Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Michigan

The Centers for Disease ControlMichigan (CDC) reports that, between 2014 and 2020, the incidence of diabetes increased by 18 percent among Michigan’s adults. On top of that, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation notes that 15.7 percent of Michigan’s youth between the ages of 10 and 17 classify as obese as of 2020. These two factors do not bode well for the future health of residents of the state of Michigan.

Michigan does not oversee the practice of nutritionists at all, meaning that the concept of “licensed” and “non-licensed” nutritionists does not exist. Nutritionists in Michigan are free to practice without fear of reprisal from any agency or board. In this article, we will examine how you can educate yourself, and what type of certification if any, you need, in order to become the best Michigan nutritionist you can be.

Do Michigan Nutritionists Need Professional Certification?

Those who want to become nutritionists in Michigan may choose from a variety of educational and certification choices, based on their interests, wallet, and stamina for schooling. If you have some type of education and certification, it will be much simpler to get a job as a Michigan nutritionist than it would be without it. There are various certifications obtainable without getting a degree, however, and we will examine those first. 

Nutritionist Certifications Available in Michigan with No Degree

The following professional certifications for nutritionists are available without a degree. Most require that you complete online courses and pass an examination, and some also required that you have a bit of experience. 

Certified Nutrition Consultant (CNC) – American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC)

The CNC credential is especially designed for entry-level nutritionists without much experience or knowledge in the field. Offered through the American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC), the CNC requires that you pass an examination with subject matter in the following areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition and common ailments
  • Nutrition in action
  • Orthomolecular nutrition
  • Children’s health
  • Medical chemistry
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Enzyme health
  • Living chemistry
  • Applied nutrition
  • Amino acids

All you need in order to take the exam is a high school diploma or GED. However, it is not recommended to go into the exam “cold,” without any study. The AANC’s website lists textbooks that you can consult for each of the 11 areas above, to help you prepare for the test. The fee for the exam is $400.

Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC)- National Academy of Sports Medicine

This credential is designed for would-be nutritionists who just have a high school diploma or GED. It is provided by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). You must complete online coursework and pass an examination in order to earn this credential. Areas covered are:

  • Nutritional science
  • Behavior change strategies
  • Nutrition coaching

The program costs $899. If you earn the CNC credential, you must retake the exam biennially in order to maintain it. 

Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Weight Management Specialist, Sports Nutritionist – American Fitness Professionals Association

The American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) has introduced diverse nutritionist certifications that can be obtained by completing online studies and passing an assessment. Each has its own cost, which is between $500 and $1000. No prior education beyond a high school diploma or GED is needed in order to undertake the AFPA’s certification programs. 

Nutritionist Certifications Available in Michigan with a Degree

Suppose you already possess a nutrition degree? There are many more certifications, corresponding to higher-paying jobs, that are available to you if that’s the case. Here are just a few of them:

Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) – National Association of Nutrition Professionals 

The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) provides the BCHN credential for nutritionists who plan to work in clinical or community settings but do not want to practice medical nutrition therapy. You must complete a post-secondary holistic nutrition program that is Board-approved, log 500 hours of professional experience, and pass an examination in order to earn this credential. You must be a professional member of the NANP, which costs $249 per year; pay an application fee of $129; and pay an examination fee of $300. 

Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) – Clinical Nutrition Certification Board 

The Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) offers the CCN credential to those who have completed a minimum of a BS in nutrition, have completed online post-graduate clinical nutrition classes, and have passed an examination. Fees were unavailable on the CNCB’s website.

Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) – National Commission for Health Education Credentialing 

TheNational Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) offers its CHES credential to candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and succeed at passing a certification test. The examination costs $225.

Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) – Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists 

The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) of the American Nutrition Association (ANA) offers its CNS credential to candidates who have a MS in nutrition, and have logged at least 1000 hours of nutrition practice. You must also succeed at passing a certification exam. The application fee is $100, and examination fee is $300.

Nutritionist Jobs in Michigan

Although Michigan nutritionists face no licensure requirements, be careful when searching for jobs. Some might require that you have Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentials (link to Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Michigan). A recent look at online classified ads for Michigan found the following jobs posted for nutritionists, as of August 2022:

  • Nutritionist I – Berrien County Health Department, Benton Harbor, MI
    • Salary: $42,503 to $47,807/year
    • Bachelor’s degree required 
    • Driver’s license required
  • Nutritionist – County of Calhoun, Marshall, MI
  • Studio Wellness Coach – WW International, Port Huron, MI
    • Salary: $28,800 to $36,400/year
    • College degree required
    • Group facilitation experience preferred
    • Coaching experience preferred
    • Retail or customer service experience preferred
  • Health Coach – Spectrum Health, Benton Harbor, MI
    • Salary: $57,900 to $73,300/year
    • Associate degree in nutrition or health-related field required
    • Certified health and wellness coach (ICF or NBHWC) required
    • A year of health coaching experience required
  • Nutrition Project Proxy Coordinator – AmeriCorps, MI
    • Salary: not specified
    • High school diploma/GED required
    • Recruitment, communication, public speaking and community organization skills required 


(Also, here is some useful information about Registered Dietitians in Michigan)