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Questions?

Contact CNC's Staff at cnl@aacnnursing.org.

Apply for the Exam

Review the CNL Certification Guide, the Application & Exam Process Flowchart, the Application Checklist, and the CNL Standards of Conduct. Candidates must submit all required documents to CNC by the published deadline.

Apply to take the CNL exam in these short easy steps!

  1. Verify the Exam Dates and Locations during the testing period you wish to take the exam.

  2. Complete and submit the Online CNL Exam Application with payment. All fees are subject to change and are non-refundable.

  3. Contact your CNL Program Director or equivalent and have them complete the Online CNL Education Documentation Form.
    (Note: Please provide your CNL Program Director with the instructions on how to complete the education documentation form.)

  4. If your school is not listed as an Eligible CNL Program, the school Dean or equivalent must submit the School of Nursing CNL Education Program Verification Form. If your school is listed as an Eligible CNL Program, the Program Director must submit the Site Registration Form prior to the exam registration deadline.

  5. For Faculty Only – Also submit the CNL Faculty Eligibility Documentation Form.

  6. If you require special accommodations, submit the Special Accommodations Form.

Once your application, payment, and documentation is verified, CNC will email you a confirmation letter.

Note: Need to change your CNL Exam Date/Location? Fill out this form and send to cnl@aacnnursing.org.

Eligibility Requirements

CNL Certification Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to sit for the CNL Certification Exam, an individual must be a graduate of a CNL education program or a student in their last term of a CNL education program.  

To be considered for full certification, a candidate must meet the following requirements:  

  • Registered Nurse licensure (The candidate will be ineligible if currently being disciplined by a state nursing board.) 
  • Graduation from a CNL master's or post-master’s program, accredited by a nursing accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, that prepares individuals with the competencies delineated in the AACN white paper CNL Competencies and Curricular Expectations for Education and Practice

Certification will be awarded by CNC upon documentation and verification of RN licensure and graduation from a CNL education program.

Waiver for CNL Faculty

The CNC is waiving the eligibility requirements for CNL faculty to apply for certification. CNL faculty who meet the following criteria are eligible to sit for the CNL Certification Examination:  

  • Registered Nurse licensure 
  • Graduate degree in nursing or a related health care discipline (such as health care administration or public health) from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. 
  • Teach in an existing CNL education program  

Note: To apply for the exam, CNL faculty must submit the online CNL Certification Application and the CNL Faculty Eligibility Documentation Form. Waiver expires December 31, 2018.