Certified Nurse Educator Exam

The Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) certification recognizes specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities inherent in nurse education that strengthen the use of core competencies and contributes to the professional development of nurse educators.


Before you sit for the CNE exam, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Option 1
    • Valid, unrestricted license in the country of practice, and
    • A master’s or doctoral degree in nursing with:
      • An emphasis in nursing education, or
      • Post-master’s certificate in nursing education, or
      • Nine or more graduate-level education course credits
  • Option 2
    • Valid, unrestricted license in the country of practice, and
    • A master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, with major emphasis in a role other than nursing education, and
    • Two or more years employment with an academic institution’s nursing program within the last five years

Test design

The three-hour exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, each with four possible answers. Questions on the exam consist of three cognitive levels – recall, application, and analysis – divided into six content areas:

  • Facilitate learning – 22% of the exam

As a nurse educator, you will be expected to effectively use teaching strategies based on educational theory and evidence-based practices. This entails knowledge and skill to modify learning experiences to enhance a student’s educational experience based on their learning style. Using oral and written communication, you will create a positive learning environment where each student has the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills in a safe environment.

  • Facilitate learner development and socialization – 15% of the exam

Your goal as a nurse educator is to provide the resources necessary for learners with diverse needs and skills while creating an environment of peer and self-evaluation. Through your encouragement and guidance, each student will strive for professional development.

  • Use of assessment and evaluation strategies – 19% of the exam

As an active contributor to the educational environment, you will provide input that enhances the nursing program and assists in policy development. As a professional intent on excellence, you will utilize methods available to assess and evaluate learning in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. You will use proven evaluation methods to assess learner development, the effectiveness of content delivery, and program outcomes.

  • Curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes – 17% of the exam

You will use your knowledge and experience in curriculum development. You will analyze and revise the curriculum utilizing program outcomes, learner needs, societal and health care needs, and stakeholder feedback. You will continually strive for program improvement using appropriate change theories and strategies.

  • The pursuit of continual self and quality improvement in the Academic Nurse Educator role – 12% of the exam

As a nurse educator, you will continually strive for professional growth and positive role modeling through engagement in continual self-education, professional organization memberships, and management of responsibilities required or influenced by the nurse educator position.

  • Engagement in scholarship, service, and leadership – 15% of the exam

Your role of nurse educator requires your ability to function as a change agent and leader within the educational and professional community. Through the scholarship of teaching, you will exemplify the aspects of a professional nurse and life-long learner.

Registration, cost, and location

Registration for the Certified Nurse Educator exam is $400.00 for National League for Nursing (NLN) members and $500.00 for non-members. A candidate may take the exam four times per year with a 90-day waiting period between each attempt.

Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc (AMP) delivers the computer-based exam at over 180 testing centers worldwide. Appointments are available Monday through Saturday, holidays excluded. Registration is online and once completed, an email notification is sent identifying the date and time of your exam.

Test Day

Refer to your email notification for test location, date, and time. Leave your personal belongings at home. After you complete the sign-in process, a test proctor will direct you to your testing station, and provide you with a pencil and scratch paper.

Before you begin the exam, you have an opportunity to take a short pre-test to familiarize yourself with the program. At the conclusion of the pre-test, your examination will begin. If time remains, you may review your answers before submitting your exam. There is no penalty for guessing.

Exam scoring and results

After you submit your answers, the computer will indicate your pass or fail status with information on your raw score for each content area. The difficulty of the exam and the number of correct answers determine the passing score.

Your official report is provided to you before you leave the testing facility. In five to six weeks, you will receive your official certificate in the mail.

How Can I Prepare for the Certified Nurse Educator Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 14, 2019