State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Nutritionist Certification

Dieticians and nutritionists are licensed through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. In 2002, the Professional Nursing Law was amended to include the licensing of dieticians-nutritionists. Now, only licensed dieticians-nutritionists may use the title or the abbreviation, LDN, in Pennsylvania.

Salary Data for Nutritionists in Pennsylvania

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania continues to rank high for its employment of nutritionists, who earned an annual, mean salary of $47,680, as of May 2013.

For example, during the same period:

  • Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for its employment level of nutritionists.
  • Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs.
  • The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania metropolitan area ranked fifth in the nation for its employment level of nutritionists.
  • The Reading, Pennsylvania metropolitan area ranked first in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs.
  • The non-metropolitan areas of West Central and East Central Pennsylvania ranked first and second, respectively, for their employment level of nutritionists.
  • The non-metropolitan area of West Central Pennsylvania ranked first in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs.

Qualifications for Nutritionist Licensure in Pennsylvania

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Individuals who want to learn how to become a licensed nutritionist in Pennsylvania must successfully complete the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from a Board-approved, regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in one of the following:
    • Human nutrition
    • Food and nutrition
    • Dietetics
    • Food system management

The PA Board of Nursing approves educational programs that are approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

  • A Board-approved planned and continuous pre-professional experience in dietetic practice of at least 900 hours
  • An examination approved by the Board

The PA Board of Nursing approves the Registration Examination for Registered Dieticians and the Examination of the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CNS).
To qualify to take the registered dietician (RD) examination, candidates must possess:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, along with an ACEND-accredited didactic programs in dietetics
  • At least 1,200 hours of supervised practice

To qualify to take the CNS examination, candidates must possess:

  • A master or doctoral degree in nutrition or a doctoral-level degree in a clinical healthcare field that includes at least 15 semester hours in nutrition and metabolism, including 6 semester hours in biochemistry, and at least 15 semester hours in clinical or life sciences, including at least 3 semester hours in anatomy/physiology
  • At least 1,000 hours of supervised practice experience

The Application Process

Candidates who have met the minimum requirements for licensure as a dietician-nutritionist in Pennsylvania must complete an Application for Dietician-Nutritionist License and submit it, along with the application/licensure fee of $45 (made payable to the Commonwealth of PA) and all related documentation, to:

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Applicants with questions regarding licensure and the application process can contact the Board at 717-783-7142 or at st-nurse@state.pa.us.

Note:

  • Applicants who are currently registered as an RD with the CDR should complete Form 1 Application for Dietician-Nutritionist Licensure and request an original certification of registration letter to be sent directly from the CDR to the State Board of Nursing.
  • Applicants who are not CDR registered must complete and submit:
    • Form 1 Application for Dietician-Nutrition Licensure
    • An original Verification Statement of Program Completion (completed by the program director of the college or university)
    • An original Verification Statement of Dietetic Internship/Pre-Professional Practice Program (completed by the program director)

The Renewal Process for Licensed Nutritionists in Pennsylvania

To maintain LDN licensure in Pennsylvania, nutritionists must complete at least 30 hours of continuing professional education credits every two years. The cost of license renewal is $65.

One hour of CPE credit is given for each 50-minute clock hour of CPE activity. The Board accepts “substantive learning experiences” for CPE activity that are related to the field of nutrition and dietetics. Programs must:

  • Be sponsored by the ADA, the ACN or by individual state dietetic associations
  • Be a member association of the ADA or ACN
  • Be an approved college or dietetic program where a certificate of attendance is issued
  • Include courses related to the practice of dietetics-nutrition that are offered by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the Accreditation Council on Pharmaceutical Education, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Medical Association.

Licensed LDNs may also apply to the Board for approval of CPE credit if they have completed:

  • Case presentations
  • Academic coursework and research studies approved by an institutional review board
  • Interactive workshops
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Residency and fellowship programs at the post-baccalaureate level and are either sponsored by a regionally accredited college or university or an institution accredited by the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, or the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

 

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