The first step to be a nutritionist is to get a degree from college or school accredited (*) by the American dietetic association (ADA) . An associate degree (2 years) can lead to a career as a dietetic technician while a bachelor or master degree can lead to a career as a licensed nutritionist or registered dietitian.
A Bachelor’s degree takes 4 years while a Master’s degree can expect to attend another year or two. You can take courses like food service systems management, weight management , food and nutrition sciences, biology, anatomy, chemistry, culinary arts and exercise. Courses may also include sociology, statistics, economics, business, and computer science.
(*) Some state requirements may vary, see below for more details.
Participate in an Internship
The ADA requires to complete a dietetic internship (900 hours by an ADA accredited institution) after students finish their degree, and some states may require a supervised experience before approving their application for a license.
Apply for a State License
After the degree and the internship, graduates need to apply for a license from their state in order to practice legally. Almost all states require a license to practice professionally. They should check the requirements from their state’s Dietetic Association and their state’s Board of Licensing. The Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination is also required for individuals who want to be registered nutritionists.
Once a student has become a licensed nutritionist, then they can begin to work as a clinical nutritionist, public health nutritionist, food service manager, nutrition educator, sports nutritionist, holistic nutritionist, pediatric nutritionist (More job options available here)
How to be a nutritionist by state/country
This is a complete list of state licensing requirements here and here. This is a free .pdf about state medical boards . If the term Nutritionist is not legally regulated (e.g. California), you can practice by following the requirements of this consent form. I’d suggest you read this book too: Legal Guidelines For Unlicensed Practitioners (here)
If you want to practice you have to compile this consent form and meet the requirements listed.
The next step after graduating with a degree is to do an internship listed at Dietitians of Canada. This is the organization that oversees all educational requirements and licensing of both nutritionists and dietitians. The Dietitians of Canada website offers valuable resources and the steps needed to become a licensed nutritionist in Canada, including internship opportunities.
Become a member of Dietitians of Canada, which you can do after finishing your internship. The application is online. Dietitians of Canada provide information, continuing education opportunities, evaluation and even assists in job placement.
Each province has its regulations regarding those who work as nutritionists within that province. These requirements must be met before you receive your license and can practice in the province from which you receive your license. Contact the licensing body for the province in which you want to work.
The first step in becoming a nutritionist in the UK is to take either an under or graduate nutrition course recognized by the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists . This registry is highly regarded, and employers will check to see if you meet their criteria.
In the UK, nutritionists have the choice of four different divisions of career paths. These include industry, health improvement, nutrition in government and policy, and research. Except for the career in health improvement, you will need at least a bachelor of science degree in nutrition.
The next step is to register with The Nutrition Society. Registry with this organization tells employers you are a nutritionist of integrity who is worthy of their trust.
After graduating with your degree from an accredited university, apply to the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) . The DAA is a professional organization that equips members with the latest nutrition and health statistics, news, data and information. Being a participating member of DAA opens up opportunities for employment.