Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in Montana

Montana’s licensing laws forMontana nutritionists and dietitians are quite strict and narrow. The state licenses nutritionists. By law, licensed nutritionists in Montana are really licensed, registered dietitians. Is there any room for non-licensed nutritionists in Montana? You can practice as a non-licensed nutritionist in Montana as long as you stay within strict guidelines. Here, we will take a closer look at licensed and non-licensed nutritionists in Montana. 

What Can Licensed Nutritionists in Montana Legally Do?

Under Montana’s code, title 37 Professions and Occupations, Chapter 25 Nutritionists, Part 3 Licensing, only a licensed nutritionist in Montana may provide these services:

  • Assess nutritional needs of groups and individuals
  • Determine constraints and resources in the practice setting
  • Establish objectives and priorities meeting nutritional needs and consistent with constraints and resources
  • Provide nutritional counseling
  • Shape, use and supervise the operation of systems of nutrition care 
  • Evaluate, alter and maintain appropriate quality standards in nutrition and food services

What Can Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Montana Legally Do?

A non-licensed nutritionist in Montana may not refer to themselves as a nutritionist. Certain services are exempt from licensure requirements under Montana’s code. Persons who are not licensed as nutritionists may perform certain services, under certain conditions:

  • A licensed physician or nurse may engage in nutrition practice when it is incidental to their own practice
  • A non-licensed nutritionist may provide general nutritional information, including literature, on the usage of food, food materials, or dietary supplements and explain their usage in connection with their marketing and distribution, so long as the person does not represent themselves as a nutritionist or dietitian
  • An educator employed by a school or nonprofit agency may engage in nutrition practice when it is within the scope of their own practice
  • A person who provides nutritional health services to hospitals or long-term-care facilities under federal and state regulations, or under contract with an agency of the federal or state government, may engage in nutrition practice as long as they do not call themselves a nutritionist or dietitian

The Council of Holistic Health Educators notes that holistic, non-licensed nutritionists may practice in Montana as long as they do not refer to themselves as nutritionists and only provide general nutritional, wellness and lifestyle information to clients. They must not individualize anything for clients nor attempt to counsel, diagnose or treat any conditions.

What Education Do Licensed Nutritionists in Montana Need?

Licensed nutritionists in Montana are truly licensed dietitians, and must fulfill the requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). As this is a separate occupation in and of itself, we will not go into details here, but please see Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Montana for more information (link). That article will provide you with more information on the educational choices available for prospective licensed nutritionists/dietitians in Montana as well.

Montana’s Board of Medical Examiners regulates licensed nutritionists in the state and says that prospective licensed nutritionists must have a bachelor’s and a graduate degree in dietetics, food and nutrition or public health nutrition. They must also fulfill the CDR’s requirement to sit for, and pass, their Registered Dietitian examination.

In order to become a licensed nutritionist in Montana, you must apply online for licensure once you have met the above requirements. Licenses are renewable every two years. 

What Education do Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Montana Need?

Because they are not regulated, nor may they call themselves nutritionists, non-licensed nutrition practitioners in Montana need no specific amount or type of education. To make it a bit easier to find a job, however, it is important to have some type of education in the field of nutrition. Some of the degree options available in Montana include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, Nutrition Science – Montana State University
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nutrition – Community College of Denver (online)
  • Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition – Montana State University
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Exercise and Nutrition Sciences – Montana State University

What Certifications do Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Montana Need?

Again, because they are not regulated, non-licensed nutrition practitioners in Montana need no specific certification. Professional certification will, however, help you to land a job. Some examples of popular professional certifications for non-licensed nutrition practitioners in Montana include:

  • Montana Food Service Safety and Sanitation Certificate- Available from various vendors statewide, involves completing lessons and passing examination
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC)- The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers this certification, which can be completed online.
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Certification- This certification may also be completed online

What Jobs Can Non-Licensed Nutrition Practitioners Get in Montana?

If you search for job availabilities as of August 2022, there are some opportunities available for educated, non-licensed nutrition professionals in Montana, such as:

  • Nutritional Health Coach – Natural Grocers, Billings
    • Salary: $20-$21/hour
    • Bachelor’s in nutrition or dietetics required
    • Certification preferred
  • Health Educator – State of Montana
    • Salary: $23.69/hour
    • Bachelor’s in nutrition, health science, health education or related field required
    • Two years of health education experience required
  • Food Service Director – St. Labre Indian Catholic School, Ashland
    • Salary: $49,502-$74,252/year
    • Bachelor’s in nutrition or related field required
    • Three to five years of experience in school nutrition programs required
    • Montana Food Service Safety and Sanitation Certificate required
  • Nutrition Educator – RiverStone Health, Billings
    • Salary: $17-$27/hour
    • Associate’s or bachelor’s in nutrition required
    • Valid driver’s license required
  • Food Services Supervisor – St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings
    • Salary: $19.39 – $33.34/hour
    • High school diploma required
    • One year of food service and customer service experience preferred


Here is also some useful information on Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Montana.