Eligibility Requirements for the Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS) Credential
A candidate for the Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS) credential must meet the following four requirements:
- Academic Requirement
The candidate must –
A. Hold either a:
1. Masters of Science or Doctoral degree in the field of nutrition from a United States regionally accredited college or university, or its foreign equivalent; or
2. Doctoral degree in a field of clinical healthcare (including, but not limited to, MD, DO, DC, DDS, Doctor of Nursing, ND, PharmD) from a United States regionally accredited college or university, or its foreign equivalent.
B. Have completed the following minimum for-credit coursework:
1. Nutrition (minimum of nine semester credit hours).
Examples of such course topics include but are not limited to: therapeutic nutrition, nutrition assessment, developmental nutrition, micro nutrients, macro nutrients, functional nutrition, nutrient depletion & drug/herb interactions, dietary supplements, nutritional disorders, pharmacology, and biomedical science courses that involve nutrition-related metabolic systems.
2. Biochemistry (minimum of six semester credit hours)
3. Physiology or Anatomy/Physiology (minimum of three semester credit hours)
4. Clinical or Life Sciences (minimum of twelve additional semester credit hours). These courses may be prerequisites for the above courses and include, but are not limited to: biology, micro-biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, botany.
“Regionally accredited” means an institution that was accredited, at the time the degree was awarded, by a regional accreditation body in the United States which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.
Degrees from institutions outside the U.S. must be from that country’s equivalent of a regionally accredited U.S. institution.
2. Supervised Experience Requirement
The candidate must complete 1000 hours of documented supervised practice experience in nutrition in accordance with the following:
A. Supervisor Qualifications:
1. The following individuals may serve as a Supervisor, provided he/she has a minimum of three full-time years of clinical experience in nutrition care:
i. Certified Nutrition Specialist;
ii. Holder of a Masters of Science or Doctoral Degree in the field of nutrition with a state license or certification; or
iii. MD or other doctoral-level licensed professional whose scope of practice includes nutrition
2. Supervisor(s) must be approved by the CBNS Credentials Council. Supervisor Approval Request Form must be submitted to the CBNS Credentials Council.
B. Structure of the Supervised Experience:
1. 1000 hours supervised experience must include minimum hours in each of the following categories:
i. Nutrition assessment (minimum 200 hours)
ii. Nutrition intervention, education, counseling, or management (minimum 200 hours)
iii. Nutrition monitoring or evaluation (minimum 200 hours)
iv. The remaining hours may be in any of the above categories.
2. The Supervisor must:
i. Meet at regularly scheduled sessions with the supervisee;
ii. Verify completion of the supervised program; and
iii. Submit the CBNS Supervised Practice Experience Report for approval by the CBNS Credentials Council.
3. A variety of experience with multiple supervisors and settings may be combined to achieve the 1000 hours.
4. Supervised experience setting may be any that facilitates the above requirements, including but not limited to:
i. Internship, residency, or clinical rotation
ii. Clinical practice
iii. Institutional setting
iv. Community setting
The Supervised Experience may be completed after passing the CBNS Certifying Examination, however the candidate will not be awarded, and may not use, the CNS credential until the Supervised Experience is completed and approved.
3. CBNS Certifying Examination
The candidate must successfully complete the CBNS Certifying Examination.
To maintain the CNS credential, the individual must re-certify every five years and document 75 Continuing Nutrition Education credits, in compliance with the CBNS Continuing Education Policy.