Clinical Nurse Specialists

Learn about the Steps to Becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are advanced practice nurses with a graduate degree in a specific area of expertise. This expertise might be in a specific patient population, a specific setting (e.g., the emergency room), a disease or illness, a type of care (e.g., psychiatric), or a type of health problem (e.g., stress). Clinical nurse specialists diagnose and treat illnesses, diseases, and injuries, and recommend ways to improve overall health care delivery systems.


Preparation Path

  • Attain a BSN
  • Pass the NCLEX and become an RN
  • Get your MSN with emphasis on a CNS specialty
  • Get CNS certification
  • Participate in ongoing education in your specialty area

Annual Salary Range
$97,556 – 118,187


Typical Tasks

  • Monitoring and evaluating patients’ needs
  • Administering medication
  • Setting up treatment plans for patients within a certain specialty
  • Implementing orientation programs and ongoing education/training for nursing staffs

Employment Settings

  • Hospitals (public and private)
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Individual patients’ homes

Certification

RN, plus CNS certification in your specialty of choice


Education Requirements

BSN, followed by MSN


Want to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Find a nursing school in your area