State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Illinois Nutritionist Certification

According to the Department of Professional Regulation, Dietician Nutritionist Practice Board, only a licensed “dietician nutritionist” can practice nutrition services in Illinois, including medical nutrition therapy, which involves interpreting and recommending nutrient needs for individuals with medically prescribed diets.

Medically prescribed diets may include specialized intravenous solutions, specialized oral feedings, food and prescription drug interactions, tube feedings, and developing and managing food service operations that are focused on providing nutrition care for individuals with medically prescribed diets.

Nutritionist Licensure in Illinois: Degree and Training Requirements

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To qualify for licensure in Illinois as a nutritionist, candidates must possess one of the following:

  • A bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), in one of the following majors:
    • Dietetics
    • Foods and nutrition
    • Food systems management
    • Human nutrition
    • Nutrition education
  • A bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in an equivalent major course of study recommended by the Board and approved the Department.

To receive a recommendation from the Board and an approval by the Department, the bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s degree must include the following coursework (and meet a number of other requirements):

  • At least 9 semester hours in biological sciences (must include human anatomy, physiology, and microbiology)
  • At least 6 semester hours in chemistry (must include biochemistry or the equivalent)
  • At least 6 semester hours in behavioral sciences (such as educational psychology, psychology, counseling, or sociology)
  • At least 6 semester hours in management (must include institutional management, food service management, or the equivalent)
  • At least 25 semester hours in foods and nutrition, which must include:
    • Diet therapy, clinical nutrition, medical dietetics, or the equivalent
    • Nutrition through the life cycle, applied nutrition, advanced human nutrition, or the equivalent
    • Food science or the equivalent

Candidates for nutritionist licenses in Illinois must also complete at least 900 hours of experience with a 5-year time frame. The experience must have been with a supervisor who meets one the following requirements:

  • A registered dietician with the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • A licensed dietician nutritionist
  • A practitioner who holds a license in nutrition care
  • An individual who holds a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in human nutrition, food and nutrition, food systems management, dietetics, or nutrition education
  • An individual who obtained a doctoral degree outside of the U.S. and has his or her degree validated as equivalent to a U.S. doctoral degree

Application for Nutritionist Examination

Upon the successful completion of all education and experience requirements for licensure, nutritionist candidates must complete the Application for Licensed Dietician Nutritionist Examination, which includes the following documents:

  • Instruction sheet
  • Licensure methods and definitions
  • Elder and Child Abuse Notice
  • CT Certification of Licensure
  • ED Certification of Education
  • VE-DNU Verification of Employment/Experience
  • VSE-DNU Verification of Self-Employment Experience

Applicants for licensure may apply before or after taking the required examination. The application fee is $100 (made payable to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation). The completed application, application fee, and all related documents must be mailed to:

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, IL 62791
Applicants may call 1-800-560-6420 with any questions about the application process.

Salary Data for Nutritionists in Illinois

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois, metropolitan area had the third highest employment level for nutritionists as of May 2013, followed only by the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Nutritionists in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan area had a mean annual salary of $51,620, as of May 2013.

Nutritionist Examination Requirements

All nutritionist candidates for licensure in Illinois must take and pass the dietetic examination through the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

If an individual fails the examination three times, they must submit proof to the Department of the completion of at least six semester hours of dietetic coursework before retaking the examination for a fourth time.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal for Nutritionists in Illinois

The renewal process for licensed nutritionists in Illinois involves the completion of at least 30 hours of continuing education. At least 24 of those hours must be in medical nutrition therapy, which includes medical dietetics, clinical nutrition, diet therapy, or the equivalent. Individuals must provide the Board with a certificate of attendance or a certificate of completion from an approval sponsor or college/university transcript as to satisfy proof of continuing education.

The renewal period is every two years, and the renewal fee is $100. All renewals are completed online.

Professional Associations for Nutritionists in Illinois

Licensed nutritionists in Illinois have a wealth of opportunities for professional development and networking, thanks to state associations/organizations such as:

Illinois Dietetic Association
Illinois School Nutrition Association
Illinois Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals


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