Clinical Nurse Leader

A group of Vermont State University nursing students working together on a project in a simulation lab.

In the Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration within Vermont State’s online MSN program, we’ll prepare you to be a clinical nurse leader (CNL) in the healthcare community. Learn to bring about positive change through systems improvement while providing top-notch care for patients and guidance for coworkers.

Our students balance busy lives and commitments with their learning, and this program is designed to fit into your schedule. By taking just one online class every eight weeks, you can complete the program in two years. Our courses are made with working professionals in mind, and as such you’ll be able to complete your required clinical hours in a variety of settings.

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Rachel Smith

Assistant Director of Admissions


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Helen Papeika

Co-chair Department of Nursing, Assistant Professor of Nursing, MSN Program Coordinator


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Why Study to become a Clinical Nurse Leader at Vermont State?

  • Enrollment On Your Schedule: Our eight-week modules allow you to enroll throughout the year and then study at a pace that works for you, one course at a time. You can complete the program in as few as 24 months. 
  • Flexible Clinical Hours: Earn required hours in your community, possibly even at your current job. We have a dedicated clinical coordinator who will help you with placement. 
  • Two Paths to Certification: Our Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) concentration qualifies you to sit for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) certification examination for CNLs. And our Nurse Educator (NE) concentration qualifies you to sit for the National League for Nursing (NLN) certification examination for either Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) or Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE-cl).   
  • Access to Professors: Small classes and access to professors both in person and online mean you’ll be able to develop the close relationships that will help you be successful. 
  • Earning Potential: Glassdoor estimates that the total annual pay for a clinical nurse leader (CNL) is $98,000. 

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Sample Courses

  • Risk & Financial Management
  • Nursing Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Meet Our Faculty

Helen Papeika smiles at the camera in a white shirt and dark blonde hair.

Co-chair Department of Nursing, Assistant Professor of Nursing, MSN Program Coordinator

  • Castleton Campus


  • Castleton Campus

Assistant Professor

  • Castleton Campus

Short blonde haired woman smiles at the camera in a tan jacket.

Senior Staff Assistant

  • Castleton Campus

Ready to Take the Next Step?