Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Mississippi

For many years, MississippiMississippi licensed dietitians, but not nutritionists. At that time, only dietitians who had a license could provide medical nutrition therapy and nutrition care. However, after a lawsuit was filed by the Mississippi Justice Institute in 2020, a new amendment to the law was created to give non-licensed nutritionists the authority to practice nutrition in Mississippi.

While it might all seem confusing, it is now possible for both licensed dietitians and non-licensed nutritionists to practice in the state of Mississippi. (To view how to become a licensed dietitian in Mississippi, see this link). As there is no such thing as a licensed nutritionist in Mississippi, we will examine what a non-licensed nutritionist healthcare professional is legally allowed to do, as well as how to become a non-licensed nutritionist in Mississippi, on this page. 

What Non-Licensed Nutritionists May and May Not Do

The Mississippi Department of Health made amendments to Mississippi Code § 73-10-21, and these amendments became effective on May 16, 2022. They now provide exemptions and exceptions that allow non-licensed, holistic nutritionists to practice. If you do not have a license and work as in a nutritionist capacity in Mississippi, you may not:

  • Attempt to diagnose, treat or cure medical conditions in clients
  • Use a protected title such as nutritionist (i.e., you cannot call yourself a nutritionist)

As a non-licensed nutritionist in Mississippi, you may do the following:

  • Provide individualized nutrition recommendations
  • Provide individualized nutrition information
  • Provide individualized guidance, motivation and encouragement
  • Provide individualized health coaching
  • Provide individualized holistic and wellness education
  • Provide individualized behavior change management
  • Provide individualized non-medical weight control services
  • Practice nutrition and dietetics under the supervision of a licensed dietitian nutritionist
  • Practice nonmedical nutrition working as a nutritional educator employed by a federal, state, county or municipal agency
  • Practice nonmedical nutrition working as a nutritional educator employed by programs helping to prevent disease and maintain good nutritional health
  • Practice nonmedical nutrition working as a nutritional educator employed by a chartered elementary or secondary school
  • Practice nonmedical nutrition working as a nutritional educator employed by an accredited, degree-granting educational institution 
  • Practice dietetics if you are licensed in a separate medical profession and do not call yourself a dietitian
  • Market or distribute food, food materials, or dietary supplements, and explain how to use them

Education and Credentials for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Mississippi

Because non-licensed nutritionists are not regulated (aside from the exemptions and exceptions to regulations listed above), you need not get any specific education, training or credentials in order to work as a non-licensed nutritionist in Mississippi. However, education in the field is necessary in order to better understand your practice and serve your clients to the fullest extent of your abilities. 

There are various credentials that you can earn as a non-licensed nutritionist based upon the amount of education you are willing to pursue. We will discuss some of them here.

Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences

If you hold CFCS credentials, you are Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences. This certification is bestowed by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and requires passing an examination and paying a certification fee. You must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify to take the exam. Specific exams are also available for Nutrition and Wellness Educators. 

National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach

Becoming a NBC-HWC (National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach) is one of the highest standards of certification for health and wellness coaches. You must complete a NBHWC-approved training program and pass a certification exam. 

ISSA Nutritionist

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) provides basic and sports nutritionist certifications. Both require completing an online training program and taking a certification exam online. Some nutritionists become dual-certified, as a ISSA Nutritionist and an ISSA Sports Nutritionist, in order to maximize their client base. 

Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition

To be Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN), you must become a professional member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), complete a post-secondary holistic nutrition program that is NANP-approved, complete 500 hours of professional experience, and pass a certification examination.

If you would rather get a college degree or certificate in nutrition before thinking about credentialing, the following options are among some of the many available in Mississippi:

Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition

This degree is available online through the American College of Healthcare Sciences. It also meets the requirements to sit for the BCHN examination, mentioned above. All coursework can be finished from the comfort of your own home. You must have a bachelor’s degree in order to begin this program.

Associate of Science in Applied Nutrition

This degree, available through the Huntington University of Health Sciences, is another program that is 100 percent online. It can be a great way to “dip your toe into the water” of nutrition studies and make sure that it’s the right field for you, before committing to further education or credentialing.

Bachelor of Science in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

Mississippi State University offers a BS in Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion with specializations available in areas such as Culinology, Food Business, Food Science, and Food and Nutrition. There should be many credentialing and job opportunities available for you after graduating with this degree.

Jobs for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Mississippi

As a non-licensed nutritionist in Mississippi, you can work for a variety of employers. Some examples of recent corresponding job openings as of August 2022 include:

  • Food Service Director – Aramark, Canton
    • Salary: not specified
    • Requires a bachelor’s degree
    • Requires four years of experience in the field
    • Requires one to three years of management experience
  • Adjunct Instructor, School of Kinesiology & Nutrition – University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
    • Salary: not specified
    • Requires a bachelor’s degree
    • Requires certification
  • Education-Nutrition Manager – Delta Health Alliance, Inc., Stoneville
    • Salary: $37,300 to $47,300/year
    • Requires an associate’s degree (bachelor’s degree preferred)
    • Requires two years of experience in community-based health or nutrition
  • Health & Wellness Coach, Bilingual – Information & Quality Healthcare, Ridgeland
    • Salary: $37,700 to $47,700/year
    • Requires a bachelor’s degree
    • Requires bilingual ability in Spanish
  • Nutrition Tech I – Forrest Health, Hattiesburg
    • Salary: $30,600 to $38,800/year
    • Requires high school diploma/GED (associate or bachelor’s degree preferred)
    • Requires experience using office equipment