Certify FAQs

FAQs for CNS and CNS Candidates on Using the Website Features
Q: Why is there a new website?

A: Announced on November 22, 2019 the Board for Certification of Nutrition SpecialistsSM (BCNSSM) has linked arms with four other esteemed nutrition organizations to form the American Nutrition Association®. 

Q: What is the relationship between the Certification of Nutrition Specialists® (CNS®) credential and the American Nutrition Association (ANA)?

A: You maintain your CNS certification through the BCNS, which remains a separate and legally independent organization.  It is part of a family of organizations that comprise the American Nutrition Association.

Q: How do I set up a CNS Portal?

A: Go to the ANA Join Page.  Scroll down to either join as at the Professional Member level ($120/year) or the Professional Associate Member level (FREE). Follow the instructions and fill in the fields. It is important to use the email address the BCNS has on file for you as the main contact (otherwise, you'll create an account without the data currently on file. You can always change your email address later.)

Q: Once I have a CNS Portal account, how do I access forms and make payments?

A: Once you set up the account using your email address as the User Name and creating a new Password, go to My Portal and enter your UN and PW. Once you are logged in, simply click on Memberships & Certifications. You will then see blue links to both Forms and Payments.

Q: How do I access the CNS Exam application to apply to sit for the CNS Exam?

A: Go To My Portal. If you are not already an ANA member and don’t already have a login, please click on the “Not a Member?” link and join at the level desired. You can join as a FREE Professional Associate or Nutrition Enthusiast if you do not want to join as a paying member. Please note that ANA membership is separate from the CNS credential, however, you must log in through the ANA member portal. 

Once you are logged into the Portal, click on the link Memberships and Certifications then click on Forms.

 As you will see in the screenshot below:

  • The top section shows the form(s) you submit and the submission date
  • The bottom section shows Form Instructions. This is where you will select the form(s) and download it to your computer. It is the same fillable form from the old BCNS website. After you complete the form and save it to your computer, you will upload it. It will go directly to your CNS database file where the BCNS staff can access it.

To apply to sit for the CNS Exam, please select the Exam Application for Nutrition Professionals or Exam Application for MD and DO (if applicable.)

NOTE:   If you want to edit a form after submitting, please simply download a new one, fill it out accordingly and upload it again. You cannot access or download the originally submitted form.

Follow the Exam Application directions and submit all required additional documents before or by the next deadline (2 months before the exam date).

 Please see the Application Process page for additional information.

Certificant & Candidate Forms
 Q: What’s the difference between the CNS Portal and the My ANA Portal?

 A: The CNS Portal takes you to the same place as the My ANA Portal. CNSs who are not ANA members will log into the CNS Portal with a user name a and password to access CNS-specifi information. CNSs who are also ANA members will have access to member benefits, according to the membership level.

 Q: How can I log into the Portal?

 A: Go To My Portal. All CNAs and CNS candidates are eligible for a free Professional Associate membership so you can access to the portal. If you are ANA member then you will already have access with your ANA membership credentials.

 Q: What can I do in the CNS Portal?

A: The CNS My Portal is the place where you can: 

  • Pay your fees including:
    • $100 annual fee due by 12/31 of each year for the upcoming year
    • $200 recertification fee every 5 years
  • Sign up for annual fee auto-pay. Please note: If you previously set up auto-pay in the old BCNS website to pay your $100 annual fee automatically, you will need to set this up again in the CNS Portal.)

 Here’s how to access the Pay Online page:

  1. Click the link called Memberships & Certifications
     Memberships & Certifications 
  2. Then click on Pay Online and choose CNS Annual Fee ($100). For auto-pay, click on the pulldown menu and choose CNS Annual Fee by Auto-pay ($100)
     Pay and Auto-Pay
  • Update your contact information
    Click on My Profile


My Profile

NOTE: Profile pictures cannot be added at this time.

  • Download and fill out forms and applications 
  1. Click the link called Memberships & Certifications
  2. Click on Forms
  • The top section shows the form(s) you submitted and the submission date
  • The bottom section shows Form Instructions. This is where you will select the form and download it to her computer. It is the same fillable form from the old BCNS website. After completing the form and saving it to her computer, she will upload it. It goes directly to her CNS database file where the BCNS staff can access it.

NOTE:   If the CNS or Candidate wants to edit a form, she will simply download a new one, fill it out accordingly and upload it again. She cannot access or download the originally submitted form.

Certificant & Candidate Forms


CNS Digital Badge


  • Monitor CNS status including CNS number and expiration date

              Certificant Status

Q: Is the CNS annual fee different than ANA annual Membership?

A: Yes. The CNS is a certification that must be kept in good standing. CNSs are required to pay an annual fee of $100 by 12/31 each year for the upcoming year. CNSs are also required to pay a recertification fe of $200 every 5 years. 

  • CNS still need to pay $100 annual fee (this is separate from the ANA Membership fee of $120 for Charter and $50 for student)
  • CNS still need to recertify every 5 years ($200 and 75 CEs)

 While ANA Membership offers great benefits to CNSs, it is not required. CNSs and CNS candidates can join the ANA as a paid Charter Member or Student Member or a free Professional Associate or Nutrition Enthusiast.

Q: What forms do CNSs need to download in the Portal?

A: CNSs can download the Recertification application to keep track of 75 CEs every 5 years. You can then upload the completed application before or by the due date.

Q: What forms do CNS candidates need to download in the Portal?

A: CNS candidates can download all applications including the CNS Exam Application and all Supervised Practice Experience applications including the Supervisor Approval Application and Addendum, Candidate’s Report, CNS SPE Tracking Tool and Personalized Nutrition (PN) Case Study Report.

Q: How is the Supervisor’s Report submitted?

A: Supervisors should download the Supervisor’s Report, fill it out completely and submit it with their current resume or CV to Applications@NutritionSpecialists.org.

Q: How are Letters of Recommendation submitted for the Exam Application?

A: Letters of recommendation should be written on the professional’s letterhead and sent to Applications@NutritionSpecialists.org.

Q: How should schools submit official transcripts for the Exam Application?

A: Official transcripts should be sent electronically to Applications@NutritionSpecialists.org or by mail to: BCNS, 211 W. Chicago Avenue, Hinsdale, IL  60521.

Q: What's the most efficient way to prepare for the CNS exam?

A: Candidates should review the Exam Content Outline and then use the Reference List to brush up on those domains/subdomains they feel the weakest in.  The reference list is organized by domain and is not intended to suggest that candidates should read every book listed.  These are books that other candidates have found helpful. While we cannot endorse or recommend any courses, candidates have recommended  the following:

Practice Quiz



The Clinician's Incubator

Study for CNS

Our statistics show that those candidates who have completed their 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. Exam items focus on one-best answer, multiple choice questions that lean more on applied clinical knowledge rather than memorization. While we suggest these various ways to prepare for the exam, we cannot recommend one over the others. Surveys we’ve conducted in the past have shown favorable results with many resources.

Q: How do I know if CEs count toward CNS recertification. Where do I track this information? How do I submit it?

A: In the Current CNS section of the BCNS website, there is a link to the Recertification Policy. You can check here to see what qualifications learning activities need. Typically activities with 50% or more in personalized nutrition will be approved, and you can usually determine that based on the course description, syllabus, website, etc. There is also a link to the Recertification Application. You will list the activities here, and when you have completed 75, you should submit via the Portal along with the $200 recertification fee. This is required every 5 years.