The National Board of Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC) is an independent credentialing board established in 1984 by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN).

Eligibility Requirements and Policies                                                                                                                                                                                                

***You do not have to be an ASPEN member to become a CNSC®***


 Eligibility Requirements

NBNSC recommends that candidates have at least two years of experience in specialized nutrition support, but it is not required. You must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Completion and filing of an Application for the Certification Examination for Nutrition Support Clinicians
  • Payment of the required fee
  • Registered Dietitians (RD) who are registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) or the Canadian Equivalent
  • Registered Nurses (RN) including nurse practitioners (NPs) who are licensed to practice in the United States or Canada
  • Physicians who are licensed as doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO) in the United States or Canada
  • Pharmacists who are registered/licensed to practice in the United States or Canada
  • Physician assistants who are registered/licensed to practice in the United States or Canada 
  • Doctors of dental surgery/doctors of dental medicine who are licensed to practice in the United States or Canada  


NBNSC publishes a complete list of policies in the Candidate Handbook, including report of results, confidentiality, scoring, etc. We've highlighted some important policies below for your reference.

International Candidates  

It is the purpose of the NBNSC to provide an avenue for international candidates with credentials equivalent to those in the United States to be eligible to sit for the CNSC® examination. The Certification Policy For International Candidates contains detailed information about the certification information for international candidates. International candidates should note that the CNSC® exam is a US-based exam and may relate to practice in the US.



Special testing arrangements may be made for special needs individuals submitting the application, examination fee, and a letter describing the nature of the disability and the special accommodations needed for testing. Requests for special testing needs individuals must be received at least EIGHT weeks before the testing period begins.



If you need to cancel your examination appointment or reschedule to a different date within the two-week testing period you must contact LaserGrade at (800) 211-2754 no later than noon, Eastern Standard Time, of the second business day PRIOR to your scheduled appointment. If you fail to arrive for your appointment or cancel without giving the required notice, you will forfeit your testing fee.



There will be no refund of fees. Fees will not be transferred from one testing period to another.



The NBNSC will release individual test scores ONLY to the individual candidate via postal mail. It is unethical to recall or memorize and share test questions or to solicit questions on the certification exams from candidates who have taken the exam.


Report of Results  

Candidates will be notified within six weeks from the last date of the testing window whether they have passed or failed the examination. Scores on the major areas of the examination and the total examination will be reported. Successful candidates will also receive certificates from the NBNSC approximately six to eight weeks following notification of passing the examination.


Certification Period and Recertification
Upon successfully passing the CNSC® examination, individuals will be certified for a period of five years.

Recertification of the CNSC® credential is via examination. The purpose of requiring recertification renewal is to measure continued competent and knowledgeable nutrition support practice. Certification demonstrates to your patients, colleagues, and employers that you have the skills necessary to provide the best care possible.

Should an individual with a current CNSC® credential opt to take the certification examination early, all maintenance of the CNSC® credential will be based upon when the individual took the certification examination.

      Scenario 1: Certifee A is currently certified as a CNSC® from October 2011 – October 2016. Certifee A wants to become recertified and opts to take the certification examination in April 2016 instead of October 2016. Certifee A    successfully passes the certification examination, then the certification period is April 2016 – April 2021.

      Scenario 2: Certifee A is currently credentialed as a CNSC® from October 2011 – October 2016. Certifee A wants to become recertified and opts to take the certification examination in April 2016 instead of October 2016. Certifee A is unsuccessful in passing the certification examination. Upon receiving the exam results Certifee A is no longer a CNSC® and cannot use the credential until the certification examination is again taken and successfully passed. In summary anytime the certification examination is taken and not passed, certification lapses.

Reinstatement for Expired Certification  

Individuals with an expired certification must retake and pass the examination during one of the testing periods.



The certification examination may be taken as often as desired upon filing of a new application and fee. There is no limit to the number of times the examination may be repeated. Candidates may only take the exam once per testing window.


Ultimate Authority

If it appears that an answer to an exam question may vary depending on the reference used the following policy will be followed:

  1. The ASPEN Practice Guidelines and Standards and Practice papers will be considered the final authority when questions of answers are raised.  These papers are available at no charge on the ASPEN website:  
  2. If the NBNSC determines that a guideline or standard from another organization differs from those published by ASPEN, it will only be considered authoritative if it is a peer reviewed document from a recognized organization and has been published after the publication date of the ASPEN document it disagrees with.
  3. In the event that a question's answer is challenged the question and answer will be reviewed by the exam chairperson, the chairperson of the Executive board and, if necessary by a third person with special knowledge of the field.