Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Idaho

Although Idaho’s law requiresIdaho registered dietitians to be licensed, it contains exemptions that allow anyone to provide nutrition care, as long as they are not attempting to or advertising themselves as being able to diagnose or treat a medical condition. This means that non-licensed nutritionists may exist in the state of Idaho. Licensed nutritionists also exist, but they are the same as licensed, registered dietitians, under Idaho law. 

Legally, Idaho’s non-licensed nutritionists may do just about anything, as long as they are not holding themselves out to be a medical practitioner who is diagnosing and/or treating medical conditions and/or diseases. In fact, §54-3503 of Idaho’s statutes states that anyone, regardless of their title, may give advice, guidance, or counsel regarding therapeutic nutrition care, nutrition therapy counseling, medical nutrition service, nutritional assessments, weight control services, or provide nutrition information in the marketing and distribution of a dietary supplement, food product, or wellness or exercise program. Furthermore, in Idaho, unlike many other states, you may use the words “diet” and “nutrition” to describe your employment as a non-licensed nutritionist. You may not, however, call yourself a dietitian, licensed dietitian, registered dietitian, or registered dietitian nutritionist, as those titles are protected and designated only for persons who have met the state’s licensure requirements. Also see, Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Idaho.

Let’s delve into the ins and outs of becoming a non-licensed nutritionist in Idaho.

Nutritionist Education in Idaho

Nutritionists need not fulfill any educational or experiential mandates in Idaho, as there are no licensing process, laws or regulations for their profession. It is smart, however, to obtain some nutrition education in Idaho if you intend to become a non-licensed nutritionist, so that you will know what you are doing. You can study online and earn certificates or diplomas, or study online or in-person and earn degrees. Some examples of nutrition-related education in Idaho that would be appropriate for non-licensed nutritionists include:

  • Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health – North Idaho College, Post Falls, ID
  • Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP) certification– Functional Nutrition Alliance, 14- month online program (includes Full Body Systems education)
  • Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition – University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences – University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • Bachelor of Science in Dietetics – Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
  • Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine – University of Western States, online program (Doctor of Clinical Nutrition and Graduate Certificate also available)

This is just a general idea of educational programs for would-be nutritionists that are available in Idaho. Your choice of educational program largely depends upon what you want to do as a non-licensed nutritionist.

Nutritionist Certification in Idaho

If you want to become a non-licensed nutritionist in Idaho, you might wonder if you need to become professionally certified? Again, like education, it is recommended to have some certification, but not required. Any certification you choose will be based upon your prior educational background as well as what you want to do as a non-licensed nutritionist in Idaho. Some examples of certifications that nutritionists in Idaho have include:

CNP- Certified Nutritional Practitioner of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. To earn this credential, you must graduate from IHN’s Applied Holistic Nutrition program and qualify to become a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). 

FNTP – Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner of the Nutritional Therapy Association. To earn this credential, you must complete 325 hours of classes and 65 hours of hands-on training, as well as pass written and practical examinations.

CHN – Certified Holistic Nutritionist of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). To obtain this credential, you must complete a 500 hour practicum in holistic nutrition, or have a nutrition degree, diploma or certification approved by NANP.

CHES- Certified Health Education Specialist of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). In order to obtain this credential, you must have a bachelor’s degree and have taken courses in process, content and general education.

ServSafe Food Handler of the National Restaurant Association. This credential is commonly needed by those who work in food preparation and serving (i.e., school cafeterias). You must take a class and pass a certification examination in order to obtain this credential.

Employment Opportunities for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Idaho

If you search, you will find plenty of employment opportunities for nutritionists who are not licensed in Idaho. A recent search using the word “nutrition” came up with the following job openings:

  • Sustainability and Nutrition Representative – Full Circle, Eagle, ID
    • Salary: $31,852 to $88,283 per year
    • Must have a high school diploma
    • Experience in nutrition is preferred 
  • Nutrition Service Manager – Gem Prep. Nampa, Meridian, ID
    • Salary: $20.22 per hour
    • Must have a high school diploma
    • Must have two years of foodservice management experience
    • Child nutrition service experience preferred 
    • Must have or obtain ServSafe Food Handler certification
  • Nutrition Technician – Kootenai Health, Coeur d’Alene, ID
    • Salary: $15 to $21 per hour
    • Must have a high school diploma
    • Training or experience in nutrition and dietetics preferred
  • Community Nutrition Advisor – University of Idaho, Pocatello, ID
  • Nutritional Health Coach – Natural Grocers, McCall, ID
    • Salary: $21 per hour
    • Must have a degree in nutrition or a related field