Facing issues with your professional license as a dietitian or nutritionist? An Illinois Dietitian License Defense Attorney can help!
It may be a surprise to learn that in Illinois, almost anyone can give professional nutrition advice without a license. What unlicensed practitioners cannot do, however, is call themselves a Licensed Dietitian (LD) or a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN). Those titles are tied to specific credentials that are legally protected. It is essential for both consumers and professionals working in foods and nutrition to understand who needs a license to call themselves a dietitian in the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act describes a wide range of services that fall under the umbrella of dietetics and nutrition. These services are defined as “the integration and application of principles derived from the science of food and nutrition to provide for all aspects of nutrition care for individuals and groups” (225 ILCS 30/10). The statute goes on to list the different services that may be considered part of dietetics and nutrition, including nutrition education, counseling and assessment, offering medically prescribed diets, medical nutrition therapy, and restorative services, which focus on oral dietary needs, metabolism, and dietary supplements (225 ILCS 30/10).
Those providing these services may obtain a range of different credentials to demonstrate their expertise in a given area. For example, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is considered the top nutrition expert in the field of dietetics and nutrition. Those who want to work in foods and nutrition in the health care industry, in particular, must usually obtain an RDN credential. In Illinois, to do so requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program in subject areas such as human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, food systems management, nutrition education, nutrition, nutrition science, clinical nutrition, applied clinical nutrition, nutrition counseling, nutrition and functional medicine, nutrition and integrative health, or an equivalent major course of study approved by the Department (225 ILCS 30/45). Once the education requirement has been satisfied, candidates must then pass a nationally administered board exam and complete a specific amount of supervised practice experience.
In Illinois, to obtain an RDN credential, candidates must also be licensed to practice as Licensed Dietitian Nutritionists (LDN). An LDN is different from an RDN in that it is a state designation, while an RDN is a credential earned from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), a national oversight organization. While the current requirements for a state LDN license are the same as those described for an RDN, that is scheduled to change. Starting in 2024, the CDR will require individuals wanting an RDN credential to first earn a minimum of a master’s degree to qualify for the credentialing exam. This additional requirement will widen the distinction between the state and national designations unless state lawmakers decide to amend current regulations.
It is possible to obtain a license as an LDN without the RDN credential, and for some careers in dietetics and nutrition, that may be all that is required. Under state law, individuals working in foods and nutrition do not technically need to have a license. They simply cannot use the credentials of an LDN or RDN. While the titles vary, many of these individuals use the term “nutritionist” to describe their services. To become a nutritionist, there are no education or training requirements. Even those with little or no background in dietetics and nutrition could legally use the title. Illinois state law exempts from licensure individuals who are employed by the federal government, anyone currently enrolled in a course of study in the field, educators employed by nonprofit organizations, those with advanced degrees in the field, and individuals offering nutrition advice as an employee of a facility “operated exclusively by and for those relying upon spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination” (225 ILCS 30/20).
While many outside of the profession may not know the difference, when it comes to regulation, there is a big difference between a licensed dietician and a nutritionist. As a consumer and even as professionals working in foods and nutrition, it is important to check the credentials before hiring anyone advertising themselves as an expert. Despite the fact that by law, only persons issued a license may use titles like “dietitian nutritionist,” “dietitian,” “licensed nutritionist,” or “nutrition counselor,” or the letters “L.D.N.” in connection with his or her name, it is important to verify any such claims with the licensing Department.
If you are a licensee and are being investigated by IDFPR, consult with a professional license defense attorney experienced in dealing with IDFPR enforcement actions. Jordan Matyas is an Illinois attorney who represents individuals and businesses licensed by IDFPR. Reach out today to discuss your situation.
Dietitians and nutritionists specialize in food and nutrition to help clients achieve their health goals. They design personalized nutrition plans and offer guidance on healthy eating habits. Whether it’s managing a chronic illness or striving for a healthier lifestyle, they use evidence-based strategies to achieve optimal wellness.
Nursing is a healthcare profession that involves caring for individuals who are ill, injured, or require assistance with daily living. Nurses work in various settings, including hospitals and homes. They provide essential care, collaborate with healthcare teams, and educate patients and families on disease prevention and management.
Physicians and surgeons are medical professionals who diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. They are responsible for providing medical care, prescribing medications, and performing surgeries when necessary. Physicians and surgeons play a critical role in maintaining the health and well-being of their patients.
Veterinary medicine is a field that focuses on the health and well-being of animals. Veterinarians provide medical care, including diagnosis, treatment, and surgery, to a wide range of animal species. They also work to prevent disease and promote animal health through education and preventative care measures.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are healthcare professionals who play a vital role in the safe use of medications. They work closely with healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive the correct medications and dosages. Pharmacists also provide medication counseling and monitor for drug interactions or adverse reactions.
Social workers improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. They provide counseling and support to those in need, as well as advocacy and assistance in accessing resources such as healthcare and social services. Social workers also promote social justice and address systemic issues affecting vulnerable populations.
Doctors are trained to diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses and injuries. They have a thorough understanding of the human body and its functions and use this knowledge to care for patients. Doctors work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, specializing in different areas of medicine.
Psychologists study the human mind and behavior. They use various techniques and therapies to help individuals overcome emotional and psychological difficulties like anxiety, depression, and trauma. Psychologists work in various settings, including private practices, clinics, hospitals, and schools, and play an important role in promoting mental health and well-being.
Roofing professionals are experts in installing, repairing, and maintaining roofs for residential and commercial buildings. They work with various materials, including shingles, metal, and tile, and are trained to identify and fix leaks and other issues. Roofing professionals protect buildings from weather damage and ensure their longevity.
Home inspectors assess the condition of a home before it is bought or sold. They inspect major components, including the foundation, roof, electrical and plumbing systems, and more. Home inspectors provide a detailed report of their findings, which can help buyers make informed decisions about purchasing a home.
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) specialize in accounting, tax preparation, and financial planning. They assist individuals and businesses with tax filings, financial audits, and strategic financial planning. CPAs have a high level of expertise in financial matters and must pass a rigorous exam and meet ongoing education requirements.
Real estate and leasing professionals help clients navigate the complex process of buying, selling, leasing, and managing properties. They provide expertise in market trends, property valuation, negotiations, and legal contracts. With their guidance, clients can make informed decisions that align with their goals and financial interests.
Appraisers are professionals who determine the value of real estate, personal property, or other assets. They use their knowledge of market trends to assess the condition and worth of an item or property, and they work in various settings, including banks, real estate firms, and government agencies.
Consumer lenders are financial institutions that provide loans and credit to individuals for personal use. They offer a range of loan products, such as personal loans, credit cards, and lines of credit, and they assess an individual’s creditworthiness to determine the terms and interest rates of the loan.
Currency exchangers are businesses or individuals who offer services for converting one currency into another. They operate in various settings, such as airports, banks, or independent kiosks. They provide multiple services, including buying and selling foreign currency, exchanging travelers’ checks, and offering other related financial services.
Pawnbrokers offer loans to customers in exchange for collateral such as jewelry or electronics. They assess the item’s value and provide a loan to be repaid with interest within a specified period. If the loan is not repaid, the pawnbroker may sell the item to recoup the loan’s value.
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