On July 1, 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 267, which repealed all current licensure requirements for dieticians and nutritionists.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 The repealed law prohibited anyone unlicensed from giving nutrition advice, and the requirements of the law were so narrow that licensure was difficult, even for highly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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: