For those individuals that are interested in becoming a certified clinical nutritionist you will need to enroll in a four year bachelor’s degree program that is accredited by the American Dietetic Association, through a university or college. These clinical nutritionist programs can also be found through online university programs.
Clinical Nutritionist Course Requirements
In a bachelor’s program you can have a major in human nutrition, nutritional science, dietetics or another science related field. Programs will be regulated by the ADA and the Nutrition Certification board, both of which will require the program to feature courses in physiology and anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, human biology, biochemistry and organic chemistry. The ADA also requires students to take additional classes in nutrition assessment, basic nutrition and natural supplementations. Courses in naturalistic medicine and herbal medicine may also be requirements, depending on the school.
Post graduate degrees are also available for individuals seeking certification in clinical nutrition. Doctors of osteopathy, medical doctors, optometrists, physical therapists, registered nurses, dentists, and physician assistants will qualify for this type of certification. As an alternative some graduates may choose to complete a doctorate or master’s degree in human nutrition before they become certified as a nutritionist.
The certification board for this profession will require any potential applicants to have completed the post graduate program in clinical nutrition before being eligible for the certification exam. This type of program will feature courses in environment health issues, biochemistry, toxicity, medical conditions, lab assessments and other types of skills that are needed for clinical nutritionists. Individuals that have a doctorate or master’s degree in human nutrition might be exempt from completing some of these courses.
Earning Your Nutritionist Certification Depending on the State
The last step in earning your certification as a clinical nutritionist will be to take the exam that’s offered by the clinical nutrition certification board. The exam will test applicant’s knowledge on topics covered in an accredited program. Those individuals that pass the certification will receive their credentials in this field.
Once they begin their career in this field the nutritionist will be responsible for obtaining 12 hours of continuing education every year in order to renew their license. In states that do not require licensure for the nutritionist the professional will need to earn their CE hours through the ADA. This can be done through the ADA website or other nutritionist regulating organizations. States that do require licensure for this field will feature state administered renewal exams, seminars and college level at home or online study courses. Depending on the state in which you reside, the amount of continuing education hours that are required yearly may vary and can range from 14 to 30 hours every one to two years.