State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Massachusetts Nutritionist Certification

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Dietetics and Nutritionists grants dietician and nutritionist licenses to qualified individuals who comply with the requirements of licensure. The title LDN is often used for licensed dieticians-nutritionists in Massachusetts.

The Board recognizes human dietetics/nutrition as a science dealing with the relationships between foods and human health, with a focus on:

  • Nutrients in food
  • The actions and interactions of food
  • Balance of health, disease, socioeconomic, cultural, and psychological factors

The Board also recognizes that human dietetics/nutrition involves the application of physiology, social sciences, biochemistry, and physical sciences as to achieve optimum human health.

Minimum Requirements for Nutritionist Licensure in Massachusetts

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In addition to being at least 18 years old and being of good, moral character, candidates for nutritionist licenses in Massachusetts must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from an institution that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or is approved by the Board (for foreign education programs). The course of study must be in one of the following:

  • Dietetics and nutrition
  • Human nutrition
  • Nutrition education
  • Public health nutrition

If the degree major is not in one of the above areas, individuals may still qualify for a nutritionist license in Massachusetts if their degree program meets the following, minimum requirements:

  • At least 9 semester hours in biological sciences (including human anatomy and physiology or equivalent, and microbiology or the equivalent)
  • At least 6 semester hours in chemistry (must include biochemistry or the equivalent)
  • At least 3 semester hours in behavioral sciences (such as sociology, psychology, counseling, educational psychology, or cultural anthropology)
  • At least 24 semester hours in foods and nutrition, with at least 3 semester hours in each of the following areas:
    • Medical dietetics, diet therapy, clinical nutrition, or the equivalent
    • Food science, food composition, food service management, or the equivalent
    • Applied human nutrition, advanced human nutrition, or the equivalent

Candidates for nutritionist licenses in Massachusetts must also successfully complete a Board-approved clinical internship or supervised professional experience that includes one of the following components:

  • An internship approved by the Board (formal, post-baccalaureate) that consists of at least 900 hours in the field of dietetics and nutrition and is supervised by a licensed nutritionist; OR
  • A paid professional experience that is comparable to an internship; must consist of at least 32 hours per week and include one of the following:
    • Three years of post-baccalaureate paid experience in the field of dietetics and nutrition
    • Two years of post-baccalaureate paid experience in the field of dietetics and nutrition
    • One year of post-doctoral paid experience in the field of dietetics and nutrition

Examination Requirements for Massachusetts Nutritionist Licensure

All candidates for a nutritionist license in Massachusetts must pass a competency examination approved by the Board; it must be designed to test the competency and knowledge needed to practice nutrition. For nutritionist candidates, this examination is the Certification Nutrition Specialists Examination (CNS) of the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS).
The CNS examination includes the following components (and their percentage of the examination):

  • Fundamental Principles of Nutrition: 20 percent
  • Nutrients and Human Health: 30 percent
  • Nutrition Assessment: 20 percent
  • Clinical Intervention and Monitoring: 25 percent

Massachusetts Nutritionist License: The Application Process

In addition to the completion of the Application for Licensure as Dietician/Nutritionist, applicants must:

  • Request an official transcript verifying your degree to be sent to the Board; OR
  • Submit the Course Summary Form (included with the application), along with official transcripts verifying the successful completion of the required courses if the degree is in an unrelated field; AND
  • Provide an official letter from the CBNS in an unopened, sealed envelope verifying the passage of the CNS exam; AND
  • Include the application/initial licensure fee for $196 (payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

The application must be notarized and mailed to:
Board of Dietetics and Nutritionists
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118

Salary Highlights for Massachusetts Licensed Nutritionists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed nutritionists in Massachusetts enjoy competitive salaries and ample job opportunities:

  • The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area had the sixth highest employment level of nutritionists, as of May 2013. Nutritionists in this large metropolitan area earned a mean, annual salary of $60,200 during this time.
  • The Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA metropolitan area ranked 10th in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs, as of May 2013. Nutritionists earned a mean, annual salary of $61,060 during this time.
  • Pittsfield, Massachusetts, ranked 10th in the nation among metropolitan areas for its pay of nutritionists in May 2013, with nutritionists there earning a mean, annual salary of $74,020.

Professional Association Contacts for Massachusetts Nutritionists

One of the most effective ways of staying abreast of the latest information and news within the field of nutrition and dietetics is through membership with a state or national professional association, such as:

School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Dietetic Association
American Nutrition Association
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Association of Nutrition Professionals
American Society for Nutrition

Continuing Education and License Renewal for Nutritionists in Massachusetts

Licensed nutritionists in Massachusetts must renew their licenses every two years, provided they have completed at least 30 units of continuing education during that period.

All approved continuing education units must be organized learning experiences of at least 50 minutes in length and must “contribute to the licensee’s professional competence in nutritional practice.”

The expiration date of nutritionist licenses in Massachusetts is the birthday of the licensee.

Licensees can expect to receive a license renewal form in the mail about 8 weeks prior to their license expiration date. The renewal fee is $130.


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