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).

Frequently Asked Questions

CNSC Certification 

Why did NBNSC change the exam format?
After conducting extensive research, NBNSC developed an exam that is fair and valid for all professional disciplines involved in nutrition support. Throughout the research process, healthcare professionals that provide nutrition support care overwhelmingly agreed on the common practices in their day-to-day tasks. NBNSC's new exam format recognizes that nutrition support is a multi-disciplinary endeavor. It encourages attainment of a credential based on job performance and the development of cross-coverage skills. 
Is the new exam format more difficult?
The content of the exam reflects the tasks that healthcare professionals involved in nutrition
support provide on a daily basis. You will find that the content is familiar and no more difficult
than the previous exam.
Who should seek certification?
Physicians, Nurses, Dietitians, Dentists, Physician Assistants, and Pharmacists may provide services either alone or frequently as a multi-disciplinary team to assist the patient. Currently the NBNSC certifies proficiency for Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dentists, Physician Assistants, and Dietitians.
Why should I become certified?
Certification provides an avenue to validate and demonstrate the attainment of the skills and knowledge necessary to provide quality nutrition support care. Certification enables all healthcare practitioners involved in nutrition support to identify themselves as qualified caregivers. 
Once I'm certified, how often do I need to re-certify?
The CNSC ® credential is valid for five years. Details regarding the certification period and
recertification may be found in the policies and procedures.
How do I verify my credential?
It is your responsibility as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician ® to maintain your credential. If you would like to check the status of your certification, contact NBNSC at (301) 587-6315 or email [email protected]
What credentials should I use if I'm already a CNSD, CNSP, or CNSN?
All individual discipline credentials (i.e. CNSN, CNSD, CNSP) ceased to exist in the fall of 2012. All who hold the certification should now be using the CNSC ® credential.  

Can I use the CNSC credential if my certification has lapsed?
You can not use the credential if your certification has lapsed. In addition, if you misrepresent your certification status, your certification will be revoked.

How many people are currently certified in nutrition support by the NBNSC?

As of June 2021, there are 5378 individuals certified in nutrition support by the NBNSC. Of all the individuals certified in nutrition support, 94.2% are dietitians, 1.2% are nurses/nurse practitioners, 2.3% are pharmacists*, 0.1% are physician assistants* and 2.2% are physicians.
*Pharmacists and physician assistants have been eligible to sit for the CNSC® exam since 2009.

to learn more about the historical statistics of the CNSC exam, please download the CNSC Infographic

Can I receive continuing education credit for taking and passing the CNSC® exam?
While the NBNSC does not issue credit for the certification examination, some individuals may
be eligible for continuing education credit through their own discipline's credentialing
body. For example, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) allows registered dietitians
to claim credit for successfully passing the CNSC ® exam. Please check with CDR at for details.
I am an international candidate; how can I become certified?


Do I have to be an ASPEN member in order to take the certification exam?
No. You do not need to be a member of ASPEN to take the NBNSC certification exam.
When is the exam available?
The exam will be offered during two periods annually in the spring and the fall.

How long does it take to receive the results and how will I be notified?
Exam results are sent via email and U.S. mail to exam candidates approximately four to six weeks after the last day of testing for the testing period. Exam results are sent directly from the testing company, PTC. The NBNSC does not know any exam results until they are sent from the testing company. 
Will I receive a certificate in addition to the score report from the testing company, PTC?
Yes, once the NBNSC receives the score report from PTC, certificates will be processed. This
typically takes about 8 weeks from the time NBNSC receives the score report.
If I do not pass, is there a waiting period to take the exam again?
There is no waiting period. The exam can be retaken during the next testing period.

If I can't take my examination, can I reschedule to another date?
You can reschedule your exam but there will be a rescheduling fee. You can read more about this in the Candidate Handbook.
What are the best study references to prepare for the new CNSC® exam?
Click here for information on study resources. 
Please note, when more than one reference is available on a topic, the default reference for the CNSC exam content will be that published by ASPEN. 
How do I obtain a payment receipt for the exam?
Contact NBNSC's testing partner, Professional Testing Corporation (PTC) at (212) 356 - 0660 or
via email at [email protected]
Does the CNSC® exam test just minimal, basic knowledge of nutrition support?
The CNSC ® exam tests the knowledge that is required for the delivery of safe and effective
nutrition support as defined by the evidenced-based, multidisciplinary practice audit. Some
individuals may find the test to be "basic" whiles others may view the test as "advanced".

How does the NBNSC develop the CNSC® exam?
In order to have a legally and practically defensible exam, it must represent clinical practice.
Practice drives certification; certification does not drive practice. The NBNSC uses the practice
audit to validate the content of the exam. This is considered the highest level of supporting
evidence. From there, the test items are developed with the assistance of a psychometrician.

General Information

What is Nutrition Support?
Nutrition support is a sophisticated and specialized practice that requires the expertise and
knowledge of multiple health-care professionals including physicians, dietitians, nurses,
pharmacists, dentists, and physician assistants. Nutrition support is the application of nutritional
interventions to patients who have been affected by various diseases which affect processes
such as eating, digesting & absorbing nutrients required for health. Therapies may include oral
supplements, tube feedings into the intestinal tract, intravenous feedings of special solutions
into the large veins in the body, or a combination of these therapies. Some patients are obese
and require restriction of nutrients.
Who provides Nutrition Support?
Physicians, Nurses, Dietitians, Dentists, Physician Assistants, and Pharmacists may provide services either alone or frequently as a multi-disciplinary team to assist the patient. Currently the NBNSC certifies proficiency for Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and Dietitians.
In what type of setting is Nutrition Support delivered?
Nutrition support clinicians may work in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, clinics or office
Is Nutrition Support "proven" care?
Interventions used to assist patients in nutrition support are tested by the scientific method
whenever possible. Studies of nutritional interventions are published in journals and books and subject to the "peer review" process. When "outcomes data" are not available to direct therapy, experience and judgment by the clinician will guide the course of therapy.