Check Your Certification Eligibility

Education Requirements

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. Successful completion of an accredited* graduate, post-master’s certificate, or doctoral program in nursing which has prepared the applicant for the CNS role. The program must contain core courses (advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, and physical assessment), population-specific classes, and a precepted 500-hour clinical practicum in the CNS role, OR
  2. A master’s, post-master’s certificate, or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited CNS program along with documentation of serving in an advanced practice role may be accepted in lieu of graduating from a program which did not include core courses and the precepted 500- hour clinical practicum.

*Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

Licensure Requirements

Candidate must meet one of two requirements:

  1. Hold a current, full, unrestricted license (RN and/or APRN) in the United States, OR
  2. Hold a current, full, unrestricted RN license with recognition as a CNS by a state board of nursing.

Experience Requirements

Candidate must meet one of the two requirements:

  1. If enrolled in a CNS program with current accreditation standards*, the candidate may begin work on the CNS-CP Professional Portfolio project prior to graduation. The project must be completed after the CNS degree has been conferred, OR
  2. If graduated from a CNS program prior to implementation of these standards, candidate must validate 2,400 hours and 2 years as a practicing CNS in the perioperative setting.

* Program must include advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, physical assessment, role-specific classes, and a precepted 500-hour clinical practicum

Additional Requirements

  • Have completed a minimum of 2 years and 2,400 hours of experience in perioperative nursing, with a minimum of 50% (1,200 hours) in the intraoperative setting.
  • Be currently employed as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the perioperative setting.

Submitting Your Professional Portfolio

  1. Submission of the CNS-CP Pre-Approval Form:
    The following documents must be submitted with the pre-approval form and approved before an applicant may begin the portfolio process:

    1. Photocopies of RN and/or APRN license(s) or a photocopy of the online verification of current licensure from the state board(s) of nursing.
    2. An original transcript showing degree conferred and all graduate-level coursework. No faxed, scanned, e-mailed, or photocopied transcripts will be accepted.
    3. Verification of CNS primary certification, if held. A physical or electronic copy is acceptable.
  2. Once approved, the applicant will be given access to an electronic storage file and instructions on how to complete and submit the professional portfolio.

To prevent your credential from lapsing, a professional portfolio must be submitted for peer review no later than November 1st of the year the credential is due to expire.

If you have questions about applying for CNS-CP certification or would like more information, please contact us.

Certification Fees

CNS-CP Certification Fee

The total CNS-CP certification by portfolio fee is $375.

There is a $40 discount is available for those who hold an active CCI credential outside of CNS-CP®. Discounts cannot be combined and only one discount can be utilized per transaction.




CNS-CP Resources


CNS-CP Handbook

The complete guide on the CNS-CP credential including eligibility requirements.


CCI Staff Support

CCI's nursing staff is available to answer questions about eligibility or the portfolio process.