Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in New Mexico

Although New Mexico requires aNew Mexico license for licensed nutritionists to work, it also has a provision for non-licensed nutritionists to practice. Called the Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act, this law provides exemptions for non-licensed nutritionists, alternative and complementary health care practitioners to practice in New Mexico. So, you have a choice if you want to be a nutritionist in New Mexico – follow their procedures to become a licensed nutritionist, or work as a non-licensed nutritionist. We will explore both options here. 

Becoming a Licensed Nutritionist in New Mexico

The State of New Mexico Board of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Act specifies, very clearly, what you must do in order to become a licensed nutritionist

Education for Licensed Nutritionists in New Mexico

If you want to obtain a nutritionist license in New Mexico, you must have a graduate degree in a field such as:

  • Public health nutrition
  • Foods and nutrition
  • Nutrition education
  • Human nutrition

Alternatively, in lieu of having one of the above-mentioned degrees, if you are a member of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (ACBN) or the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the Board will consider the education requirement fulfilled.  

Examination for Licensed Nutritionists in New Mexico

New Mexico’s law also states that you must pass an entry-level nutrition practice and nutrition care services examination which has been received Board approval. Part 5 of the Act spells out which examinations the Board will accept. For nutritionists, the only examination approved for licensure is the Registered Dietitian Examination of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information about this examination and the process of taking it, please see Becoming a Registered Dietitian in New Mexico

Things That Could Prevent You from Becoming a Licensed Nutritionist in New Mexico 

The Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Act also names some things that could prevent you from being able to become a licensed nutritionist in New Mexico. They include:

  • Having been declared mentally incompetent by an authority
  • Being convicted of one of the following crimes:
    • Homicide or manslaughter
    • Manufacturing, trafficking, or distributing controlled substance, 
    • Driving while under the influence of drugs or intoxicating liquor        
    • Kidnapping, false imprisonment, simple assault, simple battery, aggravated assault or aggravated battery or domestic violence offenses
    • Rape, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact, incest, indecent exposure, or other related felony sexual offenses
    • Crimes involving adult/elder abuse, neglect, endangerment or financial exploitation
    • Crimes involving child abuse or neglect, child endangerment  
    • Crimes involving robbery, larceny, extortion, burglary, tampering with evidence or receiving stolen property
    • Crimes involving fraud (including but not limited to insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription), forgery, embezzlement, credit card fraud or misappropriation of funds 
    • Committing any other offense which, if committed in New Mexico, would be considered a felony under federal or state law
  • The Board notes in the law that it may not disclose any of the following when you are applying for a license:
    • Any arrest not followed by a valid conviction
    • Any conviction that has been sealed, expunged or dismissed
    • A juvenile adjudication
    • A conviction for any crime except the felonies listed above

Getting a Nutritionist License in New Mexico

If you have met all of the above requirements, you are ready to apply for nutritionist licensure in New Mexico. Complete the Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Board Licensure Application. Along with your completed application, you must submit official transcripts of your graduate degree in nutrition (these should be mailed straight from your school to the Board) or proof of your membership in the ACBN or ASN. You must also submit an application fee of $50. Mail everything to:

New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department

Boards and Commissions Division

Nutrition and Dietetic Practice Board

Toney Anaya Building

2550 Cerrillos Road

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Once the Board has reviewed your application, it will notify CDR that you are eligible to take the next Registration Examination for Dietitians and you will receive information on that from CDR. You will also be asked to pay a licensure fee of $150 at that time.

Your nutritionist license must be renewed annually. You must complete a minimum of 15 clock hours of continuing education each renewal period, or meet the CDR’s requirements for RD continuing education.

If you have any questions about the licensure process, contact the Board at (505) 476-4622 or .

Becoming a Non-Licensed Nutritionist in New Mexico

Passed in 2009, the Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act allows for non-licensed nutritionists to practice in New Mexico. A complementary or alternative health care practitioner who is not licensed may practice under this law. It includes the following complementary and alternative healing methods and treatments:

  • Anthroposphy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Culturally traditional healing practices
  • Detoxification practices and therapies
  • Energetic healing
  • Folk practices
  • Gerson and colostrum therapy
  • Healing practices using food, dietary supplements, nutrients and the physical forces of heat, water, cold, light and touch
  • Healing touch
  • Herbology
  • Homeopathy
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body healing practices
  • Naturopathy
  • Nondiagnostic iridology
  • Noninvasive instrumentalities
  • Polarity therapy
  • Holistic kinesiology and other muscle testing techniques

If you are planning to work as a non-licensed nutritionist in New Mexico, you must disclose an informational document to your patient stating the following before any treatment:

  • Your name, title, business address and telephone number
  • A statement that you are not a health care practitioner licensed in New Mexico
  • A statement that the treatment you will provide is complementary or alternative to health care services provided by licensed practitioners
  • The nature and expected results of your treatment/services that you will provide
  • Your degrees, education, training, experience and other qualifications
  • Your fees and method of billing
  • A notice that the patient has the right to complete, current information concerning your assessment and recommended services that are to be provided, including duration of the services and the patient’s right to receive written records
  • A statement that the patient’s records are confidential and may not be released unless authorized in writing by the patient
  • A statement that the patient has a right to coordinated transfer if a change in non-licensed nutritionist occurs
  • The name, address and telephone number of a department where a patient may file complaints

Additionally, you must obtain a written acknowledgement from the patient stating that the patient has received the above information in writing. This acknowledgement is valid for three years. 

You will need some type of education and training if you want to work as a non-licensed nutritionist in New Mexico, but what you decide upon is completely up to you. You could choose a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at New Mexico State University, an Associate of Science in Nutrition at Central New Mexico Community College, or something else. As long as your degree or certificate is related to nutrition, or you study and obtain a certification as a nutritionist online, you will have some training and education to list in the statement you give to your patients.

The following are some resources designed specifically with complementary and alternative health care practitioners in mind, that might help you to plan your education, training and/or certification pathway:

Jobs for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in New Mexico

Jobs for licensed nutritionists and registered dietitians are easy to find in New Mexico. What about jobs for unlicensed nutritionists? They might be a bit tricker to find, but these jobs for nutritionists that do not require a license were posted as of September 2022:

  • WIC Nutritionist – State of New Mexico, Alamogordo, NM
    • Salary: $49,668 to $79,479 annually
    • Bachelor’s degree necessary
    • Two years of experience necessary
    • Driver’s license necessary
  • Coordinator, Food Service – Central Consolidated School District, Shiprock, NM
    • Salary: $94,000 to $103,000 annually
    • Bachelor’s degree preferred
    • One year of food service management experience necessary
    • Level III School Nutrition Association certification preferred
    • Driver’s license preferred
  • Nutrition Educator – New Mexico State University, Albuquerque, NM
    • Salary: $15 hourly
    • High school diploma or GED necessary
    • Two years of related experience necessary
  • Health and Wellness Coach – New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
    • Salary: $45,510 annually
    • Bachelor’s degree necessary, master’s degree preferred
    • One year of experience working in a college/university setting necessary
  • Nutritionist, A- First Choice Community Health Care Inc., Albuquerque, NM
    • Salary: $52,700 to $66,700 annually
    • Bachelor’s degree necessary
    • Bilingual (Spanish) preferred