Naturopathic Doctor (ND) Application Process

Visit the BCNS Forms Overview page for a complete list of downloadable forms and applications.

Step 1: Degree & Coursework

The required degree and coursework must be complete before submitting the application.

Curriculum Overview

Regionally Accredited Graduate Programs & Courses

Step 2: Practice Experience

Obtain 1,000 hours of Supervised Practice Experience with a BCNS-approved supervisor and submit documentation.

Although the Supervised Practice Experience hours may be completed before or after passing the BCNS Certifying Examination, it is important to note that historically those who have completed the practice experience perform better on the exam than those who have not. The CNS credential will not be awarded until the completed experience has been approved by the BCNS credentials council

  • Submit Supervisor Approval Application - New supervisors* must complete this application and return it and their resume/CV to the candidate for submission through My Portal.
  • Submit Supervisor Approval Application Addendum - Pre-approved supervisors must complete this one page addendum for each new candidate and return it to the candidate for submission through My Portal.

    *All supervisors must be approved by the BCNS 

All candidates are required to use the PN Case Data Collection to ensure high quality nutrition care to clients. Candidates and supervisors review the reports together to review next steps and suggested protocols. Personalized Nutrition cases must:

  • be completely filled in
  • have occurred within the past 5 years of the time that the candidate submits their SPE hours to the BCNS
  • be discussed with and approved by the candidate's supervisor(s) - these forms are not to be submitted to the BCNS

Upon completion of the Supervised Practice Experience, the following forms must be submitted via My Portal by the candidate:

Upon completion of the hours worked under their supervision the following form must be submitted by the supervisor:

About the SPE

SPE Competencies

Supervisor FAQs

Step 3: Examination

Once you have completed your Eligibility Requirements (Degree and Coursework) Complete the Exam Application

For Naturopathic Doctors

Certification Examinations for Nutrition Specialists℠ are held twice a year.

The next CNS exam will be held June 10 - 14, 2023; applications are due April 14, 2023. 

The following exam will be held December 9 - 13, 2023; applications are due October 27, 2023. 

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

Upon your application approval to sit for the CNS exam, details will be sent to you so you can arrange for your local test center.

Here is a list of the current test centers.

Exam Preparation

Exam Content Outline

The CNS application fee is $100. Upon approval to sit for the exam, the exam fee is $300. Fees are paid through the Portal.

* Effective July 1, 2023 - CNS Examination Fee increases to $400, effective for the December 2023 Examination. 

You now have the ability to download forms and upload completed forms directly through My Portal! Navigate to the Forms page under Certifications and select or upload the appropriate form.

To Apply to sit for the CNS Exam

  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
    To access the above documents, you must have an ANA membership to access the Portal.
    If you already joined the ANA as any level member, simply log into the Portal. (NOTE: you would have had to join after the new website launch on 11/26/19 or after.)
    If you have not yet joined, then go to:
  1. Choose a membership level. NOTE: You may sign up as a FREE Professional Associate if you’d like- you do not have to be a paying ANA member.
  2. Follow the instructions and fill in the fields- IMPORTANT – USE THE EMAIL ADDRESS we have in the DATABASE FOR YOU otherwise, you’ll be setting up a new account which won’t have any of your current data. You can always change the email address once you are set up and in the Profile section.
  3. Once you set up the account – go to the Portal and enter your UN and PW.
  4. Once you are logged in, simply click on Memberships & Certifications, then Forms.
  5. Click on the pull down menu and select Exam Application for Nutrition Professionals (if you are an MD/DO – choose Exam Application for MD/DO). Click Download File.
  6. Save the application to your computer, fill it out, and save it again.
  7. When you are ready to submit it, log back into your Portal, click on Memberships, Certifications & Trainings, then Forms. Click Upload Files, select your application from your computer, then click Submit. 
  8. Repeat step 7 to upload your resume/CV
    NOTE: the official transcripts must come directly from the school emailed to: or mailed to: BCNS, 211 West Chicago Avenue, Suite 218,  Hinsdale, IL  60521. The same applies for the 2 letters of recommendation; they must come directly from the letter writers.
    To Pay the CNS Exam Application Fee:

 Log into the Portal

  1. Once you are logged in, click on Memberships, Certifications & Trainings, then Payments.
  2. Choose the 1st blue bar called CNS Certificant and CNS fees.
  3. Click on the drop down menu and select the CNS Application Fee.
  4. Follow the payment instructions

 NOTE: when you are approved to sit for the exam, follow steps 6-9 and choose the CNS Examination Fee ($300) then following the payment instructions.

 Please see this short tutorial on using the Portal.

My Portal

Candidates who pass the examination and complete the supervised practice experience requirements will be granted the Certified Nutrition Specialist® credential.