The Rhode Island Department of Health, Board of Dietetics Practice, through the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Licensure of Dieticians/Nutritionists, outlines the licensing process for dieticians and nutritionists in the State. All dieticians/nutritionists in Rhode Island must be licensed to practice medical nutrition therapy.
In addition, it clearly states that only licensed individuals may practice dietetics or use the title of dietician/nutritionist or LDN.
Individuals who want to learn how to become a nutritionist in Rhode Island must ensure they meet the minimum requirements for licensure, which include:
The RD examination is a computer-based examination designed to assess a nutritionist’s entry-level knowledge; it includes the following topics:
In addition to a completed, signed, and notarized Application for License as a Dietician/Nutritionist, candidates must provide the Board with the following:
Individuals who have successfully complete a program in dietetics/nutrition that is approved by the American Dietetic Association Commission on Education may apply for a temporary permit, during which time they may work as a nutritionist under the supervision of a dietician/nutritionist licensed in the State of Rhode Island.
While working on a temporary permit, individuals may only use the title of “graduate dietician/nutritionist.” Graduate nutritionists must successfully pass the RD examination within 90 days of receiving a temporary permit from the Department.
The completed application for licensure, along with all related documentation, must be sent to:
Rhode Island Department of Health
Board of Dietetics Practice
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, Rhode Island 02908
Applicants may contact the Board at 401-222-5888 with any questions regarding the licensure process for dieticians/nutritionists in Rhode Island.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of May 2013, nutritionists in the State earned an annual, mean salary of $62,210. During the same period, Rhode Island ranked first in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs.
Further, the metropolitan area of Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA ranked tenth in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs, as of May 2013. Nutritionists in this metropolitan area earned a mean, annual salary of $61,060 during this time.
Dietician/nutritionist licenses in Rhode Island are valid for 2 years. The renewal fee is $170, and licensed dieticians/nutritionists must apply for renewal on September 1 of each odd-numbered year.
Licensed dieticians/nutritionist can expect to receive a renewal application from the Department before the expiration date. During the renewal period, individuals must complete a minimum of 20 continuing education credits accepted by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. It is the responsibility of the licensed dieticians/nutritionists to maintain documentation of their participation in the continuing education learning experiences.
Health coaches have played an important role in moving Rhode Island four places up to rank as the 15th-healthiest state in the nation, according to an America's Health Rankings 2014 report. Highlights of these strides include:
Lynn Goodwin is an example of a health coach who has used her expertise to improve her clients' quality of life. Working at All That Matters, Goodwin comes from a background in yoga, Ayurvedic health, and nutrition. She works with her clients to do things like:
With these types of activities it's no wonder The Miriam Hospital in Providence found that health coaches could be key in weight loss, according to its study published in the online journal Obesity. The randomized controlled pilot lasted 24 weeks and divided 44 obese participants into two groups. 22 participants were placed in a group behavioral weight loss program with health coaches, while the other 22 participants were placed in a traditional more vigorous weight loss program. The results of the study found that the participants who had health coaches lost significant amounts of weight – at least five percent of their body weight – which was comparable to the results from the participants who were placed in more rigorous traditional weight loss programs.
While health coaches in Rhode Island have plenty of success stories, they also face plenty of challenges that take a toll on individual quality of life, workplace productivity, and government healthcare spending (Trust for America's Health, 2014):
There is no universal path to becoming a health coach. Rather, those who employ health coaches are the ones who specify a preference or requirement for some type of relevant degree or certification. Earning qualifications like these helps you to be more competitive, inspire greater confidence in your clients, and often fulfills an individual employer's minimum credential requirements.
As you prepare to earn a degree or professional certification, you will study topics that include:
Relevant Degree Options for Health Coaches
There are a number of colleges and universities throughout Rhode Island that offer relevant degree programs for health coaches. You can also find similar online programs offered nationally by schools that admit Rhode Island residents.
Associate's Degree Programs – Some entry-level jobs are available with a two-year degree:
Bachelor's Degree Programs – Bachelor’s degrees represent the most common degree requirement for health coach jobs:
Master's Degree Programs – If you already have a degree in another major, you can apply transferrable credits towards a master’s degree:
Earning a degree is a long term investment in your new career that you can build on. If you've already earned a degree in a different field it's possible that you can apply your old credits towards a relevant degree for health coaches. That also includes upgrading your degree.
Finding a Relevant Health Coach Certification Programs
If you don't want to invest years into earning a degree yet you can find a number of professional organizations that sponsor relevant national certifications. These are often available in an online format and can take weeks or months to complete. Each sponsoring organization sets its own requirements for certification, which usually involve completing a course of education and passing a final exam. There are many types of certification organizations with varying levels of accreditation.
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:
You can find detailed information about these programs in the ACE Certification Candidate Handbook.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) is another leading organizations dedicated to producing a large network of qualified health coaches around the world, enforcing high standards for the profession and offering independent certification. The organization provides several different credentialing options for coaches including:
Health coaches usually work in one of the following circumstances:
The following list shows examples of companies and organizations in Rhode Island that have been known to hire health coaches:
The following job vacancy announcements, sourced in August 2016, represent the types of employment opportunities available to properly credentialed health coaches in Rhode Island. These job vacancy announcements are shown for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to represent job offers or provide an assurance of employment.
Health Coach/Personal Trainer with Brown University's Department of Athletics and Recreation in Providence – In this position you are responsible for conducting fitness assessments, advancing healthy lifestyle choices, acting as a fitness resource for your clients, and improving the overall health of your clients.
To be successful you must pass a criminal background check and meet these requirements:
Health Coach with Lifespan in Providence – The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center found that health coaches may offer particular promise as a cost-effective obesity treatment strategy. As health coaches in this study, these professionals met their clients on a weekly basis to discuss their caloric intake, levels of fitness, and ways their clients could achieve their weight loss goals.
The health coaches employed in this study had these qualifications:
Nancy Najarian D'Arezzo in East Greenwich – D'Arezzo is an example of a health coach who started her own business. After gaining experience at a local gym in East Greenwich she wanted to expand the services she offerd her clients, leading her to found her own business. She specializes in inspiring and motivating women to be healthy, strong, and to live an authentic life.
D'Arezzo's résumé includes the following qualifications:
Local Health Coach Resources
Government agencies, initiatives, and professional organizations are another possible source where you can find additional information about working as a health coach in Rhode Island:
Government Resources and Programs
Professional, Private, and Nonprofit Organizations