Become a CNS®

Become certified as an advanced personalized nutrition practitioner.

What is the CNS credential?

The Certified Nutrition Specialist® credential (CNS®) is the most advanced certification for personalized nutrition practitioners. Certified Nutrition Specialists practice science-based personalized nutrition therapy to power people to health. They are spearheading the transformation from population-based to personalized nutrition, and from disease care to authentic health care. 

CNS Badge

         

 
 

Why become a CNS professional?

Proven Expertise: Demonstrates your advanced knowledge and skill in personalized nutrition science and practice.

Practice Rights: Represents an avenue to obtain a license to practice nutrition in many states.

Career: You are highly sought-after for nutrition jobs in health care, academia, industry and government.

Community: You are nurtured by your American Nutrition Association® family, which Educates, Certifies, Advocates and Connects to equip you with the science and practice of personalized nutrition.

Quality-assured by third-party NCCA Accreditation.

 

NCCA

How do I qualify to obtain the CNS credential?

There are three pathways to qualify to become a CNS professional. Use our CNS Quick Check tool to explore your path.

CNS Quick Check

Review Certify FAQs

How do I apply to sit for the CNS exam?

Certification Examinations for Nutrition Specialists℠ are held twice a year. The next exam dates are December 12-16, 2020. Applications must be submitted by October 16 2020.

We will notify all approved candidates in the beginning of November when registration will open for you to log in to Iso-Quality Testing to choose your date, time and testing center.

The 2021 exam dates are June 12-16, 2021 and December 11-15, 2021.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with Iso-Quality Testing, Inc. and now have the ability to offer hundreds of testing centers across the country and the world so that candidates won't have to travel. There will be a nominal fee of $78 paid directly to the test center.

Please refer to the Iso-Quality Testing, Inc. website for general updates and developments regarding test centers, scheduled exam dates and cancellations due to COVID-19.

Here is a list of test centers.

You must submit the following documents to apply to sit:

  • Exam application
  • Official transcripts from each regionally accredited institution from where you took all qualifying courses
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV

You can view the above documents here. To submit the above documents, you must have a Portal account. 

How do I access the Portal?  

Visit the Portal login page. 
Please note: Your username is your email address associated with your Membership/Account.

I forgot my Portal password. What do I do? 

  1. Visit Portal login page and select “Forgot Password. Or you can access the link directly HERE
  2. Enter your username which is the email address associated with your account.
  3. Check your email and follow the prompts in the email. If you do not see an email, please check your spam folder. Still not seeing the email, please reach out to Membership@theANA.org.

Do CNSs, CNS candidates and ANA members access the same Portal?

Yes, all CNSs, CNS candidates and ANA members will use My Portal to access member benefits and CNS materials. All CNSs and CNS candidates must set up a Portal account. Your username and password from the old BCNS website will NOT work. You will need to either join the ANA or sign up as a FREE Professional Associate. CNSs are NOT required to be paid Members of the ANA to access the Portal. 

Please note: When joining, it is important to use the email address the BCNS has on file for you. If not, your Portal profile will not have your credential details. Once you are logged into the Portal, you can update your contact information, make certification payments, download your digital credential badge, upload BCNS forms and see your recertification date.

How do I submit my exam application?

  1. Login to your Portal
  2. Visit the Memberships, Certifications & Trainings tab within the Portal.
  3. Click on the Forms link
  4. Click on the pull down menu and select the form Exam Application for Nutrition Professionals (if you are an MD/DO – choose Exam Application for MD/DO) then click Download File.
  5. Save the application to your computer, complete the form, and save it again.
  6. When you are ready to submit a form:
    1. Login to your Portal
    2. Visit the Memberships, Certifications & Trainings tab
    3. Click on the Forms link
    4. Click Upload Files, select your exam application from your computer, then click Submit. 

Please note, official transcripts must come directly from the school emailed to: Applications@NutritionSpecialists.org or mailed to: BCNS, 211 West Chicago Avenue, Suite 218,  Hinsdale, IL  60521

You can also access all forms & applications here.

How do I submit my 2 letters of recommendation and your resume/CV?

  1. Follow the same steps listed above (select Exam Application for Nutrition Professionals on the left side)

How do I pay my CNS application fee and/or CNS exam fee?

If you have not yet set up a Portal account:

  1. You will need to either join the ANA or sign up as a FREE Professional Associate. This will give you access to the Portal. Please note, it is NOT a requirement to be a paid Member of the ANA to access the Portal. 
  2. Login to your Portal
  3. Visit the Memberships, Certifications & Trainings tab within the Portal.
  4. Click on the Payments link
  5. Choose the 1st blue bar called CNS Certificant and CNS fees.
  6. Click on the drop down menu and select the CNS Application Processing Fee ($50)
  7. Follow the payment instructions

If you have set up your Portal account:

  1. Login to your Portal
  2. Visit the Memberships, Certifications & Trainings tab within the Portal.
  3. Click on the Payments link
  4. Choose the 1st blue bar called CNS Certificant and CNS fees.
  5. Click on the drop down menu and select the CNS Application Processing Fee ($50)
  6. Follow the payment instructions

 NOTE: when you are approved to sit for the exam, follow steps 1-4 above and choose the CNS Examination Fee ($300) then following the payment instructions.

View this short tutorial on using the Portal.

How do I prepare for the CNS Exam?

Candidates should review the Exam Content Outline and then use the Reference List to brush up on those domains/subdomains in which they feel the weakest. The Reference List is organized by domain and is not intended to suggest that candidates should read every book listed. These are books that candidates have found to be helpful.

Our statistics show that those candidates who have completed the 1,000 hours of supervised practice experience score higher on the exam. Additionally, study groups are an effective way to share information on cases and experiences.

While we cannot recommend or endorse any courses, candidates have recommended:

Practice Quiz

Study.com

Exam Edge

The Clinician's Incubator

Study for CNS