Before you’re able to begin the process of credentialing and contracting with insurance companies, you’ll have to have a few prerequisites in place to show insurance companies that you’re qualified to provide care. These include having your business entity set up, being up to date with your board certification (whether through the Commission on Dietetic Registration or the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists), having professional liability insurance, and having a valid current state license or certificate.
More guidance on taking care of these logistics is available in this post on setting up your private practice, but today, we want to provide more information about the state licensure requirement.
There are two important things to know about being licensed (or certified, as the case may be):
Almost every state has a licensure or certification requirement for a nutrition healthcare professional to be permitted to render care; and
You need a license in the state—or states—where services are rendered.
Let’s unpack these further.
State licensure requirements
The Academy provides a great starting point on their Licensure and Professional Regulation of Dietitians page for you to better understand your state’s requirements. Nearly every state regulates who is deemed qualified to provide nutritional counseling. The exceptions are Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, and New Jersey. The remaining 46 states require nutrition professionals to procure either a license or a certificate through their regulatory agency. A license is the most stringent requirement, but a certificate does still maintain some regulation regarding who can practice. The contact information for each state’s regulatory agency is on the CDR site: https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure-agency-list. Each state has its own process in place regarding the application, fees, and renewal requirements.
Where to get licensed
If you practice in a given state and your clients come to see you at that location, then your licensure requirement is pretty straightforward. Check out the requirements for the state in question and then follow the necessary steps to procure and maintain licensure.
Where things get more convoluted is if some of your clients are located in a different state than you. If for example, you are traveling across a state border to render care in a different facility, you will need to abide by the licensure requirements in that particular state as well. And if you provide your counseling via a telehealth platform, the service is considered to be rendered at the client’s location. This means that you will need to be licensed or certified in each state where you have a telehealth client.
We know this administrative stuff can get overwhelming pretty fast, so we’re happy to answer any questions that may come up. The state regulatory agencies themselves are also great resources and we recommend calling them for support. The CDR has more information on its state licensure site as well.