Online Programs for Clinical Nurse Specialists

Read about online master's degree and certificate programs for clinical nurse specialists, who are a type of advanced practice nurse. Check the prerequisites for admission to these programs, and find out how the clinical component is handled in an online nursing program. Explore typical course topics you'd study as an aspiring clinical nurse specialist. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Online Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs are Available?

Clinical nurse specialist programs are offered only at the graduate level. These programs are suitable for nurses looking to go into academics, management, or administration. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and post-master's certificates are the two most common credentials offered online in this field. Certificate programs might offer specializations in areas like adult health, gerontology or pediatrics.

Online Programs Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and post-master's certificates
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in nursing, current licensure, work experience
Common Courses Advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, research applications, advanced practice nursing
Clinical Requirements Completed at local medical facility with permission; leads to certification eligibility

Are There Any Prerequisites?

For master's degree programs, a bachelor's degree in nursing may be required. Post-graduate certificate programs typically require a master's degree in nursing. Both program types will likely require you to provide proof of nursing licensure, and you may also be asked to provide proof of work experience and community service work. If your program offers specialization, you may need to have at least one year of bedside experience in order to choose certain specializations.

What Courses Will I Take?

This field of study will prepare you to design and oversee health programs, teach or supervise student nurses and handle complex patient issues. Program delivery formats vary by school and may include use of a special online learning website that you must log into in order to get your assignments. You may also complete coursework and interact with your classmates and instructors through this site. Some courses have a clinical component that must be completed at a participating medical facility near you. Topics of study may include:

  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • CNS theory
  • Development and evaluation in health care
  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Human development
  • Ethics and philosophy in nursing
  • Research applications
  • Advanced practice nursing

How Do the Clinical Requirements Work?

Some schools will help you find a nearby medical facility to complete this requirement. Schools may select qualified facilities based on criteria such as course requirements, national accrediting organization requirements, student learning and skill needs, preceptor expertise and site-specific resources. While you may be able to suggest a facility, you will likely not be able to contact a preceptor or begin work at a facility without prior permission. This restriction may be necessary to ensure you will be covered under your school's malpractice plan.

After your clinical experience, you may be eligible to sit for the national certification exam. The certification, Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). According to the ANCC, you must complete 500 hours of clinical work before you can take the exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Sacred Heart University

    Sacred Heart University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Sacred Heart University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Abilene Christian University

    Abilene Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Abilene Christian University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Doctoral
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

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