What areas of nutrition and dietetics require licensure?


North Carolina’s Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act is both a title protection and scope of practice protection statute.  The Act originally became effective on March 31, 1992.  The NC Dietetics/ Nutrition Practice Act was significantly amended by Session Law 2018-91, which became effective July 1, 2018.  With the amendments SL 2018-91 brought, unless otherwise exempt, a license is required to provide medical nutrition therapy.  Under N.C. General Statute § 90-352(3a) medical nutrition therapy is defined as the provision of nutrition care services for the purpose of managing or treating a medical condition.  Under N.C. General Statute § 90-352(4), nutrition care services are defined as:

  1. Assessing and evaluating the nutritional needs of individuals and groups, and determining resources and constraints in the practice setting, including ordering laboratory tests related to the practice of nutrition and dietetics.
  2. Establishing priorities, goals, and objectives that meet nutritional needs and are consistent with available resources and constraints.
  3. Providing nutrition counseling in health and disease.
  4. Developing, implementing, and managing nutrition care systems.
  5. Evaluating, making changes in, and maintaining appropriate standards of quality in food and nutrition services.
  6. Ordering therapeutic diets.

Nutrition care services do not include the retail sale of food products or vitamins.

Thus, if one is providing the above outlined nutrition care services for the purpose of managing or treating a medical condition, unless otherwise exempt, a license is required. 

Note, the Dietetics/Nutrition Practice Act sets minimum standards. Agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. are free to add additional requirements to job descriptions and requirements.  For example, such entities may require that one have a specific credential in addition to licensure, defined experience, or length of experience.   


Frequently Asked Questions What nutrition care services can unlicensed assistive personnel provide What can I do with certifications or online programs What areas of nutrition and dietetics require licensure Who can become licensed as a dietitian or nutritionist Who can become licensed as a nutritionist What titles are restricted by the law? How does licensure impact my Registered Dietitian (R.D.) title? What are the penalties for violations of the law? What other states require a license to practice dietetics/nutrition? How often am I required to renew my license? What can happen if I forget to renew my license? Do I need to renew my license if I am currently unemployed? What should I do if I suspect my licensure card was copied, stolen, or is being used fraudulently? What documentation of continuing education is required to maintain a license? Who is eligible for a provisional license? What are the requirements for supervision of persons claiming exemption from licensure? Who is exempt from licensure and regulation by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition? What can an unlicensed person, who is not otherwise exempt, do in the field of dietetics/nutrition? Is it within the scope of practice for NC LDNs to write diet orders? Do I contact the NCBDN for issues with food service in a prison? Is my license valid for one year from when I first apply and get licensed? What do I need to do if I get married or divorced and my name changes? How do I reactivate or reinstate my license? What are the considerations when providing nutrition care services via Telehealth?