The Oklahoma Nutrition Information Education (ONIE) Project is a project of the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. This project promotes healthy living through creative, innovative strategies for individuals, families and communities. Through creating system-level changes, developing nutritional interventions and promoting physical activity, the professionals behind ONIE hope to improve the health and nutrition of Oklahomans.
Nutritionists are just one of the many health professionals who have a vested interest in the health and nutrition of residents of Oklahoma. Oklahoma licenses dietitians only, not nutritionists. They have not imposed licensure requirements upon those who wish to provide nutrition care, so Oklahoma does not have “licensed nutritionists.” Only licensed dietitians in the state may use the titles of “dietician,” “licensed dietician,” and L.D. There are many exemptions to the State of Oklahoma Registered Dietitian Act that allow non-licensed nutritionists to work in Oklahoma. We will examine more closely what unlicensed nutritionists can do in Oklahoma, and how you can train to be one, if you so desire.
Legal Exceptions Allowing Non-Licensed Nutritionists to Practice in Oklahoma
As long as you do not call yourself a dietitian, licensed dietitian, or L.D., you may provide nutrition care services without a license in Oklahoma. Specifically, the exceptions to the law state that you may provide counseling, advice, and assessments about nutrition, diet, or food. You may also market or distribute food products and dietary supplements (under the federal Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) without a license. Additionally, you may offer explanations to customers or otherwise communicate with them about how to use these products, without a license.
Training for Oklahoma Non-Licensed Nutritionists
Because there are no regulations to follow for non-licensed nutritionists in Oklahoma, you may study anything having to do with nutrition if you want to work as an unlicensed nutritionist in the state. While education is not mandated, it makes sense to have some sort of education in nutrition before calling yourself a nutritionist – even a non-licensed one. Possibilities for nutritional education in Oklahoma are:
- Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition – Oklahoma Christian University
- Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences – Oklahoma State University
- Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health – Oklahoma City Community College
- Certificate in Holistic and Integrative Health – Oklahoma City Community College
Certifications for Oklahoma Non-Licensed Nutritionists
Again, because there are no rules or regulations for unlicensed nutritionists to follow in Oklahoma, obtaining any professional certifications is optional. It can be helpful, however, in finding jobs in health and nutrition coaching or holistic nutrition to have certifications, such as:
Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CHN) of the American Fitness Professional Association -You may earn this certification completely online by studying and passing an examination. Studies include the science behind holistic nutrition, nutrition consultant skill development, and holistic health research presentations. The program costs about $900.
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (BCHHP) of the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board – This certification requires graduation from an accredited program that is Board-approved (a list of which may be found here) and passing an examination. The certification costs about $700.
Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP)– This certification requires that you complete a Board-approved educational program and pass a certification examination. Costs vary depending upon whether you become a member of the NANP.
Certified Health Education Specialist(CHES)of theNational Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)- This certification requires that you complete bachelor’s degree with courses in process, content and general education, and pass a certification examination. The exam costs $275 for nonstudents and $225 for students.
Jobs for Oklahoma Non-Licensed Nutritionists
Those who choose to become non-licensed nutritionists in Oklahoma may decide to open their own business and offer nutrition care services, work with other health care providers, or take a job such as the following, which were available in Oklahoma as of Sept. 2022:
- Community Nutrition Educator – The Chickasaw Nation, Ardmore
- Salary: not given
- Bachelor’s degree necessary
- Six months to three years of experience in public health, nutrition or related area necessary
- Health Educator – Decypher, Tinker Air Force Base
- Salary: $48,500 to $61,300 annually
- Bachelor’s degree necessary
- Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification necessary or obtainable within one year of hire
- Three years of experience necessary
- Elder Nutrition Center Coordinator – Osage Nutrition, Pawhuska
- Salary: $31,200 to $39,600 annually
- High school diploma/GED necessary
- Associate’s degree preferred
- Two years of experience necessary
- Nutritional Coach – Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc., Claremore
- Salary: $52,200 to $66,200 annually
- Bachelor’s degree necessary
- Certified Case Manager through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services necessary (or ability to obtain)
- Certified Wellness Coach through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services necessary (or ability to obtain)
- Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach – AMACK Consulting, LLC, Oklahoma
- Salary: $19,942 to $79,000 annually
- Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) preferred
- CPR Certification preferred
- Nutrition Coach Certification preferred