Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Hawaii

Obesity is on the rise in Hawaii, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As of 2020, over half (56.4 percent) of Hawaiian adults were classified as overweight, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater. Additionally, 22.7 percent of adult Hawaiians were classified as obsess, having a BMI of 30 or greater. Only 32.9 percent of Hawaii’s adults eat the recommended levels of fruit at two or more times per day, and only 26.8 percent of adult Hawaiians eat vegetables at the recommended three or more times per day. 

The numbers are slightly better for Hawaii’s adolescents, with 14 percent classified as overweight and 14.5 percent categorized as obese. These numbers in general, however, are quite startling, especially to medical professionals who are working to keep Hawaiians healthy and well. Nutritionists can play an important part in the health and wellness of Hawaiians, as they can advise people on what they should eat to stay well and prevent disease. Here, we will take a closer look at the process of becoming a nutritionist in Hawaii. 

What Can Non-Licensed Nutritionists Legally Do in Hawaii?

Hawaii is a Title Protection State. This means that, although Hawaii does not require nutritionists to be licensed in order to provide nutritional services, the titles “licensed dietitian” and “L.D.” are protected and may only be used by licensed registered dietitians.  Effectively, this means that there is no such thing as a “licensed nutritionist” in Hawaii, unless you are referring to a licensed dietitian nutritionist. (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii).

If you are a licensed medical professional such as a doctor, dentist, osteopath, nurse, pharmacist or chiropractor, you may practice dietetics as long as you not refer to yourself as a dietitian. 

You may offer general weight control programs as a non-licensed nutritionist, as long as that program is supervised by a licensed registered dietitian.

As a non-licensed nutritionist, you may also market or distribute food and dietary supplements, and provide information to customers about them. You cannot, however, provide any written or oral explanation of a food or dietary supplement’s historical usage, potential benefits, or how to prepare these products unless the information you are providing is absolutely true. 

How Can I Become a Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Hawaii?

Because there is no licensing process nor regulations for nutritionists in Hawaii, your path to becoming a nutritionist is completely up to you. It will largely depend upon your interests in the field and what you want to do as a non-licensed nutritionist. We will examine some examples of specializations that non-licensed nutritionists may pursue in Hawaii.

Holistic Nutritionist

A holistic nutritionist provides one-on-one coaching to clients who want to make changes to their lifestyle and diet, in order to better their overall health and help to prevent disease. Holistic nutritionists consider the entire person, as well as their environment, and not just the person’s diet- they look at their work, stress, sleep, and personal life as well. If you want to become a holistic nutritionist in Hawaii, the first step is to get education. A certificate or college degree is always preferable, and you can pursue associate and bachelor’s degrees both in-person and online. Examples include:

  • Holistic Nutrition Specialist certificate – Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, online program of 200 hours
  • Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Functional Medicine, Alternative Medicine certificates and diploma – International Institute of Integrative Medical Solutions (based in Hawaii, online programs offered)
  • Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition – University of Hawaii at Manoa, with options in Food Science and Sports and Wellness
  • Associate of Science in Integrative Nutrition – Huntington University of Health Sciences, online program

Once you have completed education in holistic nutrition, voluntary certification is available from a variety of organizations. One of these certifications might help you to land a holistic nutritionist job in Hawaii:

  • National Association of Nutrition Professionals – Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) and Certified Nutrition Professional (CNP) credentials available
  • AFPA- Holistic Nutritionist Certification 

Weight Management Nutritionist

One of the most popular fields for non-licensed nutritionists to work in in Hawaii is weight management. Again, no specific education is necessary to work in this field, but having a general nutrition background, certificate or degree can be helpful. Examples include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science – from Arizona State University, online program
  • Bachelor of Science in Nutrition – Purdue University Global, online program

There are also optional professional certifications you can pursue if you want to work in weight management. These are not necessary to work in the field, but can help you to land a job in Hawaii as a weight management nutritionist. Some of them include:

  • ISSA Weight Management Specialist – International Sports Sciences Association
  • NASM Weight Loss Specialist – National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • ACE Weight Management Specialist – American Council on Exercise

If you want to work in other fields, such as diabetes management or eating disorders, you will need to get a registered dietitian credential then become a licensed dietitian in Hawaii

Are There Jobs Available for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Hawaii

There are jobs for non-licensed nutritionists in Hawaii, if you know where to look. Remember, you will not qualify for any jobs that ask for dietitians or licenses. However, the following recent job openings would be perfect for a non-licensed nutritionist in Hawaii:

  • Program Specialist, Hawaii Child Nutrition Program, Hawaii State Department of Education – Oahu Island, HI
    • Salary: $4252 to $4879/month
    • Must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or health related field
    • Must have a year and a half of related professional experience 
  • Coordinator of Health Education, Kaiser Permanente – Kailua, HI
    • Salary not specified
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a health-related field
    • Must have two years of program development experience
  • Dietitian Aide, Food and Nutrition, Hawaii Pacific Health – Aiea, HI
    • Salary: $29,300 to $37,100/year
    • Must have a high school diploma
    • Six months to one year of education or experience in nutrition preferred
  • Food Service Coordinator, United States Veterans Institute – Kapolei, HI
    • Salary: $44,468 to $50,130/year
    • Must have a high school diploma
    • Must have three years of culinary/nutrition experience