Medical nutrition therapy is a medical treatment. Like other non-physician practitioners providing medical treatments, registered dietitian nutritionists generally can practice MNT because of licensure and certification laws, which provide authority for RDNs to provide this medical service. It is with this understanding that the Academy strongly recommends — unless there is an applicable exception or exemption or a state does not provide for licensure or certification requirements — practitioners hold licensure or certification in all states where the practitioner's clients or patients are located when services are provided.
Links to State Boards, Statutes and Regulations
Statute and Regulation Details
Licensure (or Certification) by Endorsement of RDN Credential/Exemptions
Licensure (or Certification) by Reciprocity or Endorsement of Another License
Sec. 75. Endorsement. The Department may, in its discretion, license as a dietitian nutritionist, without examination, on payment of required fee, an applicant who is a dietitian, dietitian nutritionist, or nutritionist licensed or certified under the laws of another state, territory, or country, if the Department determines that the requirements for licensure in the state, territory, or country in which the applicant was licensed were, at the date of his or her licensure, substantially equal to the requirements of this Act.
Temporary/Provisional Licensure (or Certification)
Sec. 15. License required. (b) This Section does not prohibit the provision of medical nutrition therapy by: a person who is licensed to practice dietetics and nutrition under the law of another state, territory of the United States, or country and has applied in writing to the Department in form and substance satisfactory to the Department for a license as a dietitian nutritionist until (i) the expiration of 6 months after filing the written application, (ii) the withdrawal of the application, or (iii) the denial of the application by the Department.
Sec. 20. Exemptions.
This Act does not prohibit or restrict:
(a) Any person licensed in this State under any other Act from engaging in the practice for which he or she is licensed as long as the person does not hold oneself out as qualified, able, or licensed to provide medical nutrition therapy or use a title in connection with the person's name whose use is restricted to individuals licensed under this Act, as specified in Section 80.
(b) Any person from providing medical nutrition therapy if that person is employed by the United States or State government or any of its bureaus, divisions, departments, or agencies while in the discharge of the employee's official duties.
(c) The distribution of general nonmedical nutrition information by a person employed as a cooperative extension home economist, to the extent the activities are part of his or her employment.
(d) The provision of medical nutrition therapy by a person pursuing a course of study leading to a degree in dietetics, nutrition, or an equivalent major from a United States regionally accredited school or program, but only if all of the following apply if: (i) the activities and services constitute a part of a supervised course of study; (ii) the person does not engage in the independent private practice of medical nutrition therapy; (iii) the person is appropriately supervised by a qualified supervisor who agrees to assume full professional responsibility for the work of the individual by verifying, directing, and authorizing the work; and (iv) and the person is designated by a title that clearly indicates the person's status as a student, trainee, or supervisee.
(e-5) The activities and services of an individual seeking to fulfill post-degree supervised practice experience requirements in order to qualify for licensing as a licensed dietitian nutritionist under this Act, so long as the individual is not engaged in the independent private practice of medical nutrition therapy and is in compliance with all applicable regulations regarding supervision, including, but not limited to, the requirement that the supervised practice experience must be under the order, control, and full professional responsibility of the individual's supervisor and the individual is designated by a title that clearly indicates the person's status as a student, trainee, or supervisee. The Department may, by rule, adopt further limitations on individuals practicing under this subsection.
(f) A person, including a licensed acupuncturist, from:
(1) providing verbal nutrition information as an operator or employee of a health food store or business that sells health products, including dietary supplements, food, herbs, or food materials; or
(2) disseminating written general nonmedical nutrition information in connection with the marketing and distribution of those products, or discussing the use of those products, both individually and as components of nutritional programs, including explanations of their federally regulated label claims, any known drug-nutrient interactions, their role in various nonindividualized diets, or suggestions as how to best use and combine them.
(g) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services by an educator who is in the employ of a nonprofit organization; a federal, state, county, or municipal agency, or other political subdivision; an elementary or secondary school; or a regionally accredited institution of higher education, as long as the activities and services of the educator are part of his or her employment.
(h-5) An individual providing medical weight control services for individuals with prediabetes or obesity if:
(1) under a program of instruction approved in writing by, consultation is available from, and no program change can be initiated without prior approval by one of the following: a dietitian nutritionist licensed in this State; or a State-licensed health care professional lawfully practicing within the scope of a license granted by the State to provide the scope of the individual's licensed profession and consistent with accepted professional standards for providing nutrition care services to treat or manage the disease or medical condition for which medical weight control is being provided; or
(2) as part of a plan of care overseen and delegated by a State-licensed health care professional lawfully practicing within the scope of a license granted by the State to provide acting within the scope of the individual's licensed profession and consistent with accepted professional standards for providing nutrition care services to treat or manage the disease or medical condition for which medical weight control is being provided.
(i) The practice of dietetics and nutrition services for the limited purpose of education and research by any person with a masters or doctorate degree with a major in nutrition or equivalent from a regionally accredited school recognized by the Department.
(j) A person from providing general nonmedical nutrition information, nutrition recommendations for prevention and wellness, health coaching, holistic and wellness education, guidance, motivation, behavior change management, nonmedical weight control, or other nutrition care services provided that any such services do not constitute medical nutrition therapy and as long as the person does not hold oneself out as qualified, able, or licensed to provide medical nutrition therapy or use a title in connection with the individual's name whose use is restricted to individuals licensed under this Act, as specified in Section 80.
(k) The provision of nutrition care services by a nutrition and dietetic technician or a graduate of a 2 year associate program or a 4 year baccalaureate program from a school or program accredited at the time of graduation by the appropriate accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education with a major course of study in human nutrition, food and nutrition or its equivalent, as authorized by the Department, who is directly supervised by an individual licensed under this Act.
(l) Providing nutrition information as an employee of a nursing facility operated exclusively by and for those relying upon spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination.
(m) A dietary technical support person working in a hospital setting or a regulated Department of Public Health, Department of Human Services, or Department on Aging facility or program who has been trained and is supervised while engaged in the practice of dietetics and nutrition by a licensed dietitian nutritionist in accordance with this Act and whose services are retained by that facility or program on a full-time or regular, ongoing consultant basis.
(n) The provision of nutrition care services without remuneration to family members.
(o) The practice of dietetics and nutrition for a period not exceeding 6 months by a person who is in the State on a temporary basis to assist in a case of public health emergency and who meets the qualifications for a licensed dietitian nutritionist as set forth in Section 45 and is licensed in another state as a provider of medical nutrition therapy.
The provisions of this Act shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any person from the free dissemination of information, from conducting a class or seminar, or from giving a speech related to nutrition if that person does not hold himself or herself out as a licensed dietitian nutritionist in a manner prohibited by Section 15.
Nothing in this Section shall be construed to permit a student, trainee, or supervisee to offer the student's, trainee's, or supervisee's services as a dietitian or nutritionist to any other person, other than as specifically excepted in this Section, unless the student, trainee, or supervisee is licensed under this Act.
The provisions of this Act shall not be construed to prohibit or limit any physician licensed under the Medical Practice Act of 1987 from practicing or delegating nutrition-related therapies and procedures by consultation, by organization policy, or by contract to an appropriately trained, qualified, and supervised individual licensed under this Act.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the ability of any other licensed health care professional in this State to order therapeutic diets if the ordering of therapeutic diets falls within the scope of the licensee's license.
Updated August 2023
Disclaimer: This page is not intended to constitute legal or career advice. All information, content and materials are for general informational purposes only and may not represent the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites, which are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites, nor does such information necessarily constitute a legally binding interpretation of state policy. The ultimate authority to interpret each state's requirements is the licensing board or agency of that state.
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