What Requirements Do You Need to Be a Nutritionist in Virginia?

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Nutritionists may counsel patients regarding healthful food choices.
Nutritionists may counsel patients regarding healthful food choices. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Nutritionists are health care professionals who specialize in the nutritional value of foods, to include the pharmacological value of nutrients. They may work in hospitals or other health care facilities. They may serve as educators or consultants in community, organizational or educational settings. Most states require nutritionists and dietitians to be licensed, certified or registered, but in those states that don't it is possible for individuals with little or no formal training to refer to themselves as nutritionists. The state of Virginia has specific laws governing the qualifications of nutritionists.

Bachelor's Degree

An individual may use the title of nutritionist in Virginia if she has earned at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in dietetics, nutritional sciences, human nutrition, public health nutrition, community nutrition or food and nutrition. The candidate must additionally graduate from a supervised clinical program that has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.

Registration or Certification

An individual may use the title of nutritionist in Virginia if she is currently holds the registered dietitian credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association. She may claim the title of nutritionist if she is certified by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists through the Board of Nutrition Specialists. She may use the title of nutritionist if she is currently accredited by the Diplomats or Fellows of the American Board of Nutrition.

Other Qualifications

Individuals who are currently licensed or certified as a nutritionist by another state may use the title of nutritionist in the state of Virginia. Individuals who work under contract for a governmental agency, who have at least two years of relevant work experience in the nutrition field, and who hold the equivalent number of hours of college-level study in food and nutrition as is required for a bachelor's degree in nutrition may refer to themselves as nutritionists.

Considerations

Individuals may not use the terms "certified," "licensed" or "registered" in combination with the title of nutritionist unless the appropriate requirements for those modifiers have been met. Individuals who represent themselves as nutritionists in the state of Virginia without meeting the statutory requirements are guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

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