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Prepare for the CNE Exam With an MSN Nurse Education Degree

The certified nurse educator (CNE) certificate is a way for nurses to demonstrate that they have put in the years of study and practice to successfully educate other nurses.

What Is a CNE?

A CNE is a certified nurse educator — a registered nurse with a graduate degree who has passed the Certified Nurse Educator Certification Exam.

In "What Does CNE Stand For? Glad You Asked!" posted on Reflections on Nurse Leadership, Karen Davis, DNP, RN, CNE, points out that the certified nurse educator designation demonstrates proficiency in the field of teaching nurses. This credential enables potential employers to easily spot a candidate who is an expert in preparing nurses for clinical practice.

While the examination may seem daunting — 150 questions over three hours — graduates of a Master of Science in nursing education program are well-prepared to pass.

National League for Nursing notes CNEs are required to renew their certification every five years. It can be renewed through accrual of renewal credits over the five-year term or by retaking the CNE exam.

CNE Eligibility

National League for Nursing indicates two routes to CNE eligibility:

The first option involves licensure and education. "A currently active, unencumbered, registered nurse designation in the country where currently practicing as a nurse educator" is mandatory. The nurse must also hold a master's or doctoral degree in nursing with a focus on nursing education. Two other options are possible for eligibility: the would-be CNE must hold a post-master's certification in nursing education or have nine or more hours of graduate-level education courses.

The second option allows registered nurses with a graduate degree in nursing in another specialty to sit for the exam if they have experience at an academic institution for at least two of the past five years.

Advantages for the MSN Nurse Educator

The National League of Nursing provides a detailed test blueprint for the exam that shows specific areas of knowledge tested for certification. This blueprint breaks down each section of the test.

The CNE must be able to develop lessons based on current techniques, impart that knowledge to nursing students, and assess and improve student proficiency. The MSN Nurse Educator degree at University of North Carolina Wilmington includes specialty training in educating nurses, plus hands-on experience that translates directly to the examination. These courses cover educational theory and practical application for student instruction, familiarizing the nurse educator with best practices for teaching success.

The CNE exam also assesses leadership in education. The MSN in nursing education degree encompasses training that address community or public health as well as policy change and leadership.

CNE Resources

National League for Nursing not only provides the detailed blueprint of testing areas, but they also have a breakdown of topic percentage. Their reference list provides resources worth reviewing in preparation for the examination. Sample exam questions can be found in the Certified Nurse Educator Examination Candidate Handbook.

National League for Nursing also offers a complete practice test that can be taken repeatedly for 60 days after purchasing this service. Investing in the practice test is a good confidence booster leading up to the exam itself. The practice exam will familiarize nurses with the testing format and help identify the knowledge areas that may need more study.

Achieving a CNE certification is a logical step in a nurse educator's career and signifies specialized expertise and qualification to prepare new nurses.

Learn more about the University of North Carolina Wilmington's online MSN Nurse Educator program.


Reflections on Nursing Leadership: What Does CNE Stand For? Glad You Asked!

National League for Nursing: Information for Meeting Requirements

National League for Nursing: CNE Eligibility

National League for Nursing: Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Examination - Detailed Test Blueprint

National League for Nursing: CNE Exam Prep

National League for Nursing: CNE Handbook

National League for Nursing: Self-Assessment Examination

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