ACHS’ MS in Holistic Nutrition Approved by CNS Board

American College of Healthcare Sciences’ MS in Holistic Nutrition Receives Approval from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists

American Nutrition Association logoPortland, OR, May 28 – American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) is pleased to announce that the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) has determined ACHS’s Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition program fully fulfills the current degree and course requirements of the Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS®) credential. The BCNS was established in 1993 and administers this advanced certification for personalized nutrition practitioners.

The CNS® credential is a comprehensive nutrition credential covering eight domains of practice from principles of nutrition and nutritional biochemistry to public health and practice management. The U.S. Bureau of Occupational Outlook Handbook states that many states accept the CNS® credential or exam for licensure purposes. 

“Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS®) play a crucial role in the nutrition healthcare spectrum. They bring a depth of knowledge and expertise in nutrition science that is essential for addressing complex health issues, developing personalized nutrition plans, and advancing public health initiatives. Their rigorous training and commitment to continuing education ensure they stay at the forefront of the field, providing high-quality care and making significant contributions to the overall healthcare system,” shares Ron Hoffman, MD, CNS – BCNS Board Chair

Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS®) meet rigorous standards, including an accredited master’s or doctoral degree, supervised experience, and successful completion of the CNS® exam. As with many healthcare professionals, Certified Nutrition Specialists must also complete continuing education hours to maintain their credential.

“We are pleased to provide this opportunity to our Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition graduates who have also demonstrated proficiency through clinical experience. Nutrition plays a significant role in our overall health and wellness, and with this credential, our graduates will be able to reach more communities in diverse settings to share integrative nutrition and wellness services,” shares ACHS President Tracey Abell.

As part of this approval, the BCNS made an impactful policy change to include institutionally accredited higher education institutions in its eligibility criteria. Previously, only graduates of formerly regionally accredited institutions were eligible to apply. Many organizations have been slow to adopt the change in accreditation recognition implemented in 2020 creating unnecessary barriers to higher education completion and professional pathways. 

“We also want to commend the BCNS for implementing the federal changes in accreditation recognition and recognizing all graduates of eligible, institutionally accredited colleges, creating more access to qualified nutrition professionals,” adds Tracey Abell.

Learn more about the CNS® credential pathway for ACHS graduates in an informative webinar on June 25, 2024, at 4 p.m. Pacific time featuring Amy Smith, Senior Director of Certifications and Advocacy with the American Nutrition Association and ACHS’s Dr. Janet Ludwig and Professor Patricia Kaufman. Register online here.


¹Student Assistance General Provisions, The Secretary’s Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, The Secretary’s Recognition Procedures for State Agencies, 84 Fed. Reg. 58834-58933 (Nov. 1, 2019).

About ACHS:

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), located in Portland, Oregon, is an accredited college specializing in online integrative health and wellness education. Founded in 1978, ACHS offers a range of certificate, diploma, and degree programs in aromatherapy, herbal medicine, functional nutrition, and other complementary alternative medicine disciplines. ACHS is dedicated to providing exceptional online education based on evidence-based research, with an emphasis on sustainability and global stewardship. For questions about this press release or to schedule an interview, please contact Tracey Abell at