If you are interested in becoming a nutritionist or a dietician, it is important to know what your state’s licensing requirements, if any, are. Unfortunately, requirements for licensure vary from one state to the next, which can make it seem quite confusing to navigate the rules and regulations for dietetic practice.
State Regulations for Practicing Nutrition
The information provided on this map offers a simplified overview of intricate state laws and regulations. Choose a state to access a summarized version of its legislation.
Individualized nutrition counseling, excluding medical nutrition therapy in select states, is legal for all. Certain states provide state licensure or certification opportunities for CNSs, RDs, and other proficient nutritionists.
Engaging in personalized nutrition counseling without proper licensure or exemption is illegal. However, there exists a route to obtaining licensure for CNSs, RDs, and other experienced nutritionists.
Engaging in personalized nutrition counseling without proper licensure or exemption is illegal, with licensure primarily limited to registered dietitians (RDs).
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has made their position clear – Medical nutrition therapy and other complex nutrition and dietetics services should only be provided by qualified individuals with the specialized education and training of RDNs or, at minimum, meet state licensure standards. While states have become a bit more uniform in their licensure standards for dietitians and nutritionists over the past few years, they are not quite there yet. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is doing its part, updating its standards so that as of January 1, 2024, all who call themselves Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) must have a minimum of a graduate degree.
On this page, however, we aren’t discussing registration and certification requirements. Here, we will look further into state licensure requirements for nutritionists and dietitians. The AND maintains an updated Licensure Map here, which may be referred to if you need to discover the latest changes for dietitian and nutritionist licensure in a particular state.
Registered Dietician/Registered Dietician Nutritionist State Requirements
The AND registers qualified individuals to be eligible to use the credentials Registered Dietician (RD) and Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN). These credentials are interchangeable, with either title applicable to someone who has met the AND’s education and experiential requirements and passed the CDR’s examination. Each state has its own licensure process, however, for RDs/RDNs to be able to legally practice in that state.
The following states require licensure of dieticians who wish to practice in that state (Click on each state to see detailed licensure requirements for that state):
The following states require certification of dieticians who wish to practice in that state (Click on each state to see detailed certification requirements for that state):
These states do not require any licensure or certification for dietitians to practice there (click on each state for more information on its requirements, or lack thereof):
Licensed Nutritionist State Requirements
Licensed Nutritionists may be credentialed through a variety of agencies. The AND’s CDR may bestow the credential Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) upon a person who has met their education, experiential and examination requirements as mentioned in the RD section above. Other certifying agencies for nutritionists include the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) and the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB). States, too, may have their own requirements for those who wish to practice as nutritionists there.
The following states require licensure and/or certification of nutritionists to legally practice there (Click on each state to see detailed licensure requirements for that state):
Non-Licensed Nutritionist State Requirements
Some states do not require nutritionists to hold any type of license in order to legally practice there. This means that, in order to call oneself a nutritionist within that state, one need not have earned an RDN, CCN (Certified Clinical Nutritionist) or CNS (Certified Nutritionist Specialist) credential.
These states allow non-licensed, non-certified nutritionists to practice (click on each state for more detailed information on its requirements, or lack thereof, for nutritionists):