The Florida Dietetics Practice and Nutrition Act requires a license for anyone who wishes to practice dietetics, nutrition or nutrition counseling and get paid for it. In order to become licensed as a nutritionist in Florida, you must be a registered dietitian through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Prior to 2020, this law effectively prevented anyone from working as a nutritionist if they did not have a license.
However, on July 1, 2020, a new law went into effect that exempts holistic health and wellness professionals from this act. Non-licensed practitioners still may not call themselves nutritionists, but may use the word nutrition to describe their services. Also, if a client is under medical care from a doctor for a diagnosed condition or disease, and that doctor has prescribed nutrition intervention as the treatment, a non-licensed nutritionist may not work with that client. Non-licensed nutritionists are permitted to work with clients with obesity and weight loss, as this condition has been exempted from the Act.
If this sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone. Let’s delve further into the ins and outs of becoming a licensed or non-licensed nutritionist in the state of Florida.
Criteria You Must Fulfill to Become a Licensed Nutritionist in Florida
The Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council is supervised by Florida’s Board of Medicine and sets requirements that you must fulfill in order to become a licensed nutritionist in the state. If you want to work as a licensed nutritionist in Florida, you must become a Registered Dietitian through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). The details of this process are explained in another article here: (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Florida).
Florida’s Dietetics Practice and Nutrition Act states that you must fulfill these requirements to become a licensed nutritionist:
- Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics, or food management
- Complete a supervised experience of at least 900 hours in duration
After completing the above requirements, you must pass the CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians (link to page) before you can become licensed to practice as a nutritionist in Florida.
So, going through the CDR and becoming a registered dietitian is the most popular way to become a licensed nutritionist in Florida. The law does state two other options, however:
- If you are already a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) by the Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists, you will be eligible for licensure as a dietitian nutritionist in Florida. This means you hold at least a master’s degree, have completed at least 1000 hours of supervised practice, and passed an examination.
- If you are already a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, you will be eligible for licensure as a dietitian nutritionist in Florida. This means that you have completed a 300-hour program approved by the ACBN and have passed an examination.
Getting a Nutritionist License in Florida
After completing the above requirements, you are ready to apply for nutritionist licensure in Florida. You may apply online or by mail. The fee is $165, and if you choose to apply by mail, the application and required supporting documents must be mailed to:
Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council
P.O. Box 6330
Tallahassee, FL, 32314-6330
Contact the Council at [email protected] with any questions.
Your nutritionist license in Florida must be renewed every other year. You must complete 30 hours of continuing education during each licensing period, and pay the renewal fee of $80. This can be done online.
Becoming a Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Florida
If you wish to become a non-licensed nutritionist in Florida, the first thing to remember is that you cannot call yourself a nutritionist. That title is reserved for those who fulfill the licensure criteria and obtain a nutritionist license in Florida.
There is now room, however, for non-licensed nutritionists to work in Florida. Under a new law, non-licensed or holistic health practitioners may provide nutrition services that fall within certain guidelines. Those without a nutritionist license in Florida may work in the following capacities, under the new law:
- If you are employed as a dietitian by the U.S. federal government, you do not need a license
- If you are employed as a cooperative extension home economist, you do not need a license
- If you market or distribute food, food materials, or dietary supplements, or if you tell others about their usage, preparation and benefits, as long as you don’t get paid for “dietetics,” “nutrition practice” or “nutrition counseling,” you do not need a license
- If you are an employed educator, you do not need a license
- If you provide weight control services, under the supervision of a registered dietitian, you do not need a license
- If you are employed by a hospital, nursing home, assisted living, or continuing care facility, you do not need a license
- If you are employed as a dietetic technician, you do not need a license
Remember, if you do decide to work as an unlicensed holistic health practitioner in Florida, you may not work with any client who is under medical care from a doctor for a diagnosed condition or disease, if that doctor has prescribed nutrition intervention as the treatment.
Now that we know what non-licensed nutritionists in Florida can and cannot do, what education, experience, or certification do you need? Since there is no license for a non-licensed practitioner, you need to fulfill no real requirements. It is recommended, however, that you get a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field, so that you can have a better knowledge of nutrition. You might also want to obtain a certification, as this tells others that you work at the highest standards and have specialized knowledge.
Some examples of certifications that are available for non-licensed nutritionists in Florida include, but are not limited to:
- Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN)– this certification is through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, and requires that you complete an education in holistic nutrition and are a member of NANP
- Certified Nutrition Professional (CNP)- this certification is through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, and requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field, pass a BCHN exam, and are a member of NANP
- Nutrition Consultant Certificate – this certification is offered through Bauman College, Florida, and consists of a 15-month online program
- AFPA Holistic Nutritionist Certification – this certification is offered through AFPA, and is obtainable by completing online studies and passing a certification exam
Jobs for Licensed and Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Florida
There are options available for licensed and non-licensed nutritionists to work in Florida. Generally, you will notice that the jobs requiring a nutritionist license offer higher salaries than those for non-licensed nutritionists. Just remember, when you are job searching, non-licensed nutritionists may not be called nutritionists. Look for words like “coach,” “practitioner,” and “nutrition professional.” Recent examples of nutrition-related job openings in Florida include:
- Nutrition Educator – the State of Florida, Dade City, FL
- Salary: $32,896/year
- Requires bachelor’s degree
- One to three years of experience preferred
- NO LICENSE REQUIRED
- Nutrition Manager- Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Miami, FL
- Salary: $54,518/year
- Requires registered dietitian nutritionist credentials
- LICENSE REQUIRED
- Wellness Coach- WW International, Hunter’s Creek, FL
- Salary: $25,700 to $32,500/year
- No degree required
- NO LICENSE REQUIRED
- Food Service Administrator – Poinciana Christian Preparatory School, Kissimmee, FL
- Salary: $40,000 to $45,000/year
- Bachelor’s degree preferred
- Three years of experience preferred
- NO LICENSE REQUIRED
- Community Health Educator- Seminole Tribe of Florida, Moore Haven, FL
- Salary: $49,000 to $60,000/year
- Bachelor’s degree required
- One year of health education experience required
- NO LICENSE REQUIRED