CNML - Certified Nurse Manager and Leader

  • $300-$425
  • Renews every 3 years

COURSE FORMAT

In Person

About

The Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) examination and certification are provided by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). The CNML credential is the only certification program available for nurse managers. This intermediate-level credential is designed for practicing Registered Nurses (RNs) who hold roles in leadership and management. CNML candidates must meet education and experience provisions plus pass a computerized exam to become certified as a CNML. The certification test evaluates a nurse manager’s proficiency in financial management, human resource management, performance improvement, and strategic management and technology.

Test Fees

  • Exam Fee for AONL Members: $300

  • Exam Fee for non-members: $425

Course Format

Test Format

In-Person through PSI Services LLC (PSI)

The CNML examination is computer-based, takes two hours, and contains 115 multiple-choice questions. Scores are based on 100 questions, while 15 are pretest questions. A minimum score of 70 is required to pass the CNML exam. 

Results

The exam is scored electronically. Pass/Fail results are available immediately. 

Those who fail receive an official score report via mail identifying areas of weakness. They must attain 15 hours of Continuing Education (CE) credit in the identified areas to retest. Then they can reapply to take the exam again. Candidates can test only twice during a calendar year.

Candidates who take the examination in pencil-and-paper format receive scores by mail five weeks after the test.

Candidates who test at a PSI test center can see pass/fail results at the testing center when they complete the exam. Official score reports are mailed within six weeks after issuing a final score report.

Certification

Prerequisites:

To qualify for the CNML examination, a nurse must have an active, current Registered Nurse (RN) license and meet one of the following experience requirements:

  1. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree plus 2,080 hours of nurse manager experience

  2. A non-nursing bachelor’s degree plus 3,120 hours of nurse manager experience

  3. A diploma or associate degree in nursing plus 5,200 hours of nurse manager experience

  4. A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical practice hours

The Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) candidates must also agree to follow the AONL Professional Standards of Conduct.

The CNML certification exam tests the RN nurse manager’s proficiency in the following areas.

  • Financial Management (budgets and productivity)

  • Human Resource Management (labor laws, scopes of practice, orientation, training, retention, conflict resolution)

  • Performance Improvement (safety, communication)

  • Strategic Management and Technology (facilitating change, written and oral presentation skills, negotiation skills, organizational culture)

Renewal

Nurse managers must renew their CNML certification every three years.

To recertify, CNML certification holders can either:

  1. Complete 45 hours of professional development during the three-year certification period

  2. Retake and pass the exam

Renewal Fees

Renewing up to one year before expiration date

  • AONL Members: $200

  • Non-members: $275

Renewing within 30 days after expiration date

  • AONL Members: $250

  • Non-members: $325

Other Resources

The AONL offers resources for exam candidates, including:

Related Certifications

The AONL also offers the Certified Executive in Nursing Practice (CENP).

The nurse seeking additional verification of skills in the nursing leadership category may also observe the following certifications:

  • Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC): Validates skills for nurses working in management or program leadership roles.  

  • Nursing Professional Development Certification (NPD-BC): Credential for nurses working in education and training leadership roles.

  • Certified Professional in Health Care Risk Management (CPHRM): For healthcare risk management professionals.

  • Director of Nursing Services–Certified (DNS-CT): Demonstrates the recipient is a leader who can improve the quality, communication and care of clients at healthcare facilities.

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Frequently asked questions

Is the CNML exam difficult?

Candidates need a 70% to pass. In 2019, the pass rate for first-time candidates was 72.87%.




Can I earn a CNML online?

No you can't earn a CNML online.

What organization offers the CNML?

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) offers the CNML.

What other certifications does the AONL offer besides the CNML?

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) also offers the Certified Executive in Nursing Practice (CENP).

What other certifications should I consider after getting the CNML

After obtaining the CNML, you might also obtain the Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC), the Nursing Professional Development Certification (NPD-BC), the Certified Professional in Health Care Risk Management (CPHRM) and the Director of Nursing Services–Certified (DNS-CT).