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From: Mark Rifkin (
Subject:         Re: Education and the CNS
Date: January 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm PST

In Reply to: Education and the CNS posted by Mike Weaver on November 30, 2009 at 5:55 am:

Hi Mike,

My sincere apologies for the long delay in my answer. There are multiple parts.

1) Since RDs are licensed in 37 states, and CNS in fewer (I'm not sure how many, but may be as few as 13, as you said), what matters is
a) what type of setting/patients do you envision for yourself, and
b) and does this require a license in your state?

If you live in a licensing state, and you want to see clients to treat disease, then you need a license.
If you simply want to help people eat healthier, or transition to a veg'n diet, that usually does not require a license.

2) Since the MS required for CNS cert exceeds the BS requirement for RD, CNS may bring more knowledge and credibility. But if you expect to get referrals from physicians or hospitals or health care facilities (the gatekeepers of referrals), they generally don't refer to CNS holders; they refer to RDs.

3) All ADA-accredited programs offer part-time options. That is, there is no obligation to be a full-time student. Many offer classes in late/afternoon or evenings, or offer classes held only once weekly, instead of 3x per week. I completed my requirements by going part time. You would have to review the programs at, click on students, then accredited programs.

Let me know if that helps,
Mark Rifkin, MS, RD

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