Becoming a Nutritionist in Louisiana
Louisiana is a great place to be a nutritionist. The Pelican State is one of the 35 U.S. states that require nutritionists to be licensed. This not only gives the profession greater prestige and credibility but also helps to ensure government and private insurance payments for services rendered. Unlicensed nutritionists are unlikely to receive any government or private insurance reimbursements for personal counseling.
Nutritionist Degree Certification and Licensing in Louisiana
The Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition is the governing agency. Nutritionists can apply for two types of licenses in Louisiana:
- Licensed Dietician-Nutritionist (LDN)
- Provisional LDN
Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist. The requirements that you must met to become a licensed dietitian-nutritionist and be legally able to place the designation “LDN” after your name are:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited school. In accordance with the Louisiana Dietetics and Nutrition Act, the degree must be in one of these areas:
- Human Nutrition
- Food and Nutrition
- Food Systems Management
- A minimum of 24 semester hours must be in nutrition courses.
- Complete 900 hours of supervised work experience in the practice of nutrition. Some colleges include work-experience hours as part of the nutritionist degree program. Others require that these hours must be met through an outside internship or other experience.
- Pass the dietician-nutritionist licensure examination. The three-hour computerized exam consists of approximately 145 multiple-choice questions of which at least 125 must be answered in order for the test to be scored. There is a $200 fee for taking the exam which is offered at testing centers in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Metairie or Shreveport. If you fail the exam you can take it again at a later date. Detailed exam information is available online.
Provisional LDN. You may apply for a provisional LDN if you have successfully completed all educational and work experience requirements for a LDN but have not yet taken and passed the licensure examination. Provisional licenses are renewable annually; however, they cannot be extended beyond a five-year period. While holding a provincial license you can only work under the direct supervision of an LDN and you cannot set up shop as a private practitioner. As soon as you pass the licensure exam you can apply for your LDN license.
Fees for LDN or Provisional licenses are $90 and $95 respectively. Application forms and instructions are available online.
Louisiana schools that offer nutrition degrees. An average of 100 students graduate each year with degrees in nutrition from Louisiana schools. The Pelican State has colleges or universities with nutrition programs in all of the following cities:
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- New Orleans
You can earn a bachelors, masters or doctoral degree in nutrition and food science. The kinds of courses you will take as a nutrition major may include:
- Human Biology
- Chemistry, Biochemistry
- Human Ecology
- Statistics, Research Methods
- Food and Nutrition
- Food Science
- Nutrition through the Lifecycle
- Institutional Planning and Purchasing
- Quantity Food Production
- Community Nutrition
- Diversity in Health Beliefs and Practices
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Nutrition Research
Nutritionist Salary and Job Growth in Louisiana
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) dieticians and nutritionists in Louisiana earn an annual wage of between $33,684 and $71,796 with a median salary of $47,288.
The occupational outlook for nutritionists in Louisiana is fair. At present there are approximately 980 nutritionists working in the state. The BLS predicts that number will increase by eight percent, or to 1,060 jobs, by 2018.
Nutritionist Job Description and Job Opportunities in Louisiana
As an LND in Louisiana you will have the option of either working for someone else or going into private practice. In either case your duties are likely to include:
- Counseling clients or individuals and evaluating their nutritional needs
- Designing individualized diet plans to fill those needs
- Giving speeches on nutrition to organizations, clubs, civic groups, etc.
- Researching nutritional issues
- Writing reports, newspaper/magazine articles
- Developing a specialty, such as Sports Nutritionist or Animal Nutritionist
If you are employed by others, your duties might include:
- Creating meal plans for institutional facilities
- Evaluating nutritional contents of processed and other foods
- Planning school lunch menus and snack offerings
- Teaching nutrition classes in high schools or colleges
- Helping to establish federal nutritional standards
- Designing nutritional food labels
- Creating nutritional food products
The kinds of employers in Louisiana that hire LDNs include but are not limited to:
- Hospitals, Medical Clinics, Rehab Centers
- Nursing homes, Retirement Communities
- Spas, Fitness Centers
- Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants
- Public School Districts, Private Schools
- Food-related Government Agencies
- Food Manufacturers
- Company Cafeterias
- Health Food Stores
- Child and Adult Day Care Centers
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