State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Tennessee Nutritionist Certification

The Tennessee Board of Dietician/Nutritionist Examiners views the dietician/nutritionist as practicing one of the “healing arts.” The practice of nutrition is therefore restricted to only those persons credentialed by the Board.

The Board of Dieticians/Nutritionists Examiners was created in 1987, with a mission to “safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans” by requiring those who practice dietetics and nutrition to be qualified; the Board therefore interprets the laws, rules, and regulations as to determine the appropriate standards of practice.

Becoming a Licensed Nutritionist by Examination in Tennessee: Degree, Examination, and Supervised Experience Requirements

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Individuals who want to become a nutritionist in Tennessee must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university, with major course of study in:
    • Human nutrition
    • Food and nutrition
    • Dietetics
    • Food systems management
    • An equivalent course of study approved by the Board

There are currently nine didactic education programs in Tennessee.

  • Complete a pre-professional experience in the practice of nutrition that consists of no less than 900 hours; the program must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Be completed under the supervision of a registered dietician
    • Be a supervised clinical experience that is recognized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association; there are currently six approved dietetic internship programs in Tennessee

Dieticians/nutritionists may also be licensed by reciprocity in Tennessee if they hold a valid, issued as a dietician or nutritionist in any state, provided the Board deems the license as substantially equivalent to Tennessee’s licensure requirements.

Applying to Become a Nutritionist in Tennessee

Candidates who meet the minimum above requirements for licensure as a nutritionist in Tennessee must complete an Application for Licensure and complete the following:

  • Sign and notarize the application for licensure
  • Request an official transcript to be sent directly from the institution to the Board
  • Submit a signed, passport-style photograph taken within the last 12 months
  • Submit a copy of a current CDR registration (copy must be signed and notarized)
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from a professional attesting to the applicant’s personal character and professional ethics
  • Submit the licensure/application fee of $140 (made payable to the State of Tennessee)
  • Complete Steps 2-11 if applying through reciprocity  and complete and mail Attachment 1 to each state, country, or province in which a license is held
  • Complete the Mandatory Practitioner Profile
  • Complete the Declaration of Citizenship attachment

The completed application and all related documents must be mailed to:

Board of Dietitian/Nutritionist Examiners
665 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Note: Applicants may apply for a temporary permit by adding an additional $5 fee to the licensure/application fee and submitting proof that they are approved to take the CDR examination.

Renewing Nutritionist Licenses in Tennessee

Nutritionist licenses in Tennessee are renewed on the last day of the month of the applicant’s birthdate on a biennial basis. The online renewal process is completed through the Tennessee Department of Health’s Online License Renewal page.

Continuing education in Tennessee is not mandatory; however, it is considered the standard. To maintain competency as a licensed nutritionist in Tennessee, individuals are encouraged to attend and participate in professional continuing education programs. Continuing education opportunities may be found throughout Tennessee’s many regional and state professional nutrition associations:

Tennessee School Nutrition Association
Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Tennessee Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals
West Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Chattanooga Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Knoxville Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Nashville Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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