In Georgia, you must have a license in order to legally practice nutrition care. The only professionals authorized to apply for such a license in Georgia are registered dietitians. This means that the idea of a “licensed nutritionist” does not really exist, or, is the same as a licensed, registered dietitian in the state. It is only when they are licensed that nutritionists/dietitians may provide nutrition care services such as assessing the nutrition needs of individuals ang groups, providing counseling on appropriate nutritional intake, and developing, implementing or managing a nutrition care plan.
Does this mean that non-licensed nutritionists have no place in Georgia? The law does make a few exceptions pertaining to non-licensed nutritionists. Nutritionists are allowed to work in some specified areas, as long as they do not advertise themselves as assessing nutritional needs of individuals and groups or doing anything that only a licensed dietitian is permitted to do. We will delve into the ways that nutritionist, both licensed and non-licensed, can work in Georgia within this article.
How Can I Become a Licensed Nutritionist in Georgia?
The Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians is responsible for licensing nutritionists/dietitians. Becoming a Georgia licensed nutritionist involves getting your Registered Dietitian credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This process is examined more closely here (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Georgia).
Their licensure requirements mandate that you complete a program accredited by the CDR, including upper division courses in food and nutrition, human nutrition, dietetics, nutrition, and food systems management. Additionally, you must finish a supervised practice experience lasting a minimum of 900 hours under the supervision of a licensed registered dietitian or state licensed practitioner.
Next, you are required to pass the CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians (link to page) before applying for licensure through the Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians.
In addition to the CDR, there are other ways to fulfill the licensure requirements listed in the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, but they are almost identical to the CDR’s requirements:
- You may complete upper division courses in food and nutrition, human nutrition, dietetics, nutrition, and food systems management determined by the Board to be equal to a CDR-accredited program and earn a degree. The earned degree does NOT need to be in one of those areas.
- You may complete a supervised experience program that was formerly accredited by the CDR and includes six months/900 hours of experience and three years preplanned culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree
How Do I Apply for a Nutritionist License in Georgia?
Once you have passed the CDR examination and/or fulfilled the requirements listed above, you can apply for licensure as a nutritionist/dietitian in Georgia. You must complete the Application for Licensure and enclose a fee of $85 along with other requested supporting documentation, mailed to:
Georgia State Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217
Applications are usually processed in 15 to 20 business days. If anything is missing, you will be notified and will have 60 days to correct the deficiency. Contact the Board at (404) 424-9966 if you have questions about the application process.
Registered dietitian/nutritionist licenses in Georgia expire every two years, on March 31 of even-numbered years. You must renew your license online and pay the $50 renewal fee. You must also complete 30 continuing education clock hours during each renewal period.
What Are Non-Licensed Nutritionists Permitted to Do in Georgia?
Non-licensed nutritionists in Georgia may not advertise themselves as practicing dietetics, or assessing the nutritional needs of individuals or groups. They cannot legally call themselves a nutritionist or dietitian.
The areas that non-licensed nutritionists may work in are:
- Partnership– A non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia may work under the direction of a licensed registered dietitian, naturopath, chiropractor or other licensed professional, as long as they do not call themselves a dietitian
- Graduate degree – A non-licensed nutritionist that has a master’s or doctoral degree in human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, food systems management, or nutrition education, or a doctoral degree in nutritional biochemistry, may work as a nutritionist in Georgia as long as they do not use the title “dietitian” to describe themselves
- Armed forces or federal government – A registered dietitian who already serves in the armed forces or federal government agency and is practicing dietetics needs no license in order to do so in Georgia
- State or local government – A non-licensed nutritionist may work for the Georgia state, county or local government as a dietitian without a license as long as they are supervised by a licensed dietitian
- Fitness and weight control – A non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia may coach healthy individuals who are looking to lose weight or get fit, as long as they are not diagnosing or defining any disease, and are not calling themselves a dietitian. The weight control program for which they work must have been reviewed by a licensed dietitian.
- Marketing and distribution– A non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia may distribute or market food materials, food or dietary supplements, minerals, or herbs, provided that they are not furnishing nutritional information that is deceptive or fraudulent and are not calling themselves a dietitian
- Religion – A non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia may practice nutrition care in practicing the tenets of any religion, sect or denomination as long as they are not calling themselves a dietitian
- Licensed medical professional – If you already have a license as a medical professional in a separate profession, you can engage in the practice of dietetics as long as you are not calling yourself a dietitian (this includes doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, and osteopaths).
What Education Do I Need if I Want to Become a Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Georgia?
If you want to work as a non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia, as you can see, there are ways to do so without saying that you are practicing nutrition care. You might wonder, do I need any specific experience, education, or certification? Because Georgia has no license procedure for non-licensed nutritionists, you need not fulfill specific requirements. You should have education in nutrition or a closely related field, ideally an associate or bachelor’s degree, to further your foundational knowledge in nutrition. There are also certifications that you might wish to pursue, depending upon the area in which you wish to work. Examples of possible certifications for non-licensed nutritionists in Georgia are:
- NASM-CNC- Certified Nutrition Coach–Offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, this certification involves completing online classes and passing a certification examination.
- NPTA Nutrition and Wellness Certification –Offered by the National Personal Training Association, this certification involves completing online coursework and passing a certification exam.
- ISSA Certified Nutritionist – Offered by the International Sports Sciences Association, this certification involves completing online courses and passing a certification exam.
- Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification – Offered by Precision Nutrition, this certification involves completing online coursework, coaching, and passing a certification exam.
Are there Jobs for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Georgia?
If you are a non-licensed nutritionist in Georgia and are searching for jobs, remember not to use the terms “nutritionist” or “dietitian” in your search. Examples of currently open positions (as of July 2022) for those without a nutritionist/dietitian license in Georgia include:
- Wellness Coach – Wellness Coaches, Atlanta, GA
- Salary: $25 to $30 per hour
- Requires bachelor’s degree
- Requires two years of experience in wellness, fitness or athletic training
- LICENSE NOT REQUIRED
- Customer Service Representative, Health and Nutrition – Stafford Communications Group, Atlanta, GA
- No salary specified
- Requires college degree (type not specified)
- Requires three years of customer service experience
- LICENSE NOT REQUIRED
- Health Coach – Virta Health, Atlanta, GA
- Salary: $42,600 to $54,000 per year
- Requires associate or bachelor’s degree in health-related field
- Requires two years of experience in working in nutritional counseling
- LICENSE NOT REQUIRED
- Nutrition Specialist – Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, Moultrie, GA
- Salary: $30,600 to $35,709 per year
- Requires bachelor’s degree in nutrition
- Requires two years of related experience
- LICENSE NOT REQUIRED
- Physical Health & Wellness Screening Specialist- Wounded Warrior Project, Atlanta, GA
- Salary: $44,800 to $67,200 per year
- Requires bachelor’s degree in nutrition, exercise science or related field
- Prefer applicants with experience in supporting wounded service members, planning, and customer relationship management
- LICENSE NOT REQUIRED
- Certification Preferred (ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA)