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Nursing Education Certificate FAQs

 Who is eligible to apply for the Nursing Education Certificate (NEC?)

Registered Nurses must hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited (NLNAC, ACEN, CCNE) program.​


 Who is eligible to register for individual nursing education courses, without completing the Nursing Education Certificate?

RNs who hold the minimum of a baccalaureate degree in nursing from an accredited (NLNAC, ACEN, CCNE) program may enroll in one or more individual courses without completing the 9-credit hour NEC. Students enrolled in academic degree programs seeking to use education courses as electives must secure approval for registration from their academic advisor and submit the Continuing Student Enrollment Request Form. Courses are available as electives for academic credit toward degree programs with student’s current academic advisor approval.​


 May I enroll in a course before I apply to a graduate nursing program?

Yes, however consultation with the academic advisor is highly recommended prior to registration. For more information, please see our Nondegree StudentExtended Studies Frequently Asked Questions on transferability of credits.​


 How many credit hours is the Nursing Education Certificate program?

Three individual 3-credit courses comprise the NEC. The completion of the 3 course series is required to be awarded the certificate. All courses must be completed at CU Nursing. Transfer credit from other institutions into the certificate is not permitted.​


 What is the time frame for completion of the Nursing Education Certificate?

The NEC may be completed in one calendar year or 3 semesters with registration for one course each term. It is anticipated that most students will complete the NEC in 2-3 years, depending on academic program course requirements and employment/family obligations. Course offerings vary by semester and may not be offered every semester. Courses must be completed within a 5 year period for the NEC to be awarded. Students enrolled in a graduate degree program will meet with the assigned academic advisor to plan the program of study and to discuss current scheduling information. Courses are non-sequential, and may be taken in any order as advised and with permission of the instructor. Students do not progress in a cohort, therefore have greater flexibility in progression and completion.​


 Are the Nursing Education Certificate courses offered online?

Yes, the courses are completed online using CANVAS learning management system. Distance learning options may be used to augment the online learning environment, while increasing accessibility and convenience to the student.​


 Will I be required to come to Colorado?

No. The 9-credit, 3 course series is completed online. Learning activities are structured and supervised within the online environment. The optional Immersion in Nursing Education Practicum elective (below) requires supervision of a well-qualified preceptor. Depending on learning needs and goals and availability of an appropriate preceptor and learning environment, the student may be required to join classroom, clinical, simulation or lab experiences in the Denver metro area.​


 Are there practicum hours required?

No, the 3 credit practicum elective is available by permission of the instructor for students who seek a preceptored, hands-on immersion. The practicum is optional and not required for the NEC and may not be substituted for one of the 3 required course in the NEC series. Students and faculty will mutually determine specific learning outcomes and relevant learning activities and performance measures. Whenever possible, the practicum experience will be precepted by CU CON faculty. For students outside the Denver metro area, preceptors may be identified jointly by the student and faculty. Preceptor qualifications will vary with the type of learning modality, setting, and learning outcomes. Faculty will approve preceptor participation and supervise the completion of the practicum requirements.​


 Will the courses and/or certificate prepare me for the National League for Nursing Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination?

Students must meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the current National League of Nurses Candidate Handbook. A Master’s degree is required. For those who meet eligibility requirements, the courses/certificate will serve as a relevant resource for review. The certificate is designed with the content and competencies of the NLN CNE examination as a guiding framework.​


 What are the unique features of the Nursing Education Certificate?

The certificate is relevant for those new to the field of nursing education and for those who may have may have experience and aspire to update knowledge and skills or transition to new roles and positions in education. The courses are highly relevant to address hot topics and emerging practices in nursing education. The length (9 credit hours) and flexibility (course offerings every spring summer, and fall) increase feasibility and promote completion of the certificate. Learning activities in each course provide for application to specific areas of interest and learning need, as well as to facilitate career planning goals in nursing education. The online format is accessible to rural and working students who must attend from a distance and accommodate employment schedules. Enrollment is encouraged for CU Nursing graduate students, as well as for nondegree students who seek coursework to determine if the Nursing Education Certificate and/or graduate education is a good fit and desirable for future career goals. Course work is interesting and timely, focusing on:

  1. Best practices of teaching and learning, including integration of educational technologies
  2. Nursing education science and opportunities for engagement in educator roles and the scholarship of teaching
  3. Learning assessment and program effectiveness using principles of curriculum design and course development and continuous quality improvement for achievement of desired outcomes.
  4. An optional 4th course, Immersion in Nursing Education Practicum, provides for an intensive, preceptored immersion in nursing education and is offered selectively by permission of the instructor.

 Where do graduates of the Nursing Education Certificate work?

An earned certificate demonstrates professional development and knowledge and skills applicable to current and future role and responsibilities involving teaching and learning, curriculum design, and assessment of learning. The NEC expands knowledge and competencies, therefore, increasing employment and career options for qualified, professional nurses. The National League for Nursing (2012) defines “academic nursing education as the process of facilitating learning through curriculum design, teaching, evaluation, advisement, and other activities…” (The Scope of Practice for Academic Nurse Educators, page 6). Academic nurse educators are employed in a variety of settings, ranging from technical schools, colleges and universities. Nurse educators are employed in a variety of health professions education programs and settings promoting nursing professional development. Examples include the academic nurse educators in colleges and universities. Roles and functions vary considerably and are dependent on the mission of the educational institution, type of academic programs offered, academic preparation, certification and specialization, and criteria for appointment, promotion and tenure. Clinical nurse educators are engaged in professional development and patient/family education in a variety of health care settings and services. Nurses in clinical practice, management and leadership actively mentor, frequently serve as preceptors and seek formal positions as clinical instructors, classroom or online faculty, or expert clinical faculty in community based settings, simulation and learning labs. Additional advanced practice and doctoral education is necessary for formal roles in various education, practice and research settings, and vary by state and institution. State Board of Nursing requirements for faculty academic preparation and professional nursing practice and accreditation standards further clarify requirements. Interested individuals should carefully research hiring practices and regulatory requirements specific to your teaching career goals.​


 Should I take these courses if I already took NURS 7866 or 7867?

The College of Nursing previously offered 2 graduate level courses in teaching: NURS7866 Practicum in Evidence-Based Teaching and NURS 7867 Evidence-based Teaching & Curriculum Design. The competencies and content of the 2 previous courses are now significantly realigned and expanded into 4 new 3- credit graduate level courses to provide additional professional development opportunity for RNs interested or engaged in nurse preceptor, clinical educators or academic nurse educator roles.​