General Information for Students and Prospective Students

A license is required to call yourself a dietitian and/or nutritionist in North Carolina, and, unless you are in a position that is exempt from the licensure requirements, a license is required to provide medical nutrition therapy in North Carolina.

In order to become a licensed dietitian/nutritionist (LDN) you must:

• Have received at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university that meets the competency requirements of an ACEND accredited didactic program in dietetics;

• Completed a Board-approved internship or documented, supervised practice experience that meets the competency requirements of an ACEND accredited, supervised practice experiences and is not less than 1,000 hours under the supervision of a professional provided in N.C. General Statute § 90-357.5(a)(1)(b.); and  • Successfully completed the registration examination for dietitian nutritionists administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

 In order to become a licensed nutritionist (LN) you must:

• Have received a master’s or doctoral nutrition degree from a regionally accredited college or university or a master’s or doctoral degree in a field of clinical health care.  Regardless of the course of study, applicant shall have completed coursework from a regionally accredited college or university in medical nutrition therapy that consists of coursework as specified in N.C. General Statute § 90-357.5(c)(1);

  • Completed a Board-approved internship or a documented, supervised practice experience in nutrition services of not less than 1,000 hours involving at least 200 hours of nutrition assessment, 200 hours of nutrition intervention, education, counseling, or management, and 200 hours of nutrition monitoring or evaluation under the supervision of a professional defined in N.C. General Statute § 90-357.5(c)(2); and   
  • Successfully completed either the examination administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists or the examination administered by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

Provisional Licensure

What is a PLDN?

A PLDN is a Provisionally Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in North Carolina. This “Category B” license is the license you are eligible for if you have completed both a regionally accredited academic program that meets the competency requirements of an ACEND accredited didactic program in dietetics, as well as a Board approved internship or documented, supervised practice experience of not less than 1,000 hours that meets the competency requirements of an ACEND accredited internship, but have not yet taken or passed the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Registered Dietitian exam.

What is a PLN?

A PLN is a Provisionally Licensed Nutritionist in North Carolina.  This “Category G” license is the license you are eligible for if you have completed both a master’s or doctoral nutrition degree or a master’s or doctoral degree in a field of clinical health care with coursework in medical nutrition therapy, as well as a Board-approved internship  or documented, supervised practice experience in nutrition services of not less than 1,000 hours involving at least 200 hours of nutrition assessment, 200 hours of nutrition intervention, education, counseling, or management, and 200 hours of nutrition monitoring or evaluation, but have not yet taken or passed the examination administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists or the examination administered by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

A provisional license is valid for one year from the date of issue and costs $85.00. The provisional licensee then has six months to pass the CDR exam and “upgrade” to a “Category A” license, or pass the BCNS or DACBN exam and upgrade to a “Category F” license at a discounted rate of $90.00. If you do not upgrade within the first six months of your provisional licensure, you will have to pay the full $175.00 to upgrade your license once you pass the appropriate exam.

A provisionally licensed dietitian/nutritionist or a provisionally licensed nutritionist must work under the supervision of an LDN or LN, and acquire a signed statement of this as part of the application process. The supervisor, in conjunction with the PLDN or PLN, must be willing to take responsibility for the actions of the PLDN or PLN until the PLDN or PLN obtains his/her “Category A” or  “Category F” license. The degree of supervision that is necessary is determined by the supervising LDN or LN and the facility’s policies/protocols. In determining how much supervision is necessary, the LDN or LN should consider the knowledge and skill of the PLDN or PLN and his/her level of competence. It is the responsibility of both the PLDN/PLN and supervising LDN/LN to advise the Board if the supervisory relationship terminates or changes. Please review Guideline C for information regarding the difference between unlicensed persons assisting the practice of dietetics/nutrition and PLDNs/PLNs.

For those who have completed an ACEND-accredited academic program and an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, to become provisionally licensed under Category B please have the following materials scanned and prepared to upload with your online application:

• Unofficial academic transcripts;
• ACEND academic verification statement;
• ACEND supervised practice verification statement;
• ACEND coordinated program verification statement (only if applicable, and replaces the above two mentioned statements);
• Completed and Signed Form B2 Supervisor Verification Statement (form is available on our website under “Forms and Resources”;
• “Eligibility to Test Email” from the CDR; 
• Copy of your Photo ID; and
• Method of payment for the $85.00 fee. (Acceptable file formats: GIF, BMP, TIF, JPG, PDF)

Processing Time: If an application is complete upon receipt, processing time for Category B applicants is typically 1 to 2 weeks, dependant on criminal background check timing. Click here to register and complete the online Category B (Provisional) application

For those who have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in nutrition or a master’s or doctoral degree in a field of clinical health care, and 1000 hours of supervised experience in nutrition, to become provisionally licensed under Category G, please complete and submit the following application materials:

  • Please contact our office at info@ncbdn.org as this process is not yet online. 

Processing Time: Processing time varies dependent upon the completeness of one’s submission.

What can I do as a provisional licensee?

• Provide medical nutrition therapy, under the supervision of a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist or Licensed Nutritionist; and

• Call yourself a dietitian nutritionist or dietitian/nutritionist; and use the credentials “PLDN” or “PLN” as appropriate.

Exemptions: While many positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition require a license to practice, there are some exemptions. These exemptions can be found in N.C. General Statute § 90-368. One example is students working under the supervision of an LDN or LN. In addition, all other health care practitioners licensed under Chapter 90 of the N.C. General Statutes who are working within the scope of their license, are exempt from the dietetics/nutrition licensure requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Also, state or federally funded positions are exempt. That being said, it should be noted that many employers of exempt positions still require that one be licensed, even though the law may not. Thus, it is important to know not only the laws’ requirements, but also your employer’s requirements.

In addition to the exemptions, it is important to note that only the use of the titles “dietitian,” “nutritionist,” and “dietitian/nutritionist,” and the provision of medical nutrition therapy require a license. Thus, there are many nutrition related activities that unlicensed persons who are not in positions specifically denoted as exempt, can perform. For more information regarding guidance for unlicensed persons who are not otherwise exempt, please see the NCBDN’s document Guideline A. You may also contact the Board for further clarification.