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What is a Certified Nutrition Specialist(CNS)?

CNS is an advanced credential for nutrition practitioners, holding degrees such as an MS, RD credential, or Doctorate (MD, DO, ND) and others. The CNS credential permits the utilization of medical nutrition therapy and science-based, personalized nutrition in different states. The CNS credential is awarded by the American Nutrition Association (ANA) and enables licensure for these nutrition professionals in 30+ states. 

Differences between a CNS & Registered Dietitian


Education: Minimum of a Master's degree in nutrition or related coursework

Training: Biochemistry, Anatomy, Chemistry, Research Methods, Personalized Nutrition, Assessment & Monitoring, Medical Nutrition Therapy, and Public Health. Minimum 1,000+ supervised clinical practice hours. 

Requirements: 1,000+ supervised clinical practice hours by an ANA-approved supervisor, ANA credentialing exam, and completion of 75 CEUs every 5 years to maintain certification. 

Career Path: Private practice, Research, Academia, Media, Public health, and other healthcare fields. 


Education: Bachelors degree in Dietetics, or nutrition, & as of 2024, Master's degree in dietetics or nutrition. 

Training: Biochemistry, Anatomy, Chemistry, Research Methods, Dietetics, Food Service Management, Food Science, and Medical Nutrition Therapy. Minimum 1,200+ supervised practice hours in an ACEND matched internship. 

Requirements: National licensing exam by the ACEND, and completion of 75 CEUs every 5 years to maintain licensure. 

Career Path: Hospital Setting, Community Education, Food Service & Systems, Research, Public Health, and other healthcare fields. 

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