Nutritionist Career Overview

Not all states require nutritionists to be licensed in order to practice legally. According to the Commission on Dietetic Re Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the following states do not require formal certification, licensure or occupational regulation for nutritionists:

Keep in mind, however, that even in states without licensure requirements for nutritionists, some employers require nutritionists to be certified or registered through organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) or the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB). This career page will focus strictly on Non-Licensed Nutritionists who are not required to be registered or certified with any organization. Non-Licensed Nutritionists usually work in non-clinical settings, such as holistic and alternative medicine clinics and centers.

Nutritionist Education Requirements

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Because Non-Licensed Nutritionists are not regulated by any certifying body or state agency, there are no prescribed educational mandates for the profession. It is necessary for a prospective Non-Licensed Nutritionist to have a thorough knowledge of nutrition and foods. Some employers of Non-Licensed Nutritionists may require that they have a minimum of an associate’s degree. Other Non-Licensed Nutritionists jobs call for a master’s degree.

Courses for Non-Licensed Nutritionists may be available at traditional colleges and universities, as well as at specialized trade schools and alternative medicine centers. Classes that aspiring Non-Licensed Nutritionists should take include:

  • Sciences (chemistry, biology, microbiology, anatomy)
  • Nutrition along the lifespan
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Organic herbs and potions
  • Body systems and functions
  • Medical terminology
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Biopsychology

Much of the knowledge that Non-Licensed Nutritionists have is gained through experience. Some alternative medicine schools and clinics offer students the opportunity to work in a practicum or internship setting. This can provide students with valuable real-life work experience that can be very beneficial when seeking work as a Non-Licensed Nutritionist as apposed to a nutritionist degree.

Nutritionist Job Description

Non-Licensed Nutritionists may work in traditional or alternative settings. Usually, their jobs entail providing advice and nutritionist with clipboardcounseling to clients on nutritional and dietary matters. Job duties may be tailored to the job setting for a Non-Licensed Nutritionist. Sites in which one may find a Non-Licensed Nutritionist, in states not requiring licensure for nutritionists, include:

  • Alternative medicine practice
  • Holistic health center
  • Private practice
  • Community centers
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Fitness and beauty centers
  • Retail and industry

Duties for a Non-Licensed Nutritionist may include:

  • Assessing the nutritional needs of clients
  • Offering nutritional advice and counseling to clients
  • Creating individualized nutrition plans for clients
  • Public education on nutrition, both traditional and alternative/holistic
  • Consulting with other health professionals for the good of the client

Nutritionist Skills Required

The skills that a Non-Licensed Nutritionist should have include:

  • Public speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Critical thinking and reasoning
  • Reading comprehension
  • Sensitivity to others’ feelings, actions and reactions
  • Problem-solving
  • Teaching/instructing
  • Decision-making
  • Judgment
  • Flexibility in thinking and open-mindedness

Licensure/Certification Qualifications

Because Non-Licensed Nutritionists are not required to be licensed, there are no qualifications that one must fulfill through any credentialing body, state or other jurisdictional regulating body.

Nutritionist Average Income

It is difficult to pinpoint an average income for Non-Licensed Nutritionists in the United States, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor does not maintain separate statistics for nutritionists without licenses. In May 2012, the mean annual income for a Licensed Nutritionist was $56,170. It can be inferred that Non-Licensed Nutritionists might earn slightly less than Licensed Nutritionists, but it all depends upon the employer and type of industry in which one works. For example, a recent scan of job openings for Non-Licensed Nutritionists revealed the following statistics:

  • Non-Licensed Nutritionist, Prince William County (Virginia) Department of Health – $35,000 annually
  • Nutrition Sales and Service Manager, Metabolic Research Center, Conway, Arkansas – $60,000 annually
  • Non-Licensed Nutritionist Health Educator, WIC Clinic, Lafayette, Louisiana – $25,860 to $54,792 annually
  • Non-Licensed Nutritionist II, WIC Clinic, Spartanburg County, North Carolina – 25,627 to $47,413 annually

Nutritionist Job Outlook and Demand

The BLS says that between 2010 and 2020, job opportunities for nutritionists and dietitians will increase by as much as 28 percent. It is expected that opportunities for Non-Licensed Nutritionist will increase similarly, as alternative and non-traditional medicine is becoming more accepted in the United States.

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