Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Massachusetts

As of 2019, over half ofMassachusetts Massachusetts’ adults and one in four adolescents are classified as overweight or obese, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Moreover, the percentage of Massachusetts’ adults with diabetes increased by 28 percent from 2000 to 2010. 

If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in promoting health and wellness through nutrition and food, you might consider becoming a nutritionist. The state licenses dietitian-nutritionists. However, there is no license mandate for practitioners who provide nutrition care, so non-licensed nutritionists are free to practice as well. Here, we will examine how you can become a nutritionist in Massachusetts. 

Massachusetts Licensed Nutritionists Requirements

Massachusetts protects the title “licensed dietitian-nutritionist,” and only those meet the requirements for licensure and are licensed may legally use that title. If you want to become a licensed dietitian-nutritionist in Massachusetts, you must: 

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be of good moral character
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in dietetics, nutrition, human nutrition, nutrition education, or public health nutrition, OR
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any field with courses in the following areas:
    • 9 semester hours in biological science (must include anatomy/physiology and microbiology)
    • 6 semester hours in chemistry (must include biochemistry)
    • 3 semester hours in behavioral sciences (such as sociology, psychology, cultural anthropology, educational psychology, counseling)
    • 24 semester hours in foods and nutrition, including three semester hours in each of the following areas:
      • Diet therapy, clinical nutrition or medical dietetics
      • Nutrition through the life cycle, advanced human nutrition, applied human nutrition
      • Foods, food science, food composition, food service management, menu planning, AND
  • Complete a clinical internship lasting a minimum of 900 hours in dietetics and nutrition, under the supervision of a licensed dietitian-nutritionist, OR
  • Complete comparable paid professional experience in dietetics and nutrition of at least 32 hours a week that meets these criteria:
    • Three years of post-baccalaureate, paid professional experience in dietetics and nutrition, OR
    • Two years of post-master’s degree paid professional experience in dietetics and nutrition, OR
    • One year of post-doctorate paid professional experience in dietetics and nutrition
  • Pass a written examination approved by the Board (usually the Registration Examination for Dietitians of the Commission on Dietetic Registration, or the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists exam)

Once you have met the above requirements, you may apply for dietitian-nutritionist licensure in Massachusetts. Applications are accepted online only. You must pay the required fee and upload the following information along with your application:

  • Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) acknowledgement form
  • Copy of your CDR card, if you are a Registered Dietitian
  • Copy of a work experience form, signed by your supervisor
  • Copy of your resume if you are not a Registered Dietitian

Have the following information mailed to the Board:

  • Transcript of your highest dietetics/nutrition degree, sealed and from your University registrar
  • Verification and certification of all licenses you have ever held
  • If you have passed the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists exam, a letter confirming this from BCNS

Mail them to:

Board of Dietitians and Nutritionists

1000 Washington Street, Suite 710

Boston, MA 02118

If you have any questions regarding the licensure process, contact the Board at (617) 701-8670 or

How to Obtain Certification to Become a Licensed Nutritionist in Massachusetts

If you want to work as a licensed dietitian-nutritionist in Massachusetts, you must either become a Registered Dietitian through the CDR (see our page on Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Massachusetts for information on this process – link to page), or obtain credentials as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) through the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS). In order to do so, you need a minimum of a master’s degree in nutrition, and you must log at least 1000 hours’ supervised practice experience in nutrition. You must also apply for, pay a $200 fee, and pass the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists exam.

Massachusetts Non-Licensed Nutritionists 

Massachusetts has no licensure requirement for providing nutrition care. You may not refer to yourself as a licensed dietitian-nutritionist if you opt not to seek a license. Non-licensed nutritionists in Massachusetts, such as holistic nutritionists, may work within their scope of practice. This includes holistic nutritionists, weight loss nutritionists, and any nutritionist job that does not contain the words “dietitian” or “licensure.” No specific level of education or certification is required for unlicensed nutritionists, although some education in nutrition is recommended. A few examples of position openings for unlicensed nutritionists in Massachusetts, as of August 2022, are:

  • Food and Nutrition Services Director – Longmeadow of Taunton, Taunton, MA
    • Salary: $55,000-$85,000/year
    • Need a minimum of an associate degree in food service management
    • A year of experience in administration preferred
    • A year of experience in clinical nutrition preferred
    • Sanitation course certification required
  • Studio Wellness Coach – WW International, Raynham, MA
    • Salary: $33,700-$42,700/year
    • Group facilitation experience preferred
    • Health and wellness coaching experience preferred
    • Sales or customer service experience preferred
  • Special Nutrition Program Specialist- Department of Education, Malden, MA
    • Salary: $80,639-$109,849/year
    • Need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree
    • Need four years of professional education experience (master’s degree may be substituted for two of those years of experience)
  • Health and Nutrition Services Manager – Action for Boston Community Development, Boston, MA
    • Salary: $27.79/hour
    • Need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition  
    • Need one to three years of nutrition service experience at Head Start, early childhood, or other community health service
    • Prefer bilingual candidates
    • Candidates must have a driver’s license
  • Nutrition Program Assistant Director – Ethos, Jamaica Plain, MA
    • Salary: $60,000/year
    • Need an associate degree
    • Need five years of food service management experience
    • Need two years of supervisory experience
    • Prefer two years of experience with Microsoft Office
    • Prefer candidates who have a driver’s license


(Here is also some information for Registered Dietitians in Massachusetts)