You must be certified and registered as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in order to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in New York State.
NYSED certifies clinical nurse specialists to practice in the following specialty practice areas: Adult Health, Oncology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry/Mental Health.
To become certified and registered by NYSED as a CNS, you must:
- be currently registered and licensed as a registered professional nurse (RN) in New York State;
- be a graduate of a clinical nurse specialist education program registered by NYSED or meet alternative education or experience criteria acceptable to NYSED (which are described in more detail below); and
- apply for CNS certification with NYSED.
You may download CNS application forms and instructions for completing the forms from this website. When you apply for CNS certification with NYSED, it is your responsibility to have all required documents and information sent to NYSED.
You are allowed to be certified as a CNS in more than one specialty practice area. However, you must file a separate application and pay an additional fee to NYSED for each CNS specialty practice area in which you seek certification. In addition, you must also meet all applicable criteria for each specialty practice area in which you seek CNS certification.
After you have met all requirements for CNS certification in a specialty area, NYSED will issue you a clinical nurse specialist certificate and a registration certificate.
- Your CNS certification is valid for life, unless you surrender it to NYSED or it is revoked, annulled or suspended by the New York State Board of Regents.
- Your CNS registration certificate will authorize you to practice as a CNS for up to 3 years (the initial registration period varies based on when you become certified and your date of birth). Thereafter, you must renew your CNS registration and your RN registration with NYSED every 3 years in order to continue practicing as a CNS. You are not legally allowed to provide nursing services as a CNS while your CNS or RN registration is expired.
Laws that govern CNS certification include Education Law §6911 and 8 NYCRR Part 64.
You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.