The Georgia Labor Market Explorer predicts that the demand for dietitians and nutritionists in the state will increase by more than 16 percent from 2006 through 2016. To work as a nutritionist in Georgia, a professional license is necessary. The Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians oversees the licensing program, establishing and enforcing its requirements.
The Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians requires that nutritionists meet minimum education and training requirements to receive a state license. All applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a field related to dietetics and nutrition. Four Georgia universities offer programs that fulfill this requirement, according to the "2009 Barron's Profiles of American Colleges." These schools are Fort Valley State in Fort Valley, Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Georgia State in Atlanta and the University of Georgia in Athens. In addition to the degree, prospective nutritionists must complete a 900-hour field internship program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetic Education.
In addition to completing the required education, the Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians mandates that all nutrition licensing candidates pass a standardized test. The Commission on Dietetic Registration develops the examination, which is given using a computer at ACT Centers throughout Georgia. The test consists of at least 125 questions. Candidates who score highly enough to pass at the conclusion of those initial questions can finish the exam; those who have not can continue answering up to 20 additional questions until they obtain enough correct answers or answer enough incorrectly to make passing impossible.
Georgia nutritionists must meet additional requirements to gain Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians licensing. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to qualify. Additionally, they must complete an application and submit a 3 x 5-inch photograph to the board. Payment of a registration fee is also necessary. As of 2010, the amount of the fee was $75. Once issued, nutritionist licenses remain valid for two years, expiring on the last day of March in even numbered years. To maintain licensing, nutritionists must complete 30 hours of state-approved continuing education coursework during each licensing cycle.
The Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Dietitians has alternate licensing requirements for nutritionists who already hold a license to practice in another state. Such dietitians must submit the required application, fee and photograph to the board along with a photocopy of their license. The board then contacts the states that issued the dietitians' licenses to confirm that the credentials are valid and not restricted in any way. After confirmation, the board will issue a license to out-of-state credentialed nutritionists.