Delaware Nutritionist Certification
Shortened to “LDN”, a nutritionist/dietician, in Delaware, must be licenced. The Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition states, “No person shall represent oneself or engage in the practice of dietetics and nutrition therapy … unless such a person is licensed”. In this guide, we will show you how to become a nutritionist in Delaware.
The delivery of preventative care and therapies, including assessment and evaluation is restricted to individuals licensed through the Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition. As a licensed individual, in good standing, you may:
- Assess an individual’s nutritional needs
- Deliver a personalized intervention plan
- Provide counselling and education
- Ongoing monitoring
- Necessary referrals for additional supports
In Delaware, to be a licensed nutritionist, you must have completed these 4 steps successfully:
1. Complete post secondary education in one of five recognized areas
2. Submit to an Examination at a time/place so designated by the Board of Delaware
3. Submit documentation and relevant fees to the Board of Delaware for consideration
4. Maintain your license in good standing through continuing education credits and submit proof of same every 2 years with renewal
Study and Practicum
There are 5 streams of entry to become an LDN in Delaware. A baccalaureate or master’s degree with a major in one of these 5 areas is necessary:
Human Nutrition, Nutrition Education, Food and Nutrition, Dietetics, Food Systems Management.
After completing your degree, supervised clinical practice for a minimum of 900 hours is required. This practicum must be supervised by another registered dietician, healthcare provider or someone with a doctoral degree (from an accredited university) in one of the 5 study areas. This practical experience must occur in a territory or state of the United States.
There are 2 national examinations that the Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition acknowledges as acceptable. You must take and pass one of these two examinations. The first is offered by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS), for Certified Nutrition Specialist. Second is the Registered Dietitian exam offered through Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
Applying for a License
The fee to apply is $182, payable by check or money order to the State of Delaware. Your application must be complete, signed and notarized. You can get the application here: Application for Licensure as a Dietician/Nutritionist.
In addition to your application, you need:
- A copy of your official transcripts, transmitted to the Board office, from the college/university you attended for your degree
- Supervised Practice Experience Assessment form completed by the individual who supervised your practicum, directly to the Board
- Provide the Board office with verification of your passing examination
- Verification of successful completion of examination
All documents and application must be sent to:
Delaware Division of Professional Regulation
Attn: Board of Dietetics/Nutrition
861 Silver Lake Boulevard
Dover, Delaware 19904
Maintaining your License
Renewals are completed by May 31, every 2 years, in odd years. For each 2-year period, 30 hours of continuing education is required. These education credits must meet all requirements of the American Dietetic Association. You should be prepared to submit proof of your ongoing continuing education.
The renewal application is online. Prior to the renewal you will receive a notice in the mail. This will tell you the amount of the renewal fee and instructions to access the online service. A credit card is required to complete the renewal.
There are several associations, at both the state and national levels, to help you stay up to date. Information about continuing education events, current research, and developments in the field of nutrition are available at each.
Health Coaching in Delaware
Delaware, with a population of 973, 764 (2019), is a small state, experiencing big challenges in the field of population health. The state spends 25% more per capita than the national average on health care.
Have you ever wondered about Health Coaching? Maybe you’ve thought about it for yourself and wondered if there was a need for that in Delaware?
With nearly 70% of residents qualifying as overweight or obese, health coaching could be a valuable tool in Delaware’s plan to be one of the five healthiest states. Delaware’s goal to reduce health care spending by at least 6% could be possible.
Diabetes poses a significant burden to both individuals and the health care system. Between 1998 and 2013, the number of diabetes diagnoses doubled. Between 1990 and 2007, the obesity rate also doubled. Those numbers are not unrelated. Using health coaching and nutrition to tackle these issues will help Delaware make that top 5 list.
Less than 20% of people eat 2 or more servings of fruits each day. The same is true for vegetables. And just barely 20% do enough cardiovascular or strengthening exercises to meet CDC guidelines for activity.
These lifestyle choices are a huge contributor to Delaware’s challenges in reducing health care spending and improving the health of the entire population:
Health coaching involves turning the doctor’s advice into concrete actions and behaviours. Behaviours account for up to 40% of an individual’s health, as the New England Journal of Medicine states. It plays a larger role than genetics or the environment. The good news is … behaviours can be changed. New patterns can be learned.
Counselling an individual and coaching them to success as they improve their health and enrich their lives is the role of a health coach.
Programs and Certificates for Health Coaching
Health coaches do not require licenses. Some have years of education, with graduate degrees. Others choose to specialize in a single area and use self study, online or in person, to advance.
Unlike other regulated professions, there is no state board or national body that sets expectations for education and experience. It is a new field of expertise but rapidly growing.
Many health care professions are regulated. Without a license, you must be mindful of what services you can and can not offer. Some services, particularly those surrounding diet and nutrition, are limited for those without the proper license.
You can address diet issues, but you cannot provide therapeutic level care. You may not promote yourself or your services as those of a dietician or nutritionist within the state of Delaware without an appropriate license.
With no formal course or accredited degrees in health coaching available yet, choosing a related field and complementing with additional courses to develop a skill set suitable for coaching is the best path forward.
You can view the regulations for Delaware here.
Consider an undergraduate degree in:
|Nutrition||Health Behaviour Sciences||Dietetics||Nursing||Public Health||Exercise Science|
|Food and Nutritional Sciences||Health Promotion||Movement Science||Health Sciences||Health Promotion||Applied Nutrition|
A small number of graduate certificates and degrees are available, if you have completed your undergraduate studies. Though not necessary, these graduate programs may benefit.
|Health Coaching Certificate||Health Promotion||Human Nutrition||Nursing||Exercise Science|
Certification Programs (non-degree)
Not everyone has a degree. Not everyone wants a degree. Some individuals will find that targeted, online courses can be the faster track to get to the work they are eager to do. It is strongly recommended that, whichever track you choose, you obtain a certification.
Not all employers will require an advanced degree. However, certified health coaches and individuals with post secondary education in a related field can earn as much as 40% more when compared to individuals without certification. To get an idea of the variances in salaries, visit a site like indeed.com that collects job ads from a variety of sources.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a certifying body. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies recognizes the Health Coach Certification offered by ACE. It is the only certificate for health coaches accredited by ACE.
ACE offers certification as a health coach for fitness professionals, health care providers or workplace wellness.
The ACE Certification Candidate Handbook has more information about these program options.
Recently, the National Consortium for Credentialing Health & Wellness Coaches was formed. It offers accreditation for other certifying bodies in the field of health coaching and is academically strong despite its young age. You can visit the website to see a list of places to certify as a health coach.
Career Opportunities for Health Coaches in Delaware
Several guidelines published recently by the Department of Health refers to health coaches. The importance of these workers who can help individuals turn a doctor’s advice into real life change will become increasingly important. Opportunities will increase in both public and private settings as preventative care becomes the focus.
Wellness organizations will have staff that can be assigned to companies as health coaches. Employers are moving towards including health coaches as standard fare in their offerings, and businesses are contracting with independent health coaches to work on a freelance basis.
Delaware, with goals like reducing health care spending by 6%, will need health coaches in the coming years who are educated and ambitious, to meet these objectives.
Businesses that use (or hire) health coaches:
Delaware State Housing
University of Delaware
Blue Cross Blue Shield
With all of that being said, we hope this guide has helped you understand how to become a nutritionist in Delaware!