How Do Nutrition Licensing Laws Affect You, the Practitioner?
Nutrition licensing laws outline who can use nutrition tools in clinical practice. Additionally, there are licensing laws for many professions that may reference or specifically outline the use of nutrition care as part of their legal scope. A professional should be familiar with all laws that impact their right to use nutrition care in their practice.
There are five scenarios in which you, the health professional, can legally use nutrition tools in your practice:
- You are Licensed as Nutritionist/Dietitian - You are a nutritionist and/or Dietitian whose academic training, professional credential, and professional experience meet the law’s specifications to be licensed in your state
- Your Healthcare License Includes Nutrition - Your profession is licensed in your state and your defined scope of practice includes language outlining the use of specific nutrition tools as part of your practice (e.g. dietary counseling, supplements, herbal therapy).
- Your Healthcare License is Exempt from Nutrition Law - Your profession is licensed in your state and the nutrition law contains an exemption for “licensed health professionals” in general, or your profession specifically, to freely use nutrition tools, or to use nutrition tools as an adjunct to your primary profession.
- You Are Exempt From Licensure - Your profession or work in the community is not licensed but you are identified in the state nutrition law as being exempt from requiring a nutrition license to use some or all stated nutrition tools; or
- Nutrition Care is not Criminalized - The nutrition licensure law does not criminalize people who do not have the license but rather protects the use of the titles Nutritionist and/or Dietician, or there is no licensure law for nutrition in your state
The reality is that many care providers in most states cannot legally practice nutrition. Review below to assess the impact of nutrition laws on your profession. Note that for some professions the impact varies substantially by state.