Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Post Master’s Certificate

This 12 credit post master Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is designed to assist RNs who have an MS degree in nursing with preparation as a Clinical Nurse Specialist to acquire the knowledge and clinical experience that will prepare them to sit for a national certification examination. These exams are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Other certification bodies offering CNS certification specialty exams include the Oncology Nursing Society and the Association of Orthopedic Nurses.

This program option is designed to meet the needs of APNs who have graduated from programs with insufficient numbers of clinical hours and required course work or those who are functioning in the role who are in need of certification to gain state licensure recognition, credentialing, or prescribing privileges.

Recent national advanced practice nurse changes are found in the document online entitled Legislation, Administration, Certification and Education (LACE document). This document proposes that all of the Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) must be certified. In order to achieve a population based certification focus for the CNS, a new general core certification examination for the CNS role was jointly developed by the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

To be eligible to register for the CNS examinations, one must have the MS in Nursing with preparation as a CNS, at least 500 clinical supervised clinical hours in the CNS role, and the three core courses required of all APNs, commonly referred to as the "3 P’s" — advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology and advanced physical/health assessment) and a course in the role of the advanced practice nurse.