in managing microsystems of care, and are prepared to implement outcomes-based practice and quality improvement strategies.

Spring Hill College


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed to prepare nurses for leadership in the health care delivery system as Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNL). CNLs are advanced generalist clinicians who assume accountability for patient-care outcomes at the point-of-care in any setting where healthcare is delivered.

The Ohio State University


The clinical nurse leader (CNL) specialty track prepares graduates to function as advanced generalists, providing and managing comprehensive client care in acute care facilities. Knowledge and competencies for the CNL have been specified by the American Association for Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

The University of Alabama


Capstone College of Nursing offers the MSN Clinical Nurse Leader track in a convenient online format to meet the student’s demanding work schedule. The role of a CNL has evolved out of a need for improved quality in patient care and the desire to prepare nurses to thrive in the current and future health care system.

University of Detroit Mercy


You will be prepared for an advanced generalist practitioner to provide clinical leadership at the point of service in a variety of practice settings. This unique program requires formal partnering between universities and health systems to ensure graduates will be provided a practice environment to enact the role of the Clinical Nurse Leader.

University of Iowa


The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) is an evolving nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in collaboration with leaders from the education and practice arenas. AACN is advancing the CNL as a clinical expert focused upon improving the quality of patient care and helping professional nurses to thrive in the health care system.

University of Maryland


Intended for students who have already earned a baccalaureate or higher degree in a field other than nursing, the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option prepares graduates to provide direct patient care and clinical nursing leadership in various practice areas.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst


A collaborative effort between the College of Nursing faculty and local leaders in nursing practice, the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Master’s concentration prepares nurse leaders who design, provide, manage, and coordinate health promotion, risk reduction, disease prevention, and illness management services to individuals and clinical populations.

University of New Hampshire


The Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing Program (2nd degree) is for non-registered nurses with a BA/BS or higher degree in a field other than nursing. The CNL is a role in the field of nursing designed to provide Master’s-prepared, point-of-care nurse leaders with the ability to manage and solve complex patient problems.

University of Pittsburgh


Pitt Nursing’s CNL Program gives students a strong foundation in physiology/pathophysiology, health assessment, and pharmacology. Coursework covers organizational and management theory, leadership development, and education and mentoring in the clinical setting.

University of Portland


The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Master’s program option prepares graduates as leaders in the nursing care of clients in a variety of care settings. The CNL curriculum focuses on preparing nurses to function in leadership roles, overseeing and coordinating care as part of an inter-professional team.

University of Rochester


The Clinical Nurse Leader curriculum at the University of Rochester is based on the national model curriculum proposed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The program builds upon baccalaureate nursing knowledge and work experience, and the three foci of its curriculum are (1) nursing leadership, (2) clinical outcomes management, and (3) care environment management.

University of San Francisco


Health care facilities nationwide are beginning to add Clinical Nurse Leaders to their staff as the significant contribution a CNL makes to more effective and efficient patient care becomes apparent. The University of San Francisco is one of the first schools in the nation to offer the RN to MSN online degree program.

University of South Alabama


The CNL program prepares professional nurses as advanced generalists who are experts at the point of care. University of South Alabama College of Nursing’s interactive online classroom provides opportunities for active learning, discussion, problem solving, debating, critical thinking, research, networking, and community building.

University of Vermont


Clinical Nurse Leaders centralize the coordination of patient care and offer direct care in complex circumstances, combining the latest innovations in health care delivery with evidence-based practice. The MSN degree in Nursing provides the academic and clinical experience required to earn national certification for professional practice as a Clinical Nurse Leader.

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh


UW Oshkosh’s MSN with CNL emphasis prepares students for advanced nursing roles in a variety of healthcare settings. Theory courses are 100% online. Clinical practica experiences are arranged using students’ preferences in collaboration with cooperating healthcare agencies.