Self-paced, flexible, and fully online

Supervised Practice Experience (SPE)

A Self-Paced, Online Program for Candidates Pursuing the CNS® Credential

The Certified Nutrition Specialist® credential (CNS®) is one of the most highly respected professional credentials in the field of clinical nutrition. To earn this credential, candidates must complete specific coursework, pass the CNS exam, and complete 1,000 hours of Supervised Practice Experience (SPE). Sonoran University is proud to offer an SPE program unlike any other.

Flexible & Self-Paced

One quarter at a time, set your own schedule and work at your own pace

Telehealth Based Care

100% online so candidates can participate regardless of where they reside

Highest Quality Standards

Clinical training integrating a personalized nutrition care model with high-quality, evidence-based care.

Program Overview

Sonoran’s fully online Supervised Practice Experience (SPE) was built to be flexible to accommodate any qualified candidate in their pursuit of the Certified Nutrition Specialist® (CNS®) credential.

Personalize Your Pursuit

Whether you are working full time or part time, need 100 or 1,000 hours, whether you are currently in clinical practice or not, Sonoran’s flexible SPE program is designed to adapt to your needs. Sonoran’s competency guided, and self-paced format allows each candidate to set their own schedule each week and progress at their own pace. Whether you want to advance quickly to complete your hours at an accelerated pace, or slow down to balance your SPE with other competing priorities – the choice is yours.

Our SPE program is delivered in adherence to a personalized nutrition care model and high-quality, evidence-based clinical standards to help advance candidate’s development as competent and caring practitioners of personalized nutrition.


SPE Program Clinical Care Experiences:

  • New client consultations
  • Development of personalized intervention plans
  • Initial follow-up visits
  • Ongoing monitoring and client care
  • Development of a publication-ready case report (optional)
  • Team meetings, facilitated by a Clinical Supervisor
  • One-on-one supervisor meetings

Program FAQs

No. Sonoran’s SPE program is flexible and self-paced. Each candidate can determine how much time they wish to put toward their SPE, and this time can vary day to day, week to week, or month to month.

No. Sonoran’s SPE program can be completed 100% online through remote telehealth-based care and supervision and through online supervisor and team meetings.

Not necessarily. Sonoran has created a variety of opportunities to help candidates find clients to fulfill their SPE requirements. However, access to clients will vary based upon the candidate’s availability. Candidates are expected to secure their own clients if their SPE needs cannot be met by the clinical experiences provided through Sonoran alone. Candidates are ultimately responsible for ensuring they have enough client visits to meet the required competencies set by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) and to fulfil the required SPE hours.

Due to the variability of state licensing laws, candidates may only work with clients who reside in Arizona or other areas where the candidate’s Clinical Supervisor is licensed or is legally permitted to practice nutrition and/or medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Candidates must verify with their supervisor before scheduling any out-of-state clients.

Yes. The SPE program at Sonoran is designed for candidates with or without a current clinical practice. Candidates with existing practices may work with their own clients as part of the SPE program if they adhere to essential program requirements. Please contact our Admissions Team for details.

Candidates will be working with real clients. To protect client safety and public health and to reduce risk to clients, supervisors, peers, and Sonoran, all SPE candidates admitted to the program are required to complete a criminal background check (CBC) as part of the SPE application process. All expenses associated with the CBC are the responsibility of the candidate. If you are offered conditional admission to the SPE program, the offer will not be considered final until completion of the CBC, with results deemed acceptable by Sonoran. Furthermore, candidates should be aware that a record of prior criminal conduct may impact your ability to sit for the CNS® exam and earn the CNS credential and violations of the BCNS Code of Ethics by a candidate (or by a CNS® holder) can result in reprimand, suspension, revocation, or denial of CNS® certification.

Participation in the SPE program is not a guarantee that you will earn the CNS® credential as there are three requirements for the CNS® credential:

  1. Completing the didactic/coursework requirements
  2. Passing the CNS® examination
  3. Completing a minimum of 1,000 hours of SPE

With successful completion of the didactic/coursework requirements, SPE requirements, and upon passing the CNS® examination, candidates will be ready to submit their CNS® credential application to the BCNS. Once all these requirements are met the BCNS Credentials Council reviews each application and is responsible for awarding the credential.

Yes. You do not need to reside locally or in the same time zone as Arizona to participate in the SPE program. However, there are two important considerations to keep in mind that may influence your ability to participate. 1) Candidates may only work with clients who reside in Arizona or other areas where their Clinical Supervisor is licensed or is legally permitted to practice nutrition and/or medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Candidates must therefore make themselves available at times that would work for these clients. 2) Individual and team meetings with supervisors are scheduled Monday through Friday during regular business hours based upon the time zone of the supervisor. Supervisors will do their best to accommodate the time zones of each candidate but if the time difference where the candidate resides is significant, the candidate may be required to participate in these meetings very early or very late in their day.

Program Payment is due no later than one month prior to the start of the quarter.

No. The SPE program is a postgraduate, non-degree program and therefore, per Federal policy, is not eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

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