Florida Licensure Information
The importance of licensure
The consumer protection efforts of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) ensure that consumers are able to identify and access qualified professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, skill and competency necessary to provide safe and ethical nutrition therapy. As the public increasingly understands the importance of good nutrition, some individuals without any formal education, training or expertise in human nutrition or dietetics are exploiting this newly recognized market.1
Florida Laws and Statutes
The State of Florida has adopted “practice exclusivity” licensure laws and regulations specifying the minimum credentials required to (1) use various titles, such as “dietitian,” “nutritionist,” “licensed dietitian nutritionist” or “registered dietitian nutritionist” and (2) provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) or other dietetics and nutrition services. Practice exclusivity means a license is required to provide MNT or to practice dietetics.
Medical Nutrition Therapy is defined as:
“Nutritional diagnostic, therapy, and counseling services for the purpose of disease management which are furnished by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional…” (source Medicare MNT legislation, 2000). MNT is a specific application of the Nutrition Care Process in clinical settings that is focused on the management of diseases. MNT involves in-depth individualized nutrition assessment and a duration and frequency of care using the Nutrition Care Process to manage disease.2
Whereasnutrition and wellness education is defined as the reinforcement of basic or essential nutrition-related knowledge. Those who do not have a state license can provide general health and wellness advice in settings such as retail, fitness centers, schools, etc.
The licensing process within the State of Florida is overseen by the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council, which is “an advisory council under the supervision of the Board of Medicine and was legislatively established to ensure that every dietitian, nutritionist or nutrition counselor practicing in this state meets minimum requirements for safe practice. The Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council is responsible for licensing, monitoring and educating dietitians, nutritionists, and nutrition counselors to assure competency and safety to practice in Florida. The Board of Medicine is responsible for any required disciplinary action.”3
More detailed information on applying for a license and the requirements can be found on the Florida Department of Health’s website at https://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/index.html
What if I have moved to Florida and want to practice dietetics?
Florida exceptions to the Act allow for “Licensure (or certification) by reciprocity” — an accelerated pathway to licensure based on current, valid licensure in another state (or DC). This could reduce the burden of paperwork burden when applying. However, completing the application, paying the fee, and obtaining a license are still required to practice.
Visit https://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/application-and-forms/index.html for detailed information.
What if I have a specific question about providing meal plans and individual counseling services for payment as a wellness coach or a health coach?
It is advised that you familiarize yourself with Florida law. We have provided links for you. Should you require more specific information, it is your responsibility to seek out the advice of an attorney. If faced with discipline by the Board of Medicine for unlicensed activity, claiming a lack of knowledge does not alleviate accountability.
How could providing nutrition advice harm someone?
As with any profession, it is always beneficial to hire a licensed professional. Hiring a Registered Dietitian means having a healthcare provider who has met a standard of care and the required education and practice requirements. An RDN is also required to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Unlicensed providers are not held to the same standards of professional practice.
Example of harm:
A health coach or another person claiming certification gives a client a breakdown of calories and details of macronutrients through a detailed meal plan with exact foods and measurements listed. The client may not be under the direct care of a physician for an eating disorder. Eating disorders are prevalent, progressive, and often secretive. Offering a meal plan to someone who has restrict or binge/purge behaviors can often do more harm than good.
Who tracks unlicensed activity?
Anyone can report unlicensed activity. Florida has the Unlicensed Activity (ULA) program to protect Florida residents and visitors from the potentially serious and dangerous consequences of this unlawful practice.4 More information can be found at: https://flhealthsource.gov/ula/.
Specifically, the Consumer Protection Coordinator for the Florida Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics tracks any unlicensed activity within the state to prevent harm to the public from misguided and uninformed recommendations.
How do I know if the program I am enrolled in is on a path to becoming a Registered Dietitian?
If you are a current student, we suggest you speak with your academic advisor on the specific requirements of your program and those of the path to becoming a Registered Dietitian.
If you are interested in becoming an RDN or a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR) visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accredited-programs/about-accredited-programs
The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is the credentialing agency and organization unit of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. The CDR serves the public by establishing and enforcing standards for certification, recertification and the Code of Ethics and by issuing credentials to individuals who meet these standards. Visit https://www.cdrnet.org for details on credentials and certification.
2021 Florida Statutes: Part X, Dietetics and Nutrition Practice
Florida regulates dietetics and nutrition counseling through the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act. Fla. Stat. §§ 468.501–.518. The Act defines “dietetics” as “the integration and application of the principles derived from the sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, food, physiology, and management and from the behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain a person’s health throughout the person’s life.” Id. § 468.503(4). It defines “nutrition counseling” as “advising and assisting individuals or groups on appropriate nutrition intake by integrating information from the nutrition assessment.” Id. § 468.503(10). The Act provides that “dietetics and nutrition practice” “include[s] assessing nutrition needs and status using appropriate data; recommending appropriate dietary regimens, nutrition support, and nutrient intake; ordering therapeutic diets; improving health status through nutrition research, counseling, and education; and developing, implementing, and managing nutrition care systems.” Id. § 468.503(5). And, relevant to this appeal, the Act provides that “no person may engage for remuneration in dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling or hold himself or herself out as a practitioner of dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling unless the person is licensed in accordance with the provisions of this part.” Id. § 468.504. Under the Act, a person who knowingly engages in unlicensed “dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling for remuneration” commits “a misdemeanor of the first degree.” Id. § 468.517(1), (2).
Changes to the Practice Act:
468.505 Exemptions; exceptions.—
Allows for remuneration for nutrition information, wellness, recommendations, or advice from unlicensed individuals unless the client is under the direct care and supervision of a medical doctor for a disease or medical condition requiring nutrition intervention, except for obesity or weight loss.
This information is simply an interpretation of state statutes and regulations and as with other information provided on this website, it does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice or career advice. Instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute 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.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Licensure and Professional Regulation of Dietitians (Dec. 23, 2021). Accessed at eatrightpro.org
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: MNT Versus Nutrition Education (Aug. 2006). Accessed at eatrightpro.org
- Florida Department of Health: Dietetics and Nutrition (2022). Accessed at https://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/dietetic-nutrition/index.html
- Florida Department of Health, Report Unlicensed Activity (2022). Accessed at https://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/enforcement/report-unlicensed-activity/index.html