Skip to content

College of Nursing

Get Connected:

Clinical Nurse Specialist


Adult gerontology clinical nurse specialists advance the quality of care by leading practice change innovations, integrating evidence-based practice guidelines, and collaborating across disciplines to improve patient outcomes and achieve sustainable healthcare outcomes.

This specialty program, offered at the certificate, MSN and DNP levels, prepares graduate nurses who are clinical experts skilled in providing care for adults across the lifespan and possess the knowledge required to effectively educate others. They champion healthcare policy and operational changes while assuming leadership roles in healthcare settings as advanced direct care provider, consultant, leader, collaborator and educator.

With advanced preparation as clinical experts and educators, they are highly sought after in academic settings for clinical faculty positions and in staff development.

Graduates of this adult gerontology CNS — which has been named one of the best online programs by U.S. News & World Report — qualifies students to sit for the AGCNS-BC certification exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the AACNS-AG certification offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).

Students will select the certification exam best suited to their career goals. Students who successfully pass either certification exam will be awarded Board Certification as an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

Students pursuing a master’s of science in nursing at MSU may also progress directly into their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). 

Reports from the national specialty certifying agency, American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) indicate that MSN graduates who took the 2019 AG-CNS specialty certification exam had a combined 1st time examination pass rate of 100%.