health care professionals
Jobs By Education Level

How to Become a Dietitian and Nutritionist in Florida: Licensure Requirements for Both

Florida licenses both dietitians and nutritionists. They are licensed by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) under advisement by the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council. There are several eligibility pathways. Some pathways, though, are only viable for professionals who hold graduate degrees.

All applicants must demonstrate academic education and supervised practice that is acceptable to the Florida Board. All must pass an examination. There are fully three examinations that have been approved for licensing purposes.

Approved examinations are those administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialist (BCNS), and the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (ACBN). Master’s degree holders may meet BCNS requirements (http://www.nutritionspecialists.org/). Healthcare professionals with education at the doctoral level may meet the requirements of the ACBN (http://www.acbn.org).

Select a Florida Licensed Dietitian or Nutritionist Topic:

Dietitian and Nutritionist Educational Requirements and Options

The prospective licensee will earn, at minimum, a bachelor's degree. The following courses of study can be accepted:

  • Dietetics
  • Food and nutrition
  • Food management
  • Human nutrition

U.S. programs are to be accredited by agencies recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.

Prospective students will want to look ahead to make sure that their education also fulfills the requirements of any third party certification organization through which they will be seeking credentialing.

In order to be registered by the Commission on Dietetic Certification, a person will need to complete a program that is either accredited or approved by the national accreditation agency for the dietetic profession (ACEND). Accredited programs are listed on the ACEND website. Accredited programs may be at the bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s level. Some even result in master’s degrees.

A person who already holds a bachelor’s degree may want to have transcripts evaluated by an ACEND-accredited organization. Degreed professionals may find themselves with multiple options.

Individuals who will be seeking certification as Clinical Nutrition Specialists through the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists will need to make sure that they have adequate graduate coursework in nutrition-specific and nutrition-related content areas. Nutrition-related coursework includes physiology or A/P, biochemistry, and clinical or life sciences (http://www.nutritionspecialists.org/become-cns/requirements-overview).

Supplemental Classwork in Medical Errors: The prospective dietitian/ nutritionist will also need to complete a brief course in medical errors before a permanent license can be issued. The two-hour course can be obtained through a continuing education provider. Applicants are referred to the Florida DOH tracking system (www.CEBroker.com).

Pre-Professional Experience Requirements

Florida mandates 900 hours of pre-professional experience. There are two options. The experience may meet ACEND internship requirements; in this case, the experience will automatically be accepted by the licensing department. It is also an option to meet Florida requirements and document their completion on a verification form. In this instance, the applicant will need to document 200 hours of clinical nutrition experience and 200 hours of community nutrition experience.

An individual who seeks registration through the Commission on Dietetic Registration can expect to complete 1,200 hours. The full 1,200 hours are contained within a coordinated program. Didactic students can apply for internship as they are nearing completion of their degrees. Students typically participate in a centralized matching system. However, some will have been pre-selected due to existing ties (as allowed by policies of the national third party organization). Graduates of Florida schools can apply for internship in any part of the nation.

Nutritionists who will be seeking certification as Clinical Nutritionist Specialists will also need to meet requirements slightly above those that have been set down in Florida law. The Certification Board requires 1,000 hours.

An applicant whose internship experience was approved by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists or the American Clinical Board of Nutrition may be able to skip one portion of the license application.

Dietitian and Nutritionist Examination and Certification Options

Although Florida accepts three different examinations for licensing purposes, there is one specific one that they can expect to be registered for if they have not already tested as part of the certification process for a national third party organization.

Certification candidates can go directly to the website of their selected organization for information about examination registration.

Those applicants who have not earned a qualifying certification will take the examination developed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration after their qualifications have been approved. This is referred to as license by examination. These applicants can expect to receive information from the CDR once they have been authorized. They are asked to request that their examination results be sent to the Florida Dietetic and Nutrition Practice Council.

A temporary permit can allow an applicant to begin work before passing the examination.

Out-of-State Dietitians and Nutritionists

Out-of-state nutritionists and dietitians have multiple options. They may present any of three qualifying certifications (the most common being CDR registration).

Out-of-state licensees can also apply by endorsement of their state license. However, they will, in this case, need to demonstrate that the requirements under which they were licensed were at least equivalent to those currently in place in Florida. The licensing department notes that other qualifications (for example, experience or references) are not given consideration.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the DOH website (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/application-and-forms/index.html). It is now an option to apply online.

In most cases, the licensing department can verify CDR certification directly. This is considered a form of endorsement. Applicants may present certifications by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialist or the American Clinical Board of Nutrition to the licensing department at the time of application and request ‘license by examination with waiver’.

Applicants who are applying by examination or examination with waiver will need to provide transcripts.

The fee is currently $165 for an applicant who is applying by examination or examination by waiver. If the applicant requires a temporary permit, there will be an additional $50 charge, bringing the total due to $215. An endorsement applicant pays $140 ($290 if he or she is also seeking a temporary permit).

The licensing department notes that applicants applying by endorsement of Registered Dietitian status can generally be approved quickly, making a temporary permit unnecessary.

Applicants can monitor their status online.

Renewal Requirements

Florida has a biennial license renewal cycle for dietitians and nutritionists. The continuing education requirement is 30 hours. Requirements are reduced during the initial license period (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/continuing-education/index.html).

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Florida Department of Health (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/). The Customer Contact Center can be reached at (850) 488-0595.

The Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an additional professional resource for dietitians (http://www.eatrightflorida.org).