On July 1, 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 267, which repealed all current licensure requirements for dieticians and nutritionists. It also abolished the Michigan Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.
As a result of Public Act 267, Public Act 333 of 2006, which licensed dieticians and nutritionists in Michigan, was abolished, making Michigan the first state in the nation to fully repeal an exclusionary nutrition and dietetics licensing law. The repealed law prohibited anyone unlicensed from giving nutrition advice, and the requirements of the law were so narrow that licensure was difficult, even for highly qualified professionals, with the exception of Registered Dieticians.
Governor Snyder has now appointed a new Dietetics and Nutrition Board, which consists of five dieticians or nutritionists and two public members. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, along with the new Dietetics and Nutrition Board, will develop administrative rules that will establish new minimum standards for nutritionist licensing in Michigan.
The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will post the proposed rules as they become available, although they note that it is a lengthy process that can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Applications for licensure and the actual issuance of new licenses cannot begin until the rules have been developed and formally approved. In the meantime, individuals interested in becoming licensed should submit their name and address to email@example.com.
In the meantime, individuals who want to learn how to become nutritionists in Michigan are best served by completing a master’s and/or doctorate degree in a nutrition-related major and completing a course of professional experience that includes at least 900 hours of supervised experience in the practice of nutrition, as these requirements are commonplace for nutritionists in many states.
A nutrition-related major may include:
The 2006 Public Act 333 allowed registered dieticians to automatically be eligible for licensure; however, it also prevented other professionals who incorporate nutrition services into their practice from doing so because, according to the law, they “may subject the public to harm.”
This law therefore prevented certified nutritionists, chiropractors, and naturopaths from offering nutrition care services to the public, despite having completed necessary coursework, examination, and experience requirements. Since then, the Office of Regulatory Reinvention, as well as the Michigan Nutrition Association, has been working to get the law repealed. As a result of their efforts, 18 occupations, including nutritionists and dietitians, have been deregulated.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan ranked third in the nation among nonmetropolitan areas for its employment of nutritionists, as of May 2013. Nutritionists in this area earned an annual, mean salary of $50,450 during this time.
Nutritionists can be found throughout Michigan’s workforce, working in such places as hospitals, long-term care facilities, government agencies, school districts, and nursing homes, among many others.
For example, nutritionists may find a wealth of job opportunities through some of Michigan’s largest hospital systems, such as:
Health coaching in Michigan can be a lucrative business. Many of the state’s health coaches are independent businesspeople working for themselves in private practices, providing wellness services to clients individually or in groups. Others work for health care companies and organizations (the American Institute for Preventive Medicine in Farmington Hills and Lakeland Health Care in Saint Joseph), insurance companies (Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan statewide), employee assistance programs (WellPath in Midland and Encompass in Grand Rapids), and fitness facilities (including the many YMCAs statewide).
Holistic health coaching is quite a popular topic in Michigan, as many colleges and universities statewide offer certificates and degrees in this area. “Holistic” in this case simply means a focus on the body as a whole, and all health coaches do this, regardless of the education program they may have completed and the title they may go by.
Health coaches in Michigan may choose to specialize in a particular area of interest, especially if they work in private practice. Examples of independent health coaches that have made a name for themselves in certain niche areas include:
Health coaches come from a variety of different backgrounds and hold degrees and other credentials in any number of different areas.
You will find that some employers looking to fill health coach jobs specifically looking for candidates who hold the RD (Registered Dietitian) credential, which involves becoming nationally registered and state-licensed. RDs must be entered onto the national dietetic registry through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commission on Dietetic Registration, and register with the Michigan Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.
Some employers even specify a requirement for RN licensure.
Still, the majority of health coaching positions will just require a bachelor’s degree and won’t require these more advanced credentials.
Because there is no one single educational path for health coaches, you may follow your own interests and choose from a wide variety of majors related to health promotion, coaching, wellness, and education.
Associate’s degrees and undergraduate certificates can help you to get your foot in the door in a health and wellness coaching job. Options that are available in Michigan include:
Relevant bachelor’s degree majors in the health and wellness arena in Michigan include:
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in a field that is not health related, but would like to change careers to break into health coaching, you should pursue a graduate degree or certificate in one of the following areas:
Professional Certification and Registration
Some, but not all, health coaching positions in Michigan will ask you to hold professional certification in addition to a relevant degree. This requires credentialing through an accredited, professionally recognized organization such as:
Health Coaching Career Paths and Job Opportunities in Michigan
The following job vacancy announcements, sourced in August 2016, represent the types of employment opportunities available to properly credentialed health coaches in Michigan. These job vacancy announcements are shown for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to represent job offers or provide an assurance of employment.
Lifestyle/Wellness Coach for North Oakland Family YMCA- Auburn Hills, MI
You will help members set healthy wellness goals and develop skills to change their behavior to reach those goals. You will track members’ performance and help to motivate them in their quest to become healthier.
Health Coach for American Institute of Preventive Medicine – Farmington Hills, MI
You will work with members in telephonic health coaching, promoting wellness and helping members to reach their potential. Although you will be covering all areas of wellness, the main focus of this position is tobacco cessation. You will encourage members to adopt habits that will improve their quality of life.
Health Coach for Cherry Health Heart of the City Durham Clinic- Grand Rapids, MI
You will provide behavioral health intervention to members with chronic conditions. You will inform, educate and support members as they try to improve their quality of life. The job also involves using biopsychosocial assessments and treatment plans for mental health patients, as well as motivational interviewing and cognitive therapy techniques.
Nutrition & Weight Loss Coach for WeightNot- Grand Rapids, MI
You will be the member’s point of contact and offer support and guidance as they work through a weight loss plan. You will motivate and educate members on nutritional and physiological principles, and upgrade or extend their programs as necessary.
State and Local Health Resources for Health Coaches in Michigan
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services
Allegan County Health Department
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Muskegon County Public Health
Michigan Outreach Women’s Health Resource Center
University of Michigan Depression Center
Bay County Health Department
Health Department of Northwest Michigan