Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Missouri

The Missouri Dietetics PracticeMissouri Act requires that dietitians – not nutritionists – must be licensed in order to practice in the state. This law was updated in 2021, however, to allow for unlicensed nutrition practitioners to legally work in Missouri. As of 2022, only dietitians need to be licensed in Missouri, and the idea of a “licensed nutritionist” is the same as a “licensed dietitian nutritionist,” but non-licensed nutritionists may also work there. (Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Missouri). Here, we will discuss what non-licensed nutritionist in Missouri may legally do, and what you must do in order to become an unlicensed nutritionist in Missouri.

Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Missouri Cannot:

Under the Missouri Dietetics Practice Act, non-licensed nutritionists cannot do things that a licensed dietitian can do. They cannot:

  • Cannot practice medical nutrition therapy
  • Cannot use the terms “dietitian,” “dietitian nutritionist,” “licensed dietitian” or “licensed dietitian nutritionist” to describe themselves
  • Cannot imply that they are licensed or certified by the state of Missouri
  • Cannot advertise that they asses the nutritional needs of individuals and groups

Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Missouri Can:

The new exemptions to the law are a bit confusing. However, this is what non-licensed nutrition practitioners in Missouri can legally do:

  • If they are credentialed in the field of nutrition, they may provide advice, counseling or evaluations in matters of food, diet or nutrition to the extent that these acts are within the scope of practice listed by their credentialing body and do not constitute medical nutrition therapy
  • If they are credentialed in the field of nutrition and do perform any of the acts listed above, they must provide the following information to their client prior to performing these acts:
    • Their name and title
    • Their business address and telephone number
    • A statement that they are not a licensed dietitian in Missouri
    • A statement that the information they provide/advice they give is considered to be alternative care by licensed practitioners in the state of Missouri
    • Their qualifications for providing this information/advice, including educational background, training and experience 
  • Non-licensed nutrition practitioners may practice nutritional care as part of a self-care or gratuitous care by a friend or family member
  • Non-licensed nutrition practitioners may provide general nutrition information as to the use of foods, food materials, or dietary supplements, and distribute nutrition literature
  • Non-licensed nutrition practitioners may perform nutritional care if they work in the military or federal facilities or are a licensed health care practitioner, as long as the activities are within their scope of practice

Credentials and Education for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Missouri

Even though the new law in Missouri does allow for unlicensed nutritionists to practice, they may only do so if they are credentialed in the field of nutrition. However, the only field of nutrition the law legally recognizes is that of dietetics, and the only credential recognized is registered dietitian/licensed dietitian. In order to protect themselves, the Council of Holistic Health Educators recommends that all non-licensed nutritionists in Missouri refrain from attempting to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. They should also source any advice, guidance and education that they give to clients from publicly available resources, keep detailed client notes, and avoid using medical terminology.

Education is an important part of becoming a credentialed nutrition practitioner in Missouri. Most of the major credentialing bodies require that you have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, while some of them require a master’s degree. We will discuss some of the most popular credentials for non-licensed nutritionists in Missouri here. 

Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN)

A Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) is credentialed by the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB). In order to receive this credential, you must have a bachelor’s degree, and complete online post-graduate studies approved by the CNCB. (If you already have a Master of Science in Human Clinical Nutrition, you may be exempt from completing post-graduate studies). After completion of the post-graduate studies, you must pass the CCN Examination. It will test your knowledge of:

  • Optimal human nutrition
  • Cognition and sensory overload
  • Detoxification, herbology and homeopathic therapy
  • Laboratory assessment

Once you are credentialed as a CCN, you must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain your credential. For more information on the CCN credential, contact the CNCB at (972) 250-2829 or

An example of a bachelor’s degree program that would help you to qualify for the CCN post-graduate studies is a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology (Nutrition and Foods) at the University of Missouri.

Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS)

A Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) is credentialed by the Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) of the American Nutrition Association (ANA). In order to receive this credential, you must have a master’s degree or higher in nutrition, complete 1000 supervised practice hours, and pass an examination. The exam will test your knowledge of:

  • Fundamental principles of nutrition
  • Nutrients and human health
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Clinical intervention and monitoring
  • Public health
  • Practice management

Once you are credentialed as a CNS, you must recertify your credential every five years. This involves completing 75 continuing education hours during that time period and paying a $200 recertification feel. For more information, contact

An example of a master’s degree program in nutrition in Missouri is the online Master of Science in Nutrition and Human Performance at Logan University. 

Non-Licensed Nutritionist Jobs in Missouri

Non-licensed nutrition practitioners in Missouri can find various types of employment. Some of the jobs for which they might qualify, posted as of August 2022, are:

  • Applied Nutrition – College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout
    • Salary: $59,300-$75,100 per year
    • Master’s degree required, doctorate preferred
    • Teaching and advising experience required
  • Nutrition Specialist – Delta Area Economic Opportunity, Sikeston
    • Salary: $44,700-$56,700 per year
    • Bachelor’s degree required
    • Experience in community nutrition preferred
  • Health Coach Field Care Coordinator – United Healthcare, Rolla
    • Salary: $52,200-$66,200 per year
    • Associate degree with three years of clinical experience required, 
    • OR
    • Five years of relevant experience, including three years of clinical experience required
    • CCM certification preferred
  • Wellness Coach- Kansas City
    • Salary: $50,000-$55,000 per year
    • Bachelor’s degree required
    • Two years of experience in wellness, fitness, or nutrition required
    • One year of coaching experience preferred
  • Nutritional Health Coach- Natural Grocers, Jefferson City