Learn How to Become a Nutritionist Online


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)

You should apply to a licensing body approved by the Arizona Department of Public Health.

You have to get a license from the California State Dietetic Association and the State Board of Licensing . In California, to legally term yourself “dietitian” and put the terms “registered” and “licensed” by your name, on your office door and business cards and on your website, you need to pass the national Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination. The term nutritionist is not regulated.

If you want to practice you have to compile this consent form and meet the requirements listed.

In order to be a nutritionist in Florida, you must meet state mandated guidelines and pass exams in order to be one of three types of Nutritionists recognized in Florida. They are: registered dietitian; Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, and Licensed Nutrition Counselor. To be a registered dietitian in Florida, you must have at least a bachelors degree and also have completed 900 hours of practice. Then, the student is qualified to take the Florida Registered Dietitian Exam. In order to maintain Certification, you must complete Continuing Education Credits (CE’s) throughout your career.

You need a license from the Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians.

To practice in Maryland, you do not have to take a state examination. Maryland, instead, uses the national test the ADA requires for nutritionists. If you successfully pass the test, you will be able to get a job as a nutritionist in Maryland.

You should apply and become a member of the North Carolina Dietetic Association (NCDA) . Pass the exam from the Commission on Dietetic Registration and you will be able to practice in the state of North Carolina.

Pennsylvania has strict licensure regulations that must be met before anyone can work as a nutritionist or dietitian. Without a Pennsylvania license, you cannot practice in this state. The examination is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. The applicant in the state of Pennsylvania must pass the Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians.

Once all other requirements have been met, an applicant will take an examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Unlike many other states of the United States of America, you can practice as a nutritionist in the state of Virginia without having to apply for or receive a state license. You do have to meet the requirements of the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) an extension of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). These requirements are accepted by the Virginia State Licensing Board.

To work as a nutritionist in Canada, you first need a bachelor’s degree in Dietetic Education. Look for programs that help you get placement after you graduate.

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.

You will decide between being a dietitian, a nutritionist or to train for both careers. Only a dietitian can provide dietary recommendations to those individuals who are already in ill health
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.

Start by earning a Bachelor of Science or other undergraduate degree with a major in dietetics and nutrition. A graduate degree in dietetics is the next step after earning the undergraduate degree. This gives you the foundation you need to understand the physical and psychological as well as the biochemical factors of nutrition and how they work within the body.

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.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • sabrina

    i really want to be a nutritionist but i dont know where to start i live in fremont ca help please

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  • Sharyn

    I am ready for a career transition from a Hospital office to an area that I am very passionate about. Primarily focusing on Seniors Care, diet, nutritional support. Please advise

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  • Jeannette

    I am thinking about becoming a RN or a nutritionist. Is it the same path if you’re getting Associates Degree in Nursing? or would it take more years

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  • Kathleen Serrano

    I want to go back to school and become a nutritionist. I already have my AS degree and have worked as a Registered Dental Assistant for 26 years. I am 50 years old and wondering if it would be difficult to be hired at age 52, wich is when I will probably be finished with school.

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  • Dr. Marvin Swigart

    I would like ome info per the following. I have My Master’s in Nutrition, My doctorate in Health, I am a ND-A Naturopathis doctor na have my BS-Bachelors degree from A recognized University. I am completing my education to receive the title of Hygio/Physician. Could you tell me if I would be qualified to be a person that could help people with their nutritional needs? My other question is that one of the questions on this final exam that I am working on at present is –What are the penalties if any if a person practices as a dietitian without a license in Colorado? Could you provide some help with this question? Thanks for your efforts per the HB1060. If you don’t mind could you provide contact info so we can work together to maintain the privilege and opportunity to help people with their health and wellness. Thanks for your time in reading this. If you could answer my question per the penalty or penalties for practicing without a license I would appreciate it and be able to proceed with my exams. Thanks. Marvin -ND.

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  • Alex Santana

    I am 46 and I am A diabetic. I like to work out and now that I have to watch what I eat I want to become a personal sports trainer/nutritionist. My goal is by the time Im 50 or sooner, plus it will keep me young . And to Kathleen Serrano I don’t believe it would be to late to become a nutritionist at 50 because i feel everyone wants to feel and look their best as the years pass so I say go for it. Be sure to look me up in a few years , I want to practice in Santa Barbara cal where Im from.

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  • Tonya

    HI, I am a student at Kaplan University and I will have my BA complete in Nutrition Science in DEC and what I am now finding out is I will not be able to sit for the RD exam because this school is not accredited; I am completely furiated with this, considering the amount of money I have into my education. I was under the understanding even though it was not CADE approved that I could still take the exam. But I guess this is not the case and I live in Mi. where it is required to be certified to become an RD. So, although I will have a BA in Nutrition Science, I am left to wonder what job I will be able to land with this only. I am also considering Intergative Nutrition and becoming a Nutrition Consultant but then left taking more schooling. I feel at this point I do not have many options. Does anyone have any heplful suggestions for me? What type of work will I be able to do with only a BA degree in Nutrition and not a certification in Dietetics? Please help!

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  • Ben

    I would like to become a Registered Dietician and eventually a Master’s in Nutrition. I already have a BA in Multinational Business and was wondering if I will need to re-do 4 years of college for my BA in Nutrition.

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