Clinical Nurse Specialist, Post Master’s Certificate


  • Please be advised that effective immediately, the Department of Nursing of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is placing a temporary moratorium on admissions to the ONLINE Post-Master’s Certificate Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) option. The other Post-Master’s Certificate options remain open to admission and enrollment. The Nursing Department made this decision based upon a pattern of low enrollment, licensure changes regarding the CNS role and the need to develop strategies to improve the option to bring it in line with new state regulations.
  • This is a temporary moratorium on admission only for the ONLINE Post-Master’s Certificate Clinical Nurse Specialist option and it does not affect any other Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) graduate nursing program.

The 12-Credit Clinical Nurse Specialist Post-Master’s Certificate allows RNs with MS degrees in Nursing and preparation as clinical nurse specialists to acquire knowledge and clinical experience that will prepare them for national certification exams.  This program is administered by the College of Advancing and Professional Studies.

Courses required for the certificate applied towards a prior degree are waived and are not transferrable towards the certificate.

About the CNS

  • 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

Requirements for eligibility to register for the CNS examinations

  • An MS in Nursing with preparation as a CNS
  • At least 500 clinical supervised clinical hours in the CNS role or a combination of MS in Nursing and required courses set forth by the certifying body selected by the student
  • Three core courses required of all Advanced Practice Nurses (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
  • All Advanced Practice Nurses must be certified

For more information, including courses and application, visit the College of Advancing and Professional Studies.