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Guide to Online Legal Nurse Consultant Certification

By Liz Heintz | Updated 8/12/2022
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Average Tuition: $58,031
Alumni Salary: $57,180

Becoming a legal nurse consultant (LNC) is one of many career options for registered nurses (RNs). An LNC is a type of nurse that works with an attorney who advises and represents clients in medical legal cases such as personal injury and medical malpractice by sharing their medical knowledge. Their clinical expertise also helps clients, judges, and juries make sense of insurance claims, diagnoses, and other medical records so the law can be applied appropriately. You can become an LNC by completing an online certificate program in fundamental legal studies as they pertain to medical law and begin your journey towards credentialing.

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Comprehensive List of Online Schools for Legal Nurse Consulting Certificates

School Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Post University Online NECHE $16,610 40% (108 reviews)
141 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting (view all)
141 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Certificate: Legal Nurse Consulting
Berkeley College MSCHE $26,500 0% (1 reviews)
70 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting (view all)
70 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
Duke University SACS COC $58,031 0% (1 reviews)
59 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting (view all)
59 Programs, 1 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
Wilmington University MSCHE $11,480 100% (3 reviews)
210 Programs, 2 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting (view all)
210 Programs, 2 Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Nursing Leadership - Le...

Online Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate Programs

Online certificate programs in legal nurse consulting are designed for RNs interested in using their nursing skills in the legal field. You can earn an online LNC certificate in as little as seven weeks or opt for a program that allows you to work at your own pace. You can expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week studying to complete an LNC certificate program. Program completion may require you to research a project and present it virtually to your class. Once you earn your certificate, you will be eligible to work as an LNC. There is no programmatic accreditation for LNC programs.

You can earn an online LNC certificate in as little as seven weeks or opt for a program that allows you to work at your own pace.

LNC programs are offered online, which can be convenient if you work full-time or find it difficult to commute to a school campus – they can also be affordable. Courses are typically delivered over learning management systems (LMS) which provide a secure way for you to access lessons, submit assignments, and engage with classmates. In addition, courses are asynchronous, so you can participate as your schedule allows. An LNC program generally costs $1,200 for tuition with an additional charge for books and other school supplies.

An LNC is not the same as a nurse paralegal, though they are often mistaken as being synonymous. A nurse paralegal has specific expertise in assisting an attorney with case preparation, research, and documentation, while an LNC's primary role is to use their knowledge as an RN to educate an attorney and their client about the medical event that has occurred.

Curriculum and Program Outcomes

A program's primary outcome is to prepare you to begin working as an LNC upon completion. The curriculum is designed to teach the principles and practices of legal nurse consulting, including the litigation process and how to collaborate with attorneys on court proceedings and conduct legal research. You'll explore fundamental legal issues such as personal injury and malpractice, so you understand how the law is applied to medical cases.

You can ask a program advisor for their LNC student success rate before you enroll to gauge employability after completion to ensure the program meets its intended outcome.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for an LNC program may vary slightly depending on the school and program. However, applying to an online school to become an LNC generally includes the following:

  • A completed enrollment application
  • A valid RN license that's in good standing
  • Proof of approximately three years' of work as an RN via a letter or other documentation from an employer

Common Courses

LNC courses may vary depending on the program, making it crucial to look at curricula closely to ensure they will adequately prepare you to embark on your career. It's also beneficial to enroll in a program that offers a course on how to market yourself and advertise for work as an LNC.

There are several online courses standard across LNC programs. While titles may vary, learning outcomes should be similar.

Evidence Law

Readings, discussions, and assignments help students distinguish between the various types of evidence to help attorneys when preparing for cases.

Identification, Evaluation, and Collaboration With Expert Witnesses

Instruction aims to prepare students to investigate, prepare, and select expert witnesses for consultation, deposition, and testimony by applying strategies and criteria for evaluation.

Issues In Acute and Critical Care

Course content is designed to enable students to analyze critical care malpractice issues and cases through the study of common malpractice claims in various nursing practices and liability issues in patient assessment and care planning.

Legal Theories and Fundamentals

The purpose of coursework is to increase students' knowledge of fundamental legal concepts and doctrines through analyzing the four sources of law (constitutions, statutes, cases, and regulations) and how each was created.

Role of the Nurse Expert

Through discussions and assignments, students can explore the role they may be asked to assume as an expert witness, including the role expert nurses play in litigation, witness credibility and vetting, and witness testimony.


Your certificate will show you've completed a program, but certification and credentialing will show you've passed an exam and can apply skills that meet current industry standards. Though neither are required for you to practice, they can help you build credibility and prominence in the field, so you stand out among your peers.

Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC) sponsors the CLNC for LNCs. The CLNC is a certification program that offers three certification levels. You don't have to complete a minimum number of work experience hours before taking the exam. However, the program can be costly at between $3,397 to $8,797, depending on the level you choose. Aspiring LNCs may also take the CLNC program on the path to credentialing.

Legal Nurse Consulting Certified (LNCC)

The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) created the LNCC. The credentials you can earn will show others that your skills meet current industry standards. You will have to accrue approximately 2,000 hours of legal nurse consulting experience and five years of RN experience to be eligible to take the exam. It costs AALNC members $360 and $495 for nonmembers to take the LNCC exam.

Legal Nurse Consulting Careers

Becoming an LNC can be a rewarding and lucrative career. As there is almost always a need for qualified legal professionals, it stands to reason that there is also a need for LNCs to support attorneys litigating medical cases.

LNCs have the potential to earn high salaries, though it varies by location. You can choose to work independently as an LNC and be your own boss by managing your own schedule and workload. While there is no U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on LNCs, industry organizations such as LNC STAT estimate that those who work independently earn between $150-$300 an hour, and those working as expert witnesses may earn up to $500 an hour.

You can choose to work independently as an LNC and be your own boss by managing your own schedule and workload.

You can also work as a staff consultant for an organization such as a law firm, insurance company, or various government agencies. An LNCs knowledge and skills can be vital in areas such as risk management and workers' compensation. However, you may earn significantly less — at $20-$60 per hour — but will most likely receive a compensation package that includes healthcare and other benefits.

Is an Online Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate Worth It?

Yes, an online LNC certificate is worth it if you are interested in medicine and law and want to apply your expertise to both. While the work can be difficult, you may be compensated well for your time. In addition, certificate programs are a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to help you start your career and gain the necessary experience to be eligible for credentialing. Finally, becoming an LNC can also be an excellent way for nurses interested in a career change to continue using their medical expertise and remain viable in the job market.

However, as with any choice that may change the course of your career, it's crucial to consider various factors in addition to your job and financial goals before deciding.

Potential benefits include:

Becoming an LNC provides a professional development opportunity so you can learn something new and grow. Sometimes nurses feel stagnant or stuck in their careers. Becoming an LNC provides an outlet to learn something new and continue to learn outside the classroom with each unique case. Courses can also count towards the continuing education units (CEUs) you may need to keep your RN license active.

A certificate can lead to a less stressful job than providing direct patient care. A 2021 survey found that out of nurses who were leaving or considering leaving their job, over 60% said they experience burnout due to a stressful working environment. Becoming an LNC may enable you to work independently, achieve better work-life balance, and alleviate stress.

Potential drawbacks include:

The work can be demanding. If you don't establish how much you're willing to work from the start, you may find yourself putting in long hours to prepare for cases – it takes discipline and strong organizational and time management skills to work independently as an LNC.

Not all programs are created equal. For example, you may easily choose a program that doesn't prepare you well enough for work if you don't thoroughly research the curriculum before you enroll.

FAQs About Online Legal Nurse Consultant Programs

What Is a Legal Nurse Consultant?

A legal nurse consultant (LNC) is an RN who has completed a certificate program to work with attorneys who litigate medical cases. Their primary responsibility is to educate lawyers and their clients about the medical event that occurred through interpreting medical language, qualifying costs of care, analyzing medical records, and conducting research. An LNC may also serve as an expert witness at trials and court hearings.

What Is the Difference Between CLNC and LNCC?

The major difference between the CLNC and the LNCC is that you don't need previous work experience to become a CLNC, but you need 2,000 hours to take the LNCC exam to earn your credentials.

How Do I Become a Legal Nurse Consultant?

As an RN, you can enroll in an online legal nurse consultant program to earn a certificate of completion in as little as seven weeks. Once you've completed the program, you can start looking for work as a legal nurse consultant. You might also consider pursuing CLNC or LNCC certification to further advance your skillset and marketability.

Do I Have to Be a Registered Nurse to Work as a Legal Nurse Consultant?

You have to be an RN to work as a legal nurse consultant. You must keep your license active and in good standing. Your prior knowledge and experience as a practicing RN will be imperative to your consulting work.

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