Nutritionists and dietitians are professionals who provide awareness and education about nutritious foods and how they support health. There are specific criteria that must be met to become a nutritionist and they can vary by state. Currently, New Jersey is one of the states where licensure is not required, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. With some experience or training in nutrition, you can apply and obtain a job working as a nutritionist. However, many other states require certification or licensure so it could be advantageous to gain experience that could support licensure in another state if you decided to relocate.
Obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in nutrition from a college or university accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). It is important to obtain a degree that provides exposure to a wide range of topics in order to be able to work in a variety of settings. Although the basic tenets of nutrition are similar, there are different considerations for working as a nutritionist that depend on the location.
Complete an internship. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) requires that licensure applicants complete a one-year internship at minimum. The school you attend may have additional requirements such as the number of hours required per week or the types of tasks you are required to complete.
Prepare for and successfully complete a national competency examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Passing this exam is one of the most beneficial accomplishments because the CDR examinations are recognized on a national versus regional level.
Identify continuing education (CE) opportunities to obtain updated training and to further develop your skills as industry standards change. Obtaining CE credits is recommended and often required by the ADA.