Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs


Who is a Clinical Nurse Specialist or CNS

Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses ( APRN) who hold a master’s or doctoral degree in a specialized area of nursing practice. Their area of clinical expertise includes pediatrics, geriatrics and women’s health. They can practice in variety of Setting like critical care, emergency room, out patient and rehabilitation units based on the qualification and the specialty they posses.

Clinical Nurse Specialist’s Job Description 

  • Optimizing patient care by working with nursing staff
  • Make decisions on where to allocate staff and resources
  • Develop specialized treatment plans after patient examinations
  • Educating patients and families on how to best manage their conditions
  • Incorporate practices to promote staff teamwork
  • Analyze patient data and outcomes
  • Participate with colleagues on new research

Eligibility Criteria /prerequisite for Clinical Nurse Specialist Course

As CNS is one of the advanced nursing practices, you must have a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctoral in Nursing. Some colleges  allow a Bachelors in Nursing, but you may find difficulties with certification.

How can I become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

To become an CNS you must have a valid RN license and Maters or Doctoral degree in nursing. Sometimes  Clinical Nurse Specialist programs  are delivered in combination with a nurse practitioner program. If you are interested in a nurse practitioner degree, a combined program may be ideal.  Most Clinical Nurse Specialist programs will complete  between two to three years but longer if you attend part time. Clinical Nurse Specialist programs will require the completion of a set number of clinical hours treating real patients in your practice area.
After graduation, you may choose to sit for your certification exam. Currently certification exams are not available for all areas of clinical nurse specialists, if your focus area is not offered but you still want to take an exam, consider a CNS core exam for a general certification.The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a variety of exams that include:
  • Adult Health CNS
  • Adult-Gerontology CNS
  • Adult Psychiatric–Mental Health CNS
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatric–Mental Health CNS
  • CNS Core
  • Diabetes Management – Advanced
  • Gerontological CNS
  • Home Health CNS
  • Pediatric CNS
  • Public/Community Health CNS

Online Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs

Clinical nurse specialist online programs are available through many of the schools, colleges and universities. Online clinical nurse specialist program gives a flexible atmosphere to complete your course, options for part time study is also available.
  1. Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  2. GeorgeTown University- School of Nursing and health studies
  3. Kent State University
  4. Michigan state university
  5. Purdue University
  6. Curtin University,Australia
  7. Australian Catholic University
  8. Center for palliative care. Melbourne


The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certifies CNSs who meet eligibility requirements. The certification isn’t required in all 50 states, but it’s highly recommended because many employers require their CNSs to have it.

Salary for Clinical Nurse Specialists

Pay range for clinical nurse specialists can vary widely depending on your area of expertise and geographic location, but falls between $65,000 and $110,000 annually.
In India, higher study options in nursing is very less. The highest level of qualification that you can achieve is a Doctoral degree in nursing the saddest part is this will not let you to practice independently. Like in U.S, U.K and Australia, we should start courses like Nurse Practitioner Programs and Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs, through this we can uplift the standard of care and autonomy of nurses.