How to Become a Nutritionist in Alabama

The Alabama State Board of Examiners for Dietetics and Nutritionists offers proper licensing for those practicing in the state of Alabama as either a dietitian or a nutritionist. The Board of Examiners is responsible for ensuring that both standards and regulations in regards to the licensing of nutritionists are respected. On top of this, they are also responsible for ensuring that Alabama nutritionists obey the minimum standards in place.

Those in Alabama practicing as nutritionists are tasked with applying and integrating the principles of management, nutrition, biochemistry, psychology, food as well as the social sciences and behaviour needed in order to maintain health. The following services may be offered by licensed nutritionists:

  • Determining and understanding both group and individual needs.
  • Managing nutrition care systems by both developing and implementing them.
  • Understanding priorities and creating goals in order to meet nutritional needs.
  • Reviewing and modifying the food quality standards and nutrition service standards in order to ensure that they are appropriate.
  • Offering guidance in disease and health.

IMPORTANT: It is not permitted to identify yourself in Alabama as “nutritionist”, “dietician”, “dietitian/nutritionist” or “LN” unless you are a licensed individual.

Requirements to Become a Licensed Nutritionist in Alabama

You must meet the following requirements to receive your nutritionist license:

  • At least 19 years old
  • Be willing to provide proof of responsibility and good moral character
  • Have a minimum certification level or a bachelor’s degree or higher. This degree must be from a university (or a college) accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges or alternative regional accreditation agencies. However, regional accreditation agencies must have a major in one of the following:
    • Dietetics
    • Food Systems Management
    • Food Nutrition
    • Human Nutrition
  • Have accomplished a minimum of 900 hours through a consecutive pre-professional experience in nutrition practices. Experience hours may only be gained with supervision from a licensed practitioner or a registered dietician.

Once a pre-professional program in nutrition has been completed, it is mandatory for all those looking to find nutritionist jobs to successfully pass an examination provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

The following topics will be covered in the examination:

  • Principles of Dietetics
  • Group Nutrition Care
  • Individual Nutrition Care
  • Foodservice Systems
  • Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services

How can I Apply To Become a Licensed Nutritionist in Alabama?

By submitting an Application for Licensure, alongside 250$ to cover the application and license fee, a current piece of identification with a picture and two personal references, you can become licensed as a Nutritionist in Alabama. The $250 in fees must be paid to the Alabama Board of Examiners for Dietetics Nutrition Practice. The payment details for the board can be found below:

Alabama Board of Examiners for Dietetic/Nutrition Practice

Post Office Box 300500

Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Renewing your Nutritionist Licensure in Alabama

Nutritionist licenses expire after 2 years in Alabama and must be renewed after this period of time. In order to have your license renewed, you must comply with the continuing education requirements in place by the Commission on Dietic Registration. You will also need to fill in and submit a license renewal form. Alongside this renewal form, it is also mandatory that nutritionists provide a copy of their current driver’s license. There is a $150 renewal fee that must be paid at the time of the submission of the renewal form, as well. You can once again make your payment to the following details ($150):

Alabama Board of Examiners for Dietetic/Nutrition Practice

Post Office Box 300500

Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Nutritionist licenses can only be renewed if the nutritionist provides a copy of each of their certificates in order to verify that the person has completed a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education.

If you have further questions regarding this, you can consult the following document: Guidelines for Acceptable Professional Education Activities.

Health Coach Careers in Alabama

The term “Jammin’ Minute” is used to describe the mandatory time period in Marion Alabama Schools when students get some exercise half-way through their school day. This time of exercise helps reduce the time sitting time that students sit through every day at school. This principle was implemented by Marion Alabama Schools to fight against childhood obesity. A large problem across the United States (and Alabama) is obesity. This problem is very high-priority in schools and childcare systems in Alabama. Alabama schools are working hard to encourage students to stay healthy, even at a young age.

Stakeholders in Alabama take obesity very seriously after 2014 statistics show that the adult obesity rate that year sat around 35%. The Executive Director for ConnectionHealth, and a voice for Jefferson Country Department of Health, Ashley Obiaka, declared that in order to reduce obesity, healthy habits need to be enforced from a young age. Children in childhood programs in Jefferson County are obliged to take part in physical activities and have limited screen time throughout the day. On top of this, childhood programs are required to provide whole grains as no less than half of the snacks provided to children.

Offering obesity solutions in child care programs and schools is not the only thing the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has done to improve the obesity rate in the state, however! The ADPH has publicly posted the “Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Overweight and Obesity in Alabama”. This 50-page-long manuscript includes different obesity definitions alongside both the causes and solutions to this ever-growing problem. Near the beginning of the document, you’ll find an introduction with several statements encouraging the community to get involved in this process.

Alabama takes pride in improving the health of its citizens and discovering new solutions to this large problem. Alabama also offers many programs with the main goal of pushing families and friends to work together to change their lifestyles to be more healthy. As a result of these numerous efforts to improve the overall health of Alabamians, the state also offers many opportunities for health coaches. Many people in Alabama have recently become interested in contributing to a healthier society and earning the credentials required to fill jobs within the state of Alabama’s school systems, public health agencies, nonprofits, and of course, private-sector employers.

How to Become a Health Coach – What You Will Need

Taking into consideration the fact that health coaching is a newly created field and that currently, no specific degree exists that is dedicated to this profession, there are not too many existing boundaries when it comes to choosing your bachelor’s degree, internships, certifications, electives and much more. Below, you will be able to find a list of multiple suitable degrees and standard certifications for employment.

Selecting a Degree

The following areas offer associate degrees that can help find entry-level health coaching opportunities:

  • Social Work
  • Healthcare
  • Applied Science in Health and Wellness
  • Business Administration – Health Club Operations

Many health coach employers will look for candidates that have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:

  • Behavioral Science
  • Social Work
  • Health and Wellness
  • Health Science
  • Nutrition/Dietetics
  • Healthcare Management
  • Health Services Administration

Those with one of the following master’s degree will be considered a strong candidate and will exceed the general employer expectations:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Nursing
  • Psychology – Sports and Performance specialization
  • Health and Wellness
  • Psychology – Health and Wellness specialization

Professional Certification

While job requirements will vary from employer to employer, a large number of health coaching position employers will want to see some form of certification proving your skills. By earning certifications, you will be able to demonstrate and prove your expertise in your domain. Often, having some form of certification is mandatory before being hired as they serve as proof of knowledge and authority within the health coaching industry.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the American Council on Exercise (ACE) certification. ACE offers two different self-study bundles that will help candidates prepare themself for the examination that must be passed to receive the Health Coach Certification. You may choose the “Standard” self-study bundle, or the “Premium”. Certifications accredited by ACE expire after two years, which is also the period of time before you must renew said certification. In order to renew the certification, you must complete continuing education which must then be verified by ACE. You can find in-depth information regarding the certification examination and more details in maintaining your certification by consulting the ACE Certification Candidate Handbook.

Job Opportunities and Career Paths as a Health Coach in Alabama

You can contribute to Alabama’s movement toward health improvement in various ways. Health Coaching jobs in Alabama alter quite a bit, which allows you to find where you and your skills, as well as your education, fit best.

With all of that being said, now you know how to become a nutritionist in Alabama!