Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Kentucky

At first glance, Kentucky’sKentucky certification laws for nutritionists may seem restrictive. However, when you delve into the laws a bit, you will discover that, while dietitians and nutritionists have licensing/certification requirements, there are no certification or licensure requirements for providing nutrition care. This means that holistic nutritionists are free to work without a license in the state of Kentucky. 

If you want to work as a certified nutritionist in the state of Kentucky, however, you must follow state requirements. In this article, we will explore how you can become a licensed or a non-licensed nutritionist in Kentucky.

Education and Experience Mandates for Kentucky Certified Nutritionists 

Kentucky Revised Statutes KRS Chapter 310 delineates the requirements that you must meet if you wish to become a certified nutritionist.  There are two ways to fulfill these requirements:

  1. You have graduated from a bachelor’s degree program that is approved by the Kentucky Board of Licensure and Certification for Dietitians and Nutritionists;


You have graduated from a master’s degree program that is approved by the Kentucky Board of Licensure and Certification for Dietitians and Nutritionists, with a major in food science, nutrition, or a closely related area, and have at least 12 semester hours of graduate credit in human nutrition;


  1. You have completed the requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the American Dietetic Association to become a Registered Dietitian, and have achieved licensure status in Kentucky

Completing the requirements of the CDR and becoming a registered dietitian will help you to become a certified nutritionist in Kentucky as well. The process of licensure for dietitians in Kentucky is further explained in this article (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Kentucky).

The other alternative is to have a master’s degree or higher in food science or nutrition, with at least 12 graduate credit hours in human nutrition.

Applying for Certification as a Nutritionist in Kentucky

If you have completed the CDR’s requirements, you will have already taken their Registration Examination for Dietitians (link to exam article). Once you have attained Registered Dietitian status, use the Application for Licensure/Certification and check the box for Dual Licensure/Certification. Complete the application and submit it with a $50 fee to Kentucky Board of Licensure and Certification for Dietitians and Nutritionists, P.O. Box 1360, Frankfort, KY 40601. 

If you have a master’s degree or higher in nutrition or a related field, you must still use the Application for Licensure/Certification and check the Certified Nutritionist only box. Complete the application and submit it with $50 to the address listed above. Make sure to include all requested supplemental documentation, such as transcripts, copies of registration cards, etc.

Your license must be renewed every year on Oct. 31. Complete 15 hours of continuing education during each licensure period to maintain your license.

What Can You Do as a Certified Nutritionist in Kentucky?

Under Kentucky law, certified nutritionists are subject to the standards of professional responsibility and practice adopted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). These include being food and nutrition experts who are able to translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for individuals and groups to improve healthy living. They use their expertise to help clients make changes in their lifestyles.  Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) may work in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to:  medical centers, schools, public health clinics, long term care facilities, fitness centers and gyms, food management companies, food industry, universities, research and private practice. 

What Can You Do as a Non-Certified Nutritionist in Kentucky?

If you choose not to become certified as a nutritionist in Kentucky, you might wonder, what can you legally do? There is a stipulation in Kentucky’s statutes that says anyone who owns a health food store or manufactures, distributes, or sells health foods, dietary supplements or vitamins does not need to be certified as a nutritionist or licensed as a dietitian. You may not use the terms dietitian, nutritionist, licensed dietitian or certified nutritionist, however. There are no certification requirements for providing nutrition care. 

Because you are not certified, you need not fulfill any educational requirements in order to work as a non-certified nutritionist in Kentucky. It is generally recommended that you obtain some type of schooling in nutrition, however. Some examples of degrees or certificates available in nutrition in Kentucky include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Food Science – University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Nutrition for Human Performance – University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner from the Nutritional Therapy Institute – online
  • Diploma in Holistic Nutrition – Edison Institute of Nutrition, online

Working as a Kentucky Non-Certified Nutritionist

Are there jobs available for non-certified nutritionists in Kentucky? Let’s take a closer look at some of the jobs posted as being open in Kentucky for nutritionists who are not certified, as of August 2022:

  • Nutrition Education Extension Assistant – Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
  • Nutrition Assessor – Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency, Louisville, KY
    • Salary: $18 to $19.54 per hour
    • Requires: bachelor’s degree preferred
    • Requires: one year of experience in nutrition, healthcare or related field
  • Nutrition Services Educator – Louisville Metro Government, Louisville, KY
  • Retail Health and Wellness Coach – Jenny Craig, Louisville, KY
    • Salary: $16 per hour
    • Requires: high school diploma
    • Requires: experience in customer service, coaching, sales or related field
  • School Nutrition Manager Districtwide – Floyd County Schools, Eastern, KY
    • Salary: $32,700 to $41,300 per year
    • Requires: high school diploma
    • Requires: experience in food service industry preferred