Careers in the Licensed Professions

clinical nurse specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialist Print ProfilePDF


Clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are registered nurses who have completed advanced clinical nursing education to become certified in one or more specialty areas:

  • Adult Health
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry/Mental Health

CNS's provide, coordinate, and supervise patient care. They may also provide clinical consultation to other health care personnel, evaluate the quality and effectiveness of patient care, and perform nursing practices research.

These professionals do not make medical diagnoses or prescribe medical treatments or diagnostic tests.


A masters or doctorate degree in a Department-registered nursing licensure program or be certified as a CNS by a national certification organization. Clinical nurse specialist education programs in New York State must be approved by the State Education Department.

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.

Smiling nurse

Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $102,843 in the U.S., $107,764 in NY
  • Salary range: $67,070-$123,367
  • Projected growth: average

Where Could I Work?

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities
  • Clinics and private practices
  • Educational institutions

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Biology, psychology, and pharmacology
  • Ability to complete supervised, practical training

Professional Skills

  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Teaching

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a clinical nurse specialist about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: September 6, 2019