Consumer Protection and Licensure

Forty-six states currently have statutory provisions regarding professional regulation of dietitians and/or nutritionists. The rationale for legislatures acting to protect these titles is that the public deserves access to professionals that are qualified by education, experience and examination to provide nutrition care services. Enacting licensure laws in states without current regulations and protecting current licensure remains a high priority for the Academy.

Licensure provides the public, health insurance companies, and state and federal governments with the assurance that practitioners meet standards of professional competence in order to be reimbursed for providing nutrition care services. In states without licensure, nutrition professionals may be reimbursed despite meeting only some of the qualifications required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Key issues:

  • Scope creep is the provision of the dietetics/nutrition services by professionals licensed for other health care professions who do not have the specialized training of RDNs and who are not working under the supervision of or in collaboration with RDNs. 
  • Unqualified practitioners are individual who do not have the education, experience and examination to demonstrate their competency in the field of nutrition and dietetics.