Becoming a Certified Nurse Educator

Certified Nurse Educator (CNE)

The Certified Nurse Educator Exam

Becoming a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) is an investment of time and money.

When I graduated with my MS in Nursing Education, I had already been a nurse educator for 6 years.  Since my Master’s was in education, I felt like becoming a CNE made sense and I felt adequately prepared by my grad school. Still, I decided to take a nurse educator prep course at the recommendation of a coworker who had already taken the test. I was glad to take the course as I found it to be a refresher of what I had learned in grad school.

The NLN is the accrediting body for Certification in Nursing Education (CNE)

The NLN is the accrediting body for Certification in Nursing Education (CNE)

I’d recommend a prep course for anyone who isn’t a recent grad with an education degree or if your MS is in something other than nursing education. The exam was challenging and asked me questions that I wouldn’t know the answers to from working as an educator and not having the education coursework under my belt.

The Value of Certification

At first, I didn’t really see the benefit of having my certification. I had the same job, same pay, same student loan debt and nothing had changed. Then, slowly, I started noticing people treating me a little differently. The credential seemed like a magic pill and I was now viewed with more credibility and as more of an expert even though I had the exact same amount of education that I had prior to taking the exam.  I started to be sought out for Nurse Educator jobs that I wasn’t qualified for just because I had my CNE.

The National League of Nursing has this to say about the value of certification.

“Certification in any field is a mark of professionalism. For academic nurse educators, it establishes nursing education as a specialty area of practice and creates a means for faculty to demonstrate their expertise in this role. It communicates to students, peers, and the academic and health care communities that the highest standards of excellence are being met. By becoming credentialed as a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE), you serve as a leader and a role model.”

Is it Difficult to Renew your Certification?

There is the cost of renewal and you can choose to retake the exam our complete other renewal credit requirements. As extensive as the paperwork process is, I would much prefer that than take the exam again. I am genuinely grateful that the NLN requires you prove you are still deserving of the certification. I don’t think it would mean so much to me if I was able to just send in my check and be certified for another 5 years.

Is it worth it?

Photo of Patty and Sarah of OTS Info

OTS volunteering as judges

It depends on your career path. I think it is absolutely worth becoming a Certified Nurse Educator for anyone working in nursing education. It holds us to a higher standard of professionalism and demands we remain current and relevant, on some level. It also requires that we study education.

All of the nursing experience in the world doesn’t mean we know a thing about how to effectively deliver education. We work hard, as educators, doing our best to help each and every student become a safe and competent caregiver.  It’s worth the investment, in ourselves, to become certified. It helps us hold ourselves to a higher standard… and gives us a little more “street cred”.

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