Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Minnesota

In 2019, Trust for America’sMinnesota Health reported that the adult obesity rate in Minnesota had increased to 30.1 percent, up from 28.4 percent in 2018. While Minnesota still ranks fairly low (30th out of 50 states and DC) in adult obesity among all states, the fact that the obesity rate is rising is concerning to health care professionals. Obesity is an urgent health care problem that needs to be addressed on the national and state levels. 

Nutritionists are one group of health care professionals who can assist Minnesotans in choosing wisely, when it comes to foods, and making lifestyle changes in order to lose and manage weight. Minnesota is a unique state for nutritionists in which to work. While the state does require nutritionists to be licensed, they have a separate law dealing with complementary and alternative health care practices that allows non-licensed nutritionists to legally practice. We will examine the requirements for both non-licensed and licensed nutritionists in Minnesota here.

Licensed Nutritionists in Minnesota

In Minnesota, you may not use the term “nutritionist” or “licensed nutritionist” unless you do, indeed, hold a license from the state’s Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice. If you intend to become a Registered Dietitian in Minnesota instead, see this article.  (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Minnesota). 

Under Minnesota law, you must complete one of the following pathways in order to become a licensed nutritionist: 

Pathway 1:

  • You need a postgraduate degree with a major in one of these areas:
    • Human nutrition
    • Public health nutrition
    • Clinical nutrition
    • Nutrition education
    • Community nutrition
    • Food and nutrition


  • You need to have completed at least 900 hours of supervised nutrition practice under a state-licensed nutrition professional’s direction;


Pathway 2:

  • You must be a diplomate who is nationally registered with the American Board of Nutrition


Pathway 3:

  • You may petition the Board for independent review of your credentials, so long as you have:
    • A master’s or doctoral degree with a major in human nutrition 


  • Documented evidence that you have completed at least 900 hours of supervised practice experience

Becoming a Licensed Nutritionist in Minnesota

If you meet any of the above pathway requirements, you may apply for nutritionist licensure in Minnesota. This must be done online. Use the Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice’s online services system and create an account. You will be told what information to upload or mail to them, and instructed to pay a total of $358.25, consisting of the following fees:

  • Nutritionist application fee: $175
  • Initial nutritionist license fee: $150
  • Criminal background check fee: $33.25

Once licensed as a nutritionist in Minnesota, your license is renewable annually, at a cost of $75. You also must report continuing education that you have completed every three years. The amount of continuing education units (CEUs) you must accumulate is pro-rated, based upon your licensure date, and may range from 0 to 45 CEUs.

What Constitutes Nutrition Care Services in Minnesota?

After becoming a licensed nutritionist in Minnesota, you may use the titles “nutritionist” or “licensed nutritionist” and provide nutrition care services. Under the law, this means that you may:

  • Assess nutritional needs of individuals or groups
  • Establish goals, priorities, and objectives to meet nutritional needs
  • Provide nutritional counseling for normal and therapeutic needs
  • Develop, implement, and manage nutrition care services
  • Evaluate, adjust, and maintain appropriate standards of quality in nutrition care

Working as a Nutritionist Without a License in Minnesota: What Can I Do?

Non-licensed nutritionists do have some protection under Minnesota’s dietetics law. As mentioned above, they may not call themselves a nutritionist, and may not advertise themselves doing any of the nutrition care services listed above. They may, however:

  • Provide a program for weight control, as long as it is reviewed by a licensed or registered dietitian
  • Be employed by one of the following programs/agencies and provide information and services related to nonmedical nutrition:
    • Elementary or secondary school
    • Federal, state, county or municipal agency
    • Nonprofit agency
    • Regionally accredited higher education institution
    • A medicine practice such as chiropractic, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology, optometry, or nursing
  • Provide nutrition care services to animals and call yourself an “animal nutritionist,” so long as you are not providing care to humans
  • Provide nutrition care services to family members, as long as you are not being paid for services
  • Practice nutrition under the supervision of a licensed nutritionist or licensed dietitian
  • Practice dietetics if you have a bachelor’s or graduate degree in home economics 
  • Provide nutritional advice based on traditional or cultural practices, if you are recognized in your community as such a provider 
  • Market or distribute food, food materials or dietary supplements and explain how to use them

Under Minnesota statute 146A.01, Subdivision 4, non-licensed nutritionists in Minnesota may practice complementary and alternative health care. This allows for holistic nutritionists and other complementary, alternative nutritionists to practice freely without a license. You may not provide any medical diagnoses or recommend that a client discontinue medically prescribed treatments. You may engage in complementary and alternative health care practices, which include the following related to nutrition:

  • Detoxification practices and therapies
  • Healing practices using food, food supplements, nutrients, and the physical forces of heat, cold, water, touch and light
  • Herbology or herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body healing practices
  • Naturopathy
  • Noninvasive instrumentalities 

Non-Licensed Nutritionist Jobs in Minnesota

If you opt to work as a non-licensed nutritionist in Minnesota, you have many employment avenues available. You could open your own practice, work for a group practice, or check out some of the job opportunities available as of August 2022, such as these:

  • Health Coach – Evergreen Nephrology, Brooklyn Center
    • Salary: $48,000 to $60,800 per year
    • Need experience in a service environment
    • Need good interpersonal communication skills
    • Clinical experience preferred
  • WW Wellness Studio Coach – WW International, Minnetonka
    • Salary: $29,300 to $37,100 per year
    • Need college degree
    • Need experience in retail or customer service
    • Prefer experience in coaching others in health and wellness
    • Prefer experience in facilitating groups
  • Nutrition Services Manager – Saint Paul Public Schools, Saint Paul
    • Salary: $71,513 per year
    • Need bachelor’s degree in food management or related field
    • Need five years’ experience in supervisory and managerial capacity
    • Need to obtain a Food Service Manager’s certificate within three months of hire
  • Certified Health Coach – Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center, Minneapolis
    • Salary: $41,000 to $52,000 per year
    • Need health coach certification
    • Need two years of health coaching experience 
    • Prefer experience in integrative or functional medicine settings