The North Dakota Board of Dietetics Practice (NDBODP) regulates and licenses both dieticians and nutritionists. The definition of a licensed nutritionist is a person licensed to provide general nutrition services in North Dakota. As such, only licensed nutritionists are allowed to practice or represent themselves using the title of licensed nutritionist or LN.
Licensed nutritionists may find a wealth of professional opportunities in North Dakota, as the East Central section of North Dakota ranks third in the nation for its concentration of nutrition jobs. Nutritionists in this area earned a mean, annual salary of $50,370, as of May 2013.
Requirements for becoming a licensed nutritionist in North Dakota vary from requirements for becoming a licensed dietician; candidates for nutritionist licenses in North Dakota should ensure they distinguish between these two sets of requirements.
Nutritionist candidates can meet the requirements for licensure by possessing one of the following:
Note: Unlike most states, there are no experience or examination requirements for becoming a licensed nutritionist in North Dakota.
To become a licensed nutritionist in North Dakota, candidates must ensure they meet the educational requirements set forth by the Board. If the candidate’s bachelor’s degree is more than 10 years old, they must submit evidence of the completion of 75 hours of continuing education completed in the last 5 years.
In addition to submitting a completed, signed, and notarized License Application form, candidates must furnish the Board with official transcripts from their degree or a copy of their current membership card.
All three pages of the application must be completed. A $60 initial application fee (made payable to the North Dakota Board of
Dietetics Practice) for a nutritionist license must accompany the application and all materials must be mailed to:
Pat Anderson, NDBODP
2304 Jackson Avenue
Bismarck, North Dakota 58501
The renewal period for nutritionist licenses in North Dakota is 5 years. Candidates for renewal must complete at least 75 hours of continuing education during their 5-year licensure period, complete a Renewal Form, and pay a renewal fee of $45.00.
The Board encourages licensed nutritionists to utilize the professional development resources of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the professional development opportunities through the North Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Health coaches are needed in North Dakota now more than ever. The non-profit non-partisan organization Trust for America's Health reports some alarming statistics about North Dakota:
These statistics have a dire cost, and that is why the state has enlisted health coaches as part of its efforts to improve wellness through the Healthy ND initiative. This program is a four-pronged assault, sponsored by the state's Department of Health, aimed at improving residents' overall quality of life by approaching challenges on these fronts:
Obviously governmental agencies are putting a high value on professionals like health coaches who make an important difference in improving the physical vitality of North Dakotans. This saves millions every year in health care costs. Private industry also has a motivation to enlist health coaches, who help companies keep their workforce healthy and thereby also save millions of dollars in expenses from lost wages and decreased productivity. Examples of significant employers in North Dakota who have been known to hire health coaches include:
While money might be an important motivating factor for the government and business, our fellow North Dakotans themselves value health and well being on a much more personal level. Being healthy feels great and improves the overall quality of life. Interacting with clients who appreciate you for these most personal reasons is often the most rewarding experience of all.
Holistic health is a relatively new concept that involves striking a daily balance between work and stress on one side, with exercise and a healthy diet on the other. As leaders in this new field health coaches are not currently subject to state or national licensing requirements.
However employers pick up where government regulation leaves off, often citing their own requirements or preferences for their prospective health coaches that can include relevant education as well as certification. Your clients will also be glad to hear you list your professional qualifications during your first face-to-face get together. And as a health coach with demonstrable credentials you can also justify an increased compensation for your services.
Gaining relevant education will prepare you to earn your degree or certificate, with relevant subjects of study including:
As a North Dakota resident you have a number of relevant on-campus academic programs to choose from. You also have the option to enroll in online degree programs throughout the United States while earning your degree at home.
In-state options for relevant degree programs include:
Associate's Degree Programs
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Master's Degree Programs
Students can find an equivalent or even greater range of programs offered online at universities throughout the country that accept enrollment applications from North Dakota residents.
Many of today's health coaches started their careers in other fields. Having already earned an undergraduate degree, they choose to earn another bachelor's degree or go on to pursue a master's degree in a field that is related to health coaching.
Health Coach Certification Programs
Professional certification is another route you may want to consider as you explore becoming a health coach. Certification programs are typically offered online to accommodate working professionals. Each sponsoring organization that offers a certification program sets its own admission requirements, program length, and content.
Certification programs can be completed in a matter of months, and are therefore a good option for those who are not fully prepared to commit to a four-year degree program. Employers also often state a preference or requirement for applicants to hold a health coach-related certification.
While there are several certification programs for health coaches located throughout the nation, currently the American Council on Education (ACE) is the only organization that is accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The ACE health coach program offers three certification routes that are tailored to your professional career goals:
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is also dedicated to producing qualified health coaches by enforcing high professional standards for certification. The ICF provides several different credentialing options for health coaches, including:
The Trust for America's Health reports that North Dakota's adult physical inactivity rate in 2014 was 21.3 percent. In 2014 it reported that 32.2 percent of the population was considered obese, up from 26.7 percent in 2007. These figures underlie the important role health coaches can play throughout the state as they reduce medical costs, boost productivity, and generally improve people's overall quality of life.
Health coaches can work as independent business owners, contractors, or employees. While there are many successful independent health coaches out there in North Dakota, you will find that most started their career working for somebody else. Doing this allows you to gain experience, develop a list of regular clientele and references, and get an idea for how this field works. Once you have gained experience and want to strike out on your own, professional credentials coupled with your reputation are often your two best friends for recruiting new clients.
The following job vacancy announcements, sourced in July 2016, represent the types of employment opportunities available to properly credentialed health coaches in North Dakota. These job vacancy announcements are shown for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to represent job offers or provide an assurance of employment.
Nutritional Health Coach with Natural Grocers in Grand Forks – customers at this store have long enjoyed free health and nutrition information that helps to inform them when stocking up on supplements and healthy food. Natural Grocers is seeking applicants who are prepared to fulfill a dual role of educating employees about nutrition and also supporting retail operations by interacting with customers. Applicants should understand the organic and sustainable living lifestyle, be great at interacting with shoppers, and have a wealth of knowledge about science-based nutrition information.
Applicants must have a degree or certification from an organization accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency that is recognized by the US Secretary of Education.
Health Coach with the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks – the UND recognizes that having healthy students is good for everyone on campus and results in better outcomes all around. As such it hires health coaches to work one-on-one with students to develop good diet and exercise habits, as well as to promote stress management. The university's current health coach has these credentials:
Health Coach with Provant Health in Wahpeton – Provant hires health coaches to provide health and wellness screenings to its clients in corporate settings. These screenings include evaluating cholesterol, BMI, and blood pressure. Applicants need experience working one-on-one with clients in activities like smoking cessation programs, weight loss programs, and stress management programs. Applicants must have a license or certification in an area such as:
You can find additional resources about health coach opportunities and developments throughout the state with the following organizations and initiatives:
Government Resources and Programs