Nursing Degree Guide

Critical Care CNS Degrees Online

Critical Care CNS Degrees Online

We found 5 nursing schools with Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist programs in our database.

Critical care nurses care for the sickest patients in the hospital, often only one or two at a time. Some larger hospitals will further break down their critical care units by specialty or age: Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Surgical ICU, Pediatric ICU and Cardiac ICU to name a few.

Many smaller hospitals will combine all critical patients in one large intensive care unit. In addition to working in an ICU, critical care nurses work in emergency rooms, on medical transport teams and with the military on the battlefield.

Patients on these units often require a great deal of care, so critical care nurses learn a considerable amount of advanced monitoring and therapeutic skills. Many nurses report that working in this setting is very stressful because of how quickly a patient’s status can deteriorate.

Written by Nicole Galan, RN

“Critical care nurses work in emergency rooms, on medical transport teams and with the military on the battlefield.”

The Critical Care Environment

Advanced technological equipment is often utilized in the critical care environment. Nurses will learn to be proficient in mechanical ventilators, intra-aortic balloon pumps, arterial lines, ventricular assist devices (LVAD and RVAD), and other hemodynamic monitoring systems. Since these devices aren’t taught in most nursing programs, training is provided on the job. Ongoing education is necessary for nurses to keep their skills up to date.

General medical or surgical nursing experience is usually required before progressing to the critical care unit, though in some situations, entry-level nurses will begin working in critical care.

Find a Clinical Nurse Specialist or MSN Specialty Program

Use the below tool by clicking on each tab to quickly find MSN programs in your state, or to search accredited online MSN programs that are currently accepting applicants into their program. Note that all of the programs we have listed are sponsored programs and they may require an RN license to be accepted into their program.

Programs by State✔ CCNE or ACEN Accredited Online ProgramsSearch Online Programs

List of Featured CCNE or ACEN Accredited Online Programs

The following programs are entirely online CCNE or ACEN accredited programs (we have verified but you should also verify when you talk to them), and are currently accepting applicants.
[email protected] | Online Nursing Programs
✔ CCNE Accredited

Since 1902, Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been empowering nurses and preparing them with the skills and knowledge to become effective leaders.

[email protected]'s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for RNs who do not have a bachelor’s degree but have earned an associate degree, or a diploma or certificate from a hospital-based program.

CCNE Accredited | Online
+ Click for Program & Admissions Information from the [email protected] MSN Program
University of Texas Arlington | Online MSN Programs
✔ CCNE Accredited

CCNE Accredited with multiple Online Master's in Nursing Programs:

The RN-MSN accelerated program allows you to earn your MSN in less time—and save more money—than if you complete the RN to BSN and MSN programs separately.

CCNE Accredited | 100% Online
+ Click for Program & Admissions Information from UTA

List of Featured Online RN to BSN Programs

The following programs are entirely online and are currently accepting applicants.
Georgetown University | Online Nursing Programs | [email protected]
✔ CCNE Accredited

Georgetown University's online Family Nurse Practitioner program gives qualified BSN-prepared nurses the opportunity to earn their Master of Science degree in Nursing from Georgetown’s highly regarded School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS).

CCNE Accredited | Online
+ Click for Program & Admissions Information for the Georgetown University FNP Program
[email protected] | Online Nursing Programs
✔ CCNE Accredited

Since 1902, Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been empowering nurses and preparing them with the skills and knowledge to become effective leaders.

[email protected]'s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for RNs who do not have a bachelor’s degree but have earned an associate degree, or a diploma or certificate from a hospital-based program.

CCNE Accredited | Online
+ Click for Program & Admissions Information from the [email protected] MSN Program
University of Texas Arlington | Online MSN Programs
✔ CCNE Accredited

CCNE Accredited with multiple Online Master's in Nursing Programs:

The RN-MSN accelerated program allows you to earn your MSN in less time—and save more money—than if you complete the RN to BSN and MSN programs separately.

CCNE Accredited | 100% Online
+ Click for Program & Admissions Information from UTA

Organizations Dedicated to Critical Care

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses offers several certification programs, depending on which patient population you work with and the subspecialty in which you practice. There are specific eligibility requirements that must be met to sit for the exam.  Certification is not required to work as a critical care nurse and can be difficult to obtain.

Organizations like the National Flight Nurses Association and The Emergency Nurses Association can provide standards and guidance to nurses working or interested in working in those sub-specialties as well.

List of Critical Care CNS Programs

Featured Online Programs Currently Accepting ApplicantsAD
School Listings
Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Specialties: Critical Care CNS
Nursing Degrees: Post Masters Certification
Programs: Post Master's Certificate Adult Acute & Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE: Bachelors Program, CCNE: Masters Program
Mercer University

Atlanta, GA

Specialties: Critical Care CNS
Nursing Degrees: BSN to MSN
Programs: MSN Acute Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE: Bachelors Program, CCNE: Masters Program
Regis College

Weston, MA

Specialties: Critical Care CNS
Nursing Degrees: BSN to MSN
Programs: MSN Adult Acute Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: ACEN: Masters Program, ACEN: Bachelors Program
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.00% (2014)
University of Massachusetts Boston

Online: Nursing school offers hybrid or online programs

Specialties: Critical Care CNS
Nursing Degrees: BSN to MSN
Programs: MSN Acute Care Critical Care Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE: Bachelors Program, CCNE: Masters Program
University of Oklahoma Health Science Center

Oklahoma City, OK

Specialties: Critical Care CNS
Nursing Degrees: BSN to MSN
Programs: MS CNS Acute Care Track
Accreditation: ACEN: Masters Program, ACEN: Bachelors Program
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 87.25% (2014)