State governments play a vital role in creating and implementing policies that serve and protect the public. In the areas of food, nutrition and health, states may inspect or certify some food and food products, administer programs that provide food assistance and nutrition education to individuals and families, establish educational standards for schools, administer public health programs, regulate nursing homes, oversee insurance programs and help provide coverage for many. States also license health care and other service providers, including dietetics professionals, to assure the public that individuals providing health and personal services have met education, experience and examination requirements.
State Dietetic Associations
State Government Affairs Links
The majority of states have enacted laws that regulate the practice of dietetics. State licensure and state certification are entirely separate and distinct from registration or certification by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. For state regulation purposes, the terms licensure, statutory certification, and registration are defined as the following:
- Licensing - statutes include an explicitly defined scope of practice, and performance of the profession is illegal without first obtaining a license from the state.
- Statutory certification - limits use of particular titles to persons meeting predetermined requirements, while persons not certified can still practice the occupation or profession.
- Registration - is the least restrictive form of state regulation. As with certification, unregistered persons are permitted to practice the profession. Typically, exams are not given and enforcement of the registration requirement is minimal.
Dietetics practitioners are licensed by states to ensure that only qualified, trained professional provide nutrition services or advice to individuals requiring or seeking nutrition care or information. Only state-licensed dietetics professionals can provide nutrition counseling. Nonlicensed practitioners may be subject to prosecution for practicing without a license.
States with certification laws limit the use of particular titles such as “dietitian” or “nutritionist” to persons meeting predetermined requirements; however, persons not certified can still practice. Consumers in these states who are seeking nutrition therapy assistance need to be more cautious and aware of the qualifications of the provider they choose.