Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Arizona

The Centers for Disease ControlArizona (CDC) notes that, as of 2018, only 13.2% of Arizona’s adults meet the daily recommended fruit intake. Added to that is the fact that only 10.5% of Arizona’s adults meet the daily intake recommendation for vegetables. Possible reasons for these deficiencies are restricted access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and not being informed of the recommended intake levels. Nutritionists can help Arizonians to understand how to live a healthier life through better food choices. 

Arizona does not regulate nor license nutritionists who wish to work in the state. This means that all nutritionists, whether “licensed” or “non-licensed,” may legally practice in Arizona, regardless of their qualifications. Nutritionists in Arizona may also practice telehealth, as long as they are mindful of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1997 (HIPAA), which requires them to use software that will keep client information secure and private. 

Since there are no such things as “licensed” or “non-licensed” nutritionists in Arizona, we will discuss the ways in which you can study to become a nutritionist and work in Arizona. Although, technically, you need no education to work as a nutritionist in Arizona, practically, if you want to become a nutritionist in Arizona, you must know what you are talking about in order to impart crucial knowledge to your clients. 

Professional Certifications for Nutritionists in Arizona

If you wish to work as a nutritionist in Arizona, you have many choices in your education and certification status, depending upon your interests, the flexibility of your schedule to attend classes, and how much you have to spend on your education. It is usually much easier to find a nutritionist job in any state if you are professionally certified. We will discuss various ways to become a certified nutritionist, from “least intensive” to “most intensive,” so that you can find a certification that will best fit your situation. 

If You Want to Become a Nutritionist in Arizona Without a College Degree 

Believe it or not, there are professional nutritionist certifications that are available for those who have no college degree. This could be an ideal fit for you if you are just starting out in the field, and perhaps plan to get a degree while you are working in nutrition. Remember, because Arizona does not regulate nutritionists, you need not pursue any certification. However, many insurance companies will not reimburse the services of a non-certified nutritionist, and many clients will only seek out nutritionists who have some type of certification, so professional certification is recommended. 

ISSA Nutritionist – International Sports Sciences Association 

Nutritionist certification through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is accomplished through online courses. These courses are in subjects such as:

  • Product labels and claims
  • Macronutrients and micronutrients
  • Client assessment and goal sharing
  • Lifestyle changes and strategies
  • Supplements
  • The business of nutrition coaching
  • Trending diets and myths
  • Dietary guidelines and applications

Once you have completed the courses, you must pass a certification examination. Upon passing, you will earn the credential ISSA Nutritionist. 

Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC)- National Academy of Sports Medicine

Another program that is offered through online study is the Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) program of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Courses include:

  • Nutritional science
  • Strategies to change behavior
  • Nutrition coaching

After completing the coursework, you must pass a certification exam. Then you will earn the NASM-CNC credential, which must be renewed every two years. 

NESTA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist –National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association 

The Sports Nutrition Specialist certification of the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) is also achieved through online courses, such as:

  • Hydration and electrolyte balance
  • Performance, recovery and event eating
  • Altitude and Extreme Environments. 
  • Understanding the special needs of vegetarian and vegan athletes

Upon completing the courses, you must pass a certification exam before you can call yourself a NESTA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist. 

Nutrition and Wellness Certifications of the American Fitness Professional Association (AFPA) 

The American Fitness Professional Association (AFPA) offers various Nutrition and Wellness specialist and consultant certifications through online study. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Autoimmune Holistic Nutrition Specialist
  • Holistic Nutritionist
  • Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
  • Weight Management Specialist
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Senior Nutrition Specialist 
  • Youth Nutrition Specialist

Certification is achieved through passing an exam after the completion of online studies. 

If You Want to Become a Certified Nutritionist in Arizona and Have a College Degree

If you have a degree in nutrition or a related field, you are eligible for many other professional nutritionist certifications. The most popular nutritionist certifications for degree holders include:

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) 

The Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification requires that you hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field and pass a certification examination.

Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) of the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) 

The Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) certification mandates that you have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. In addition, you must complete the Board’s Post-Graduate Studies in Clinical Nutrition and pass a certification examination.

Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) of the American Nutrition Association (ANA)

The Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) certification requires that you have a master’s degree in nutrition or a related area. You must also accumulate 1000 hours of supervised practice experience and pass a certification examination in order to call yourself a CNS. 

Jobs for Nutritionists in Arizona

A good way to test the waters of jobs for nutritionists in Arizona is to scan for openings for nutritionists in the state. Here are some examples of recent openings for nutritionists in Arizona, along with their requirements:

  • Nutritionist, Pinal County – Florence, AZ
  • Food Service Nutritionist, Amphitheater Public Schools – Tucson, AZ
  • Health Educator WIC Medium Risk Nutritionist, Pima County – Tucson, AZ
    • Bachelor’s degree required in health education, nutrition education or related field
    • One year of experience preferred
  • Nutritionist/Food Service Director, Mwangaza Residential Care – Tucson, AZ


(Also, take a look at our page for Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Arizona here.)