State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Missouri Nutritionist Certification

Interest in Healthy eating and the battle against obesity has increased dramatically in the U.S. in recent years. As a result, nutritionist careers are being considered by a growing number of individuals across the nation and Missouri is no exception. The nutrition profession may be the ideal choice for you..

Nutritionist Certification and Licensing in Missouri

Missouri is one of the 35 states with a mandate that nutritional counseling, evaluations and therapy can only be performed by licensed dietitians. Therefore, unlicensed nutritionists are unlikely to receive any government or private insurance reimbursements for personal nutritional counseling. The following requirements must be met if you want to become licensed in Missouri:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher that incorporates:
    • Nine semester hours in biological sciences including microbiology, human anatomy and physiology
    • Six semester hours in chemistry including biochemistry
    • Six semester hours in behavioral social science courses like psychology, sociology, counseling psychology, educational psychology
    • Six semester hours in management to include Institutional Management and Food Service Management
    • 25 hours in foods and nutrition, to include Human Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition, Applied Human Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition, Food Science, Nutrition through the Lifecycle, Diet Therapy and Medical Dietetics
  • 900 hours of clinical experience. The way the hours are fulfilled often depends on the school attended. Most include internships as part of their nutrition program; however, you might be required to work 10 months full-time, 14 months part-time, or some other combination to reach 900 hours.
  • Pass the Registered Dietician examination. You are required to answer at least 125 or the 140 multiple-choice questions within three hours. You can take the exam at a PSI testing center in either Kirksville or St. Louis. The fee is $200. The exam consists of four sections:
          • Food and Nutrition
          • Nutritional Care Processes
          • Counseling and Communication Abilities
          • Food Service Systems Management

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There are approximately eight colleges/universities in Missouri that offer degree programs in nutrition/dietetics. These schools are located in the following cities:

  • Cape Girardeau
  • Columbia
  • Maryville
  • Point Lookout
  • Springfield
  • St. Louis (two schools)
  • Warrensburg

Nutritionist Job Description and Job Opportunities in Missouri

As a nutritionist you will counsel, evaluate, plan and implement nutrition programs for individuals or groups. You can either work for an employer or open a private practice. You might test foods for their nutritional components, investigate the veracity of food labels, teach nutrition classes, design public/private school lunch menus, do nutritional research or educate the general public about nutritional issues. The list of prospective employers contains almost any food-related institution, facility or company, including:

  • Hospitals, Medical Clinics, Rehab facilities
  • Nursing homes, senior centers, independent-living facilities
  • Resorts, spas, hotels
  • Schools, school districts
  • Military bases
  • Wellness centers
  • Children’s summer camp programs
  • Adult and child day-care centers
  • After-school programs
  • Food manufacturers
  • Government food safety agencies
  • Marketing research firms
  • Kidney dialysis centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Universities, university labs
  • Food processing companies
  • Health food stores
  • Catering companies
  • Weight –reduction programs
  • Fitness centers
  • Major sports teams
  • Newspapers, magazines (write about nutritional issues)

Nutritionist Salaries and Job Growth in Missouri

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 1,060 nutritionists/dieticians were actively working in Missouri in 2011. A 21 percent job growth was expected. This excellent forecast is largely due to the general public’s increased awareness about the importance of good nutrition.

According to the BLS nutritionists/dieticians in Missouri earn an annual mean wage of $49,590; however, there is considerable variation depending on geographic location. Higher annual mean wages (2012) were reported in:

  • Columbia - $54,870
  • Fayetteville-Springfield area - $55,710

You can find detailed information about the licensing process as well as on-line application forms from the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. There is a $50 application fee. Licenses are renewable every five years with the completion of 75 hours of continuing professional education.


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