A 2020 report by the Texas Department of State Health Services found the prevalence of obesity among adult Texans to be 35.7 percent. The two areas of the state in which obesity was most common were Public Health Region 1, which covers 41 counties in the Panhandle and South Plains and has offices in Lubbock and Amarillo, where obesity among adults was 44.9 percent; and Public Health Region 11, corresponding to 19 counties in the Rio Grande Valley, with offices in Harlingen and Corpus Christi, where obesity among adults was 43.1 percent.
This high prevalence of obesity is concerning to health care professionals and public health officials in Texas. A variety of health care practitioners, including nutritionists, are needed to fight obesity in Texas. Nutritionists are specially trained health care professionals who can educate, counsel and advise Texans on making better food choices and living healthier lifestyles. In Texas, nutritionists are not licensed health care professionals. If you would like to discover how you can become a non-licensed nutritionist in the Lone Star State, please read on.
Educational Options for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in Texas
Under Texas law, only dietitians must be licensed in order to practice in the state. If you want to work as a nutritionist and provide nutrition care to individuals or groups of people, you may work in Texas without a license. Even though it is not required to obtain nutrition education, it is a good idea to have a background in the area in which you wish to work. Some examples of the numerous educational choices that would-be nutritionists have available to them in Texas are:
- Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health – Texas Christian University, online
- Associate of Science in Nutrition – San Antonio College, San Antonio
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Emphasis in Nutritional Sciences or Wellness – Texas Woman’s University, Denton
- Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Foods – University of Houston, Houston
- Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics – Texas Tech University, online
- Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences – University of Texas Austin
Professional Certification for Non-Licensed Texas Nutritionists
Certification is another option for non-licensed Texas nutritionists. There are so many options for certification for prospective nutritionists, and which certification you should seek, if any, is largely dependent upon the job you wish for or the sub-field of nutrition in which you wish to work. Although the state does not require a license in order to work as a nutritionist, many employers will seek candidates who have professional certification in one or more areas, such as:
Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists – CNS- Certified Nutrition Specialist– This credential can be earned if you have a graduate degree in nutrition, log at least 1000 hours of monitored experience in nutrition, and pass a certification examination.
Clinical Nutrition Certification Board – CCN- Certified Clinical Nutritionist – This credential can be earned by those who have a bachelor’s degree, have completed post-graduate studies in clinical nutrition, and pass a certification examination.
Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals – CDM, CFPP -Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional – This credential can be earned by candidates who have an associate or bachelor’s degree in foodservice management, culinary arts, nutrition, or hotel/restaurant management, or have completed a foodservice manager training program approved by the ANFP, have related work experience, and pass a certification examination.
National Commission for Health Education Credentialing – CHES- Certified Health Education Specialist – This credential can be earned by candidates who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree and took classes in process, content and general education, and pass a certification examination.
American College of Sports Medicine-Certified Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist: This credential can be earned if you have a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, or a bachelor’s degree in any field plus 1200 hours of experience in health promotion, and pass a certification examination.
American Heart Association – Basic Life Support (BLS): Required for many jobs in which you deal with the public on a daily basis, the AHA’s BLS credential can be earned through classroom learning or blended classroom/online learning. It includes CPR for adults, children and infants; the use of AED, relief of foreign-body airway obstruction for adults and infants, and more.
Texas Non-Licensed Nutritionist Employment Opportunities and Salaries
Texas is a large state with many and varied employment opportunities for non-licensed nutritionists. There are usually many openings for nutritionists available statewide. In October 2022, a scan of the online classified ads produced the following results for job openings for non-licensed nutritionists:
- Nutritionist I, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – City of Abilene, Abilene
- Wages: $42,767 to $51,687 annually
- Bachelor’s degree in food science or nutrition mandatory, with at least 12 credit hours in nutrition coursework
- One to two years of work experience in food and nutrition mandatory
- Valid Texas driver’s license mandatory
- Nutritionist, Wellness Clinic – Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare, Conroe
- Wages: $46,057 annually
- Bachelor’s degree in nutrition or certification in nutrition mandatory
- One year of patient care experience preferred
- Valid Texas driver’s license mandatory
- Performance Nutritionist – Reeves County Recreation Center, Pecos
- Wages: $40,000 to $60,000 annually
- Certification as a nutritionist preferred
- Bachelor’s degree preferred
- Health Educator – BRS, Fort Hood
- Wages: $45,900 to $58,100 annually
- Bachelor’s degree in health promotion, nutrition, or related field mandatory, Master’s degree preferred
- CHES/MCHES or ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist preferred
- Current AHA BLS certification required
- School Nutrition Coordinator – Flour Bluff Independent School District, Corpus Christi
- Wages: $63,321 annually
- Bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition sciences mandatory
- Prior experience in institution school nutrition preferred
- Prior supervisory experience preferred
- Nutrition Services Specialist – LMG Technology Services, LLC, Sugar Land
- Wages: $46,900 to $59,300 annually
- Bachelor’s degree mandatory
- Three to five years of experience mandatory