Becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialists hold a master’s or doctor’s degree in any of the specialized areas of nursing such as pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health, critical care, diabetes, oncology, psychiatric, rehabilitation etc. They help patients prevent illness while providing all types of care and assistance on treatment. They also offer consultant services whenever required.

Educational Requirements:

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing: A bachelor’s degree in nursing is the first step towards becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist. The four-year bachelor’s degree program may include subjects like pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and nursing.

2. Earn a Master’s Degree: The aspiring Clinical Nurse Specialists may go for Master’s Degree programs, which usually take 2-3 years to complete. During these programs, they get a chance to  develop their nursing skills, nursing practices and assessment abilities.

3. Licensure: Licensing is must for aspiring Clinical Nurse Specialists before they start practicing. They need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

4. Experience: Most stated in the United States hire Clinical Nurse Specialists with one or two years of direct patient experience at a clinical setting.

Certification: Several certification programs are available for the Clinical Nurse Specialists. The key institution that offer the certification programs include: Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation and American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Salary & Job Outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Clinical Nursing Specialists is projected to grow at 26% during the period of 2012-2022. They can earn up to$126,000 in a year, while the average annual salary is $86,500.