Becoming a Licensed or Non-Licensed Nutritionist in North Dakota

The North Dakota Dietitian andNorth Dakota Nutritionist Act requires nutritionists to meet certain criteria if they wish to be licensed to practice. It does not mean that non-licensed nutritionists cannot practice, however. There are exemptions within Section 43-44-10 of the law that allow unlicensed nutritionists to work in North Dakota. We will examine the ways in which you can train to be a North Dakota licensed nutritionist, as well as what you are permitted to do should you prefer to work as a non-licensed nutritionist, in this article.

Conditions for Licensure of Nutritionists in North Dakota

The North Dakota Dietitian and Nutritionist Act clearly instructs nutritionist licensure candidates in what education, experience and examination criteria they must fulfill. 

Education for Licensed Nutritionist Candidates in North Dakota

For those wishing to work as licensed nutritionists in North Dakota, the law specifies that you must complete the requirements of a master’s or doctorate degree in a major area listed below:

  • Applied clinical nutrition
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Community nutrition
  • Foods and nutrition
  • Human nutrition
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition and functional medicine
  • Nutrition and integrative health
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition science
  • Nutritional biochemistry
  • Public health nutrition

Your education must include:

  • Clinical or life sciences – 15 semester hours (at least 3 semester hours must be in anatomy and physiology, and the rest may be in courses such as):
    • Applied statistics
    • Biology
    • Biostatistics
    • Biotechnology
    • Botany
    • Chemistry
    • Energy production
    • Epidemiology
    • Experimental science
    • Genetics
    • Genomics
    • Hormone and transmitter regulations and imbalance
    • Immunotherapy
    • Molecular biology
    • Molecular pathways
    • Neuroscience
    • Organic chemistry
    • Pathology
    • Pathophysiologic basis of disease
    • Pharmacology
    • Research methods
    • Toxicology
  • Nutrition and metabolism – 15 semester hours (at least 6 semester hours must be in biochemistry, and the remainder may be in courses such as):
    • Clinical functional medicine nutrition
    • Developmental nutrition
    • Human nutrition
    • Macronutrients
    • Micronutrients
    • Molecular metabolism
    • Nutrition
    • Nutrition and digestive health
    • Nutrition assessment
    • Nutritional aspects of disease
    • Nutritional biochemistry
    • Public health nutrition
    • Vitamins and minerals

Experience for Licensed Nutritionist Candidates in North Dakota

North Dakota law also states exactly how much and what type of experience licensed nutritionist candidates must have. The supervised nutrition practice experience must meet these criteria:

  • Must demonstrate competency in nutrition care services and medical nutrition therapy
  • Must be at least 1000 hours in duration, including:
    • 200 hours of nutrition assessment
    • 200 hours of nutrition counseling, intervention, management, or education
    • 200 hours of nutrition evaluation, monitoring
  • Of this work experience, 700 hours must take place in professional work settings and only 300 hours can be in alternate settings such as case studies, simulation, and role playing

Examinations for Licensed Nutritionist Candidates in North Dakota

There are two examinations approved by the North Dakota Board of Dietetic Practice for licensed nutritionist candidates in the state. They are:

Additional Licensure Requirements for Licensed Nutrition Candidates in North Dakota

All applicants for nutritionist licensure in North Dakota must then complete the North Dakota Board of Dietetic Practice Application for Licensure, checking the “Initial License as a Nutritionist” box and enclosing the $75 application fee (via a check payable to North Dakota Board of Dietetic Practice, or you may pay online. Along with the application, you must submit:

  • College transcripts
  • Documentation of your 1000 hours of completed experience
  • Proof of successful completion of exam

Mail the application and supporting documents to: NDBODP, 603 Foster Avenue NW, Cooperstown, ND 58425, or fax to (888) 681-2813.

Once you are licensed, your license is valid for five years, at which time it must be renewed. You mut complete 75 hours’ continuing education over the course of each five-year licensure cycle.

If you have any questions about the licensure process for North Dakota nutritionists, contact Brooke Frederickson, NDBODP Executive Secretary, at [email protected] or (701) 253-0700.

Exemptions Allowing for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in North Dakota

Only licensed nutritionists in North Dakota may use the terms nutritionist, nutrition counselor, nutrition specialist, licensed nutritionist, nutritional therapy practitioner, nutritional therapy consultant, certified nutrition therapy practitioner, or licensed dietitian nutritionist. The following types of practitioners need not be licensed in order to provide nutrition care services in North Dakota:

  • Any licensed health care practitioner working within their scope of practice
  • Any student or trainee working under the supervision of a qualified supervisor
  • Anyone providing support activities related to medical nutrition therapy, working under the supervision of a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist or other licensed health care practitioner
  • Anyone serving in the armed forces who is providing nutrition care services to manage a disease or condition
  • Any foreign practitioner providing nutrition care services if it is within their scope of practice
  • Any educator working for federal, state, county or municipal agency, or elementary or secondary school, or college or university as long as nutrition care services do not include providing medical nutrition therapy
  • Anyone who has a bachelor’s degree in home economics or family and consumer sciences if the nutrition care services are within their educational scope
  • Anyone marketing or distributing food, food materials, herbs or dietary supplements or advising or counseling on those products
  • Anyone providing nutritional information, individual nutrition recommendations, health coaching, holistic and wellness education, guidance, motivation, management to change behavior, nonmedical weight control, or other services of nutrition care, as long as medical nutrition therapy is not being provided and as long as they don’t call themselves a nutritionist or licensed nutritionist
  • Anyone providing weight control services of a medical nature for clients with obesity or prediabetes
  • Anyone working under a program that has been granted written approval by a registered dietitian nutritionist or licensed nutritionist
  • Anyone providing nutrition care services without compensation to family members
  • Anyone working under the supervision of a licensed health care practitioner who has the right to provide nutrition care services in order to treat or manage a condition or disease

Non-Licensed Nutritionist Jobs/Salaries in North Dakota

There are jobs available for those who wish to work in the field of nutrition but do not have a license in North Dakota, such as:

  • Extension Associate – Health Nutrition Exercise Science & Center for 4-H, North Dakota State University, Fargo
    • Salary: $40,000 annually
    • Need BS/BA in nutrition or related field
  • Ruminant Nutrition Research Specialist – North Dakota State University, Fargo
    • Salary: not given
    • Need post-graduate studies in nutrition or related field
    • Need experience in research and scientific writing
  • Health and Wellness Coach – Profile Plan, Grand Forks
    • Salary: $18 hourly
    • AA/AS in nutrition or related field preferred
    • Twelve months of sales experience preferred
  • Animal Nutrition Consultant – CHS Inc., Dickinson
    • Salary: $48,100 to $60,900 annually
    • High school diploma/GED required, Bachelor’s degree preferred
    • Four years of experience in sales, business development or operations required
  • Nutritional Health Coach – Natural Grocers, Bismarck
    • Salary: $22 hourly
    • BS/BA in nutrition required


Here is also some useful information for Becoming a Registered Dietitian in North Dakota.