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.


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

How do I apply to sit for the CNS exam?

Upcoming CNS Exams:
June 8-12, 2024; Applications due April 14, 2024
December 7-11, 2024; Applications due October 13, 2024

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

How do I submit my exam application?

CNS Candidate Portal

To complete your CNS Exam Application, please log into the CNS Candidate Portal and follow instructions. 

Please Note: official transcripts must come directly from the school emailed to: [email protected].

If your university does not offer electronic transcripts, please email [email protected] to make accommodations. 

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

How do I prepare for the CNS Exam?

Candidates should review the Exam Content Outline to brush up on those domains/subdomains in which they feel the weakest. 

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 endorse or recommend any courses, candidates have recommended:

While we suggest various ways to prepare for the exam, we cannot recommend one over the others.

Test Taking Tips & Strategies is recommended for candidates to learn or review strategies on taking a multiple-choice exam.

What if I don’t pass the CNS Exam?

 If you don’t pass the CNS exam, you may apply to take the exam again through the CNS Candidate Protal. 

Re-exam Application 

You do not need to re-submit the supporting documents (ie. transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.)

Candidates may take the CNS exam the next time it’s offered.

Can I use CNS-c after my name to show that I’m a CNS-candidate?

No, this is not an approved nomenclature by the ANA. Typically, this is used for degree candidates and not for certification candidates. You may put in writing that you are a “CNS candidate” when writing to a potential employer, client, etc.