Clinical Nurse Specialist

What does a Clinical Nurse Specialist do?

Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice registered nurses whose advance training and graduate experience enable them to provide high-level care to people of all ages in both hospital and community settings. They work in collaboration with physicians and other health care providers.

What might a Clinical Nurse Specialist do in a workday?

Clinical nurse specialists:

  • manage the care of complex and/or vulnerable populations.
  • facilitate change and innovation within health care systems.
  • educate and support interdisciplinary staff.

Developing a Career as a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical nurse specialists focus on one or more areas, such as pediatrics, mental health, perinatal care, oncology or gerontology. They may work in hospitals, clinics, health maintenance organizations or in private practice.

How much salary do Clinical Nurse Specialists make?

Annual Mean Wage
$64,470 (provided by the Occupational Information Network)

How do I become a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Students interested in a career as a clinical nurse specialist should take challenging high school courses in science, math and English, including advanced placement courses.

To become a clinical nurse specialist, students must first complete education and training to be a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse. Then they must complete an accredited nurse practitioner program that prepares clinical nurse specialists.

Where else can I learn about becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist?

Professional Associations:

Virginia Nurses Association
6912 Three Chopt Road
Suite H
Richmond, VA 23226
(804) 282-1808

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
100 North 20th Street
4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 320-3881

State License Requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialists

A license is required to practice as a clinical nurse specialist in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit

Virginia Board of Nursing
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive
Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 367-4515

Find Local Support

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