State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

Virginia

Virginia Nutritionist Certification

There is currently no licensing law in Virginia for nutritionists and dieticians; however, Virginia law protects the rights of practice and protects the titles “nutritionist” and “dietician.”

Meeting Requirements to Practice Nutrition Care

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Specifically, individuals in Virginia may not advertise themselves as nutritionists unless they meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Possesses a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university in one of the following majors:
    • Nutritional sciences
    • Community nutrition
    • Public health nutrition
    • Food and nutrition
    • Dietetics
    • Human nutrition; AND

Has completed a program of supervised clinical experience approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) through the American Dietetic Association

  • Holds an active registration through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) through the American Dietetic Association
  • Holds an active certificate of the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists through the Board of Nutrition Specialists
  • Holds an active accreditation by the Diplomats or Fellows of the American Board of Nutrition
  • Holds a current license or certificate as a nutritionist in another state
  • Holds the minimum education, training, and experience as determined by the Virginia Board of Health Professions:
    • A bachelor’s degree with a major in foods and nutrition or dietetics (or has a bachelor’s degree with coursework in food and nutrition); AND
    • Has two years of work experience in nutrition or dietetics; AND
    • Is employed by or under contract with a governmental agency

Obtaining a Maryland Nutritionist License in Virginia

Due to Virginia’s lack of nutritionist licensure, it is commonplace for Virginia nutritionists to hold nutritionist licenses in Maryland through the Maryland State Board of Dietetic Practice.

Maryland licenses individuals as dieticians-nutritionists, which require the completion of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in dietetics; OR
  • A master’s or doctoral degree in one of the following:
    • Nutritional sciences (with an emphasis in human nutrition)
    • Food and nutrition
    • Dietetics
    • Human nutrition
    • Community nutrition
    • Public health nutrition
    • An equivalent program approved by the Board; AND
  • A supervised clinical experience approved by the Board of at least 1,000 hours; AND
  • An examination approved by the Board:

Certification Standards for Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS) in Virginia

In the absence of nutritionist licensure in Virginia, many nutritionists choose to achieve the certified nutrition specialist (CNS) certificate through the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. The CNS credential is currently recognized in 13 states and is included in the existing title law in Virginia.

Individuals who want to qualify to achieve the CNS credential must meet the following, minimum requirements:

  • Possess a master’s or doctoral degree in nutrition from a regionally accredited college or university or a professional degree (MD, DO, DDS, DPM, Doctor of Nursing, etc.)
  • Possess at least 9 semester hours in nutrition; 6 hours in biochemistry; 12 semester hours in clinical, life or physical sciences; and 3 semester hours in physiology
  • Complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised professional experience
  • Pass a written examination
  • Complete at least 75 hours of approved continuing education in nutrition every 5 years

Nutritionist Salary and Jobs in Virginia

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metropolitan area of Winchester VA-WV ranked fourth in the nation for its concentration of nutritionist jobs. The annual, mean salary for nutritionists there during this time was $56,740.

Thanks to an increased awareness of the importance of good nutrition and holistic care, nutritionists in Virginia can be found working for a number of companies, organizations, and associations. The largest employers of nutritionists in Virginia, however, are likely found throughout Virginia’s largest hospital systems:

  • Winchester Medical Center
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center
  • University of Virginia Medical Center
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • Mary Washington Hospital
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

 

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