Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs

What is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)?

A Clinical Nurse Specialist is an advanced practice Registered Nurse who has gone on for additional schooling such as obtaining a master’s degree or doctoral degree in their chosen nursing specialty.  Many Clinical Nurse Specialists have sat for additional examinations after the completion of their educational program in order to maintain the title of a Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical Nurse Specialists work across the spectrum to help advance outcomes and improve health across populations, families, and individual patients.  Clinical Nurse Specialists can work as advanced practice nurses in clinical practice, work in research, nursing management, case management or consulting.  Clinical Nurse Specialists also often work with other nurses as educational/resource nurses and provide their clinical expertise to help with patient care and outcomes. 
As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, you have the choice to specialize in many areas of nursing including different settings, populations, and diseases.  Clinical Nurse Specialists choose to specialize in some of the following areas:

  • Acute Care
  • Adult and/or Geriatrics
  • Cardiology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Occupational Health
  • Oncology
  • Home Health
  • Public Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Rehabilitation
  • Wound Care
  • Diabetes


Pre-requisites for a Clinical Nurse Specialist program

 The exact pre-requisites for a Clinical Nurse Specialist program may vary depending on the program, but at a minimum will include:


  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) (often with a GPA of greater than 3.0),
  • Current Registered Nurse licensure,
  • and, generally a minimum of one year of experience as a Registered Nurse. 


Online Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs

Clinical Nurse Specialist programs can include online clinical nurse specialist programs. These programs are mainly conducted in the classroom/clinical area, or could combine both online and classroom/clinical components.  Most of the programs take about two years to complete. 
Each Clinical Nurse Specialist program may vary but generally include advanced physical/health assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and a minimum number of supervised clinical hours (often a minimum of 500 hours). 
Career Options
Clinical Nurse Specialists can work in many different types of workplaces including:


  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Health Insurance Companies
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Health Clinics
  • Schools and Colleges

Clinical Nurse Specialist jobs will often require the nurse to obtain an advanced certification within the chosen field.  Attending a Clinical Nurse Specialist program can prepare you to advance within your field and become a respected leader, clinician, teammate, manager, and educator.

Ask an Expert

Q:How do I become a clinical nurse specialist?

A:To become a clinical nurse specialist, you must complete a four year degree in nursing. The most commonly pursued four year nursing degree is the Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing. This can be earned online as well through distant learning schools. Apart from the degree, you will need to clear the nursing licensing examinations in your state.

Q:As a clinical nurse specialist, I which areas can I work?

A:Clinical nurse specialist can work in the following categories: population, type of care, type of problem, disease specific, and medical settings. You can seek specialization in certain areas and pursue a career in the above mentioned areas. The requirements of becoming a clinical nurse specialist will vary slightly from state to state. Browse through our page for more information.

Q:Can I pursue a clinical nurse specialist certification online?

A:Yes, you can pursue a clinical nurse specialist certification program online. This program is offered by a number of online schools that specialize in nursing education. Online programs are easier to pursue as compared to campus based degrees. You can study according to your own free time without having to worry about travelling to a campus for classes.Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification

Q:Are clinical nurse specialist programs easy to cover online?

A:Online nurse specialist programs are easier to pursue online. You do not have to worry about fixed class schedules or timings. You can study from your home or any other place according to your convenience. All you need is a laptop/PC and an internet connection. However, in some online programs, you may be required to gain practical experience by taking a few classes at the campus.

Q:What will be the costs of online clinical nurse specialist programs?

A:The costs of nursing specialist programs will depend upon which school you select for enrollment. The tuition fee is likely to vary from place to place. Some institutes also offer financial aid to students who have difficulty in covering costs. On the other hand, nursing programs that are pursued online have proved to be more affordable as compared to campus-based ones.

Q:In clinical nurse specialist online programs, what areas can I choose to specialize in?

A:If you plan to enroll in a clinical nurse specialist online program, you can specialize in any field of nursing. A few popular nursing specialties have been mentioned here: occupational health, adult health, oncology nursing, acute care, cardiology nursing, psychiatric nursing, gerontology nursing, pediatric nursing, and more. The field you choose will determine the type of nursing job you can pursue in the future.

Q:What is a clinical nurse specialist education?

A:Clinical nurse specialist education is designed to prepare students for advanced nursing roles in healthcare settings. There are many accredited nursing schools offering clinical nurse specialist programs in a variety of specialty fields such as adult nursing, pediatric nursing, oncology nursing, and more. Take a look at our page for more detail.

Q:Are there any online clinical nurse specialist schools?

A:There are a number of online nursing schools that offer clinical nurse specialist programs. You can search online to see which school best fits your needs. It is important to remember to check the accreditation of nursing schools before enrollment. Browse through our page for more detail about clinical nurse specialist schools.

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