General Information for Students/Prospective Students

A license is required to call yourself a dietitian and/or nutritionist in North Carolina, and, unless you are in a position that is exempt from the licensure requirements, a license is required to practice dietetics/nutrition in North Carolina.

Click here to find out more about what services require that you be licensed.
• A general handout addressing FAQs by new applicants may be found by clicking here.
• To learn more about licensure requirements in North Carolina in general, please view our presentation.

In order to become a licensed dietitian/nutritionist you must:

• Have received at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, community nutrition, public health nutrition or an equivalent major course of study;
• Complete a planned internship, which meets the standards of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND); and
• Passed an exam as defined by the Board.

OR

• Have received from a regionally accredited college or university a doctorate in human nutrition, nutrition education, foods and nutrition, public health nutrition, or an equivalent major course of study as approved by the Board, or have a Doctor of Medicine.

Regardless of the licensure pathway you choose, you must have successfully completed the Board’s minimum course requirements in social and behavioral sciences, chemistry, biology, human nutrition, diet therapy and advanced nutrition from a regionally accredited school.

For more information on regionally accredited NC based and distance dietetics programs that meet the NC statutory requirements please click here.

Provisional Licensure

What is a PLDN?
A PLDN is a Provisionally Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in North Carolina. This “Category B” or “Provisional” license is the license you are eligible for if you have completed both a regionally accredited academic program, as well as an accredited internship, but have not yet taken or passed the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam.

A provisional license is valid for one year from the date of issue and costs $85.00. The provisional licensee then has six months to pass the CDR exam and “upgrade” to a “Category A” license at a discounted rate of $90.00. If you do not upgrade within the first six months of your provisional licensure, you will have to pay the full $175.00 to upgrade your license once you pass the CDR exam.

A provisionally licensed dietitian/nutritionist must work under the supervision of an LDN, and acquire a signed statement of this as part of the application process. The supervisor, in conjunction with the PLDN, must be willing to take responsibility for the actions of the PLDN until the PLDN obtains his/her “Category A” or “LDN” license. The degree of supervision that is necessary is determined by the supervising LDN and the facility’s policies/protocols. In determining how much supervision is necessary, the LDN should consider the knowledge and skill of the PLDN and his/her level of competence. It is the responsibility of both the PLDN and supervising LDN to advise the Board if the supervisory relationship terminates or changes. Please review Guideline C for information regarding the difference between unlicensed persons assisting the practice of dietetics/nutrition and PLDNs.

For most applicants, to become provisionally licensed, you must:

• Have your ACEND verification statement from your academic program;
• Have your ACEND verification statement from your supervised practice program;
• Have received an Eligibility Email from CDR; and
• Completed the Category B (Provisional) application, & included the $85.00 fee.

What can I do as a provisional licensee?

• Provide nutrition care services, under the supervision of a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist; and
• Call yourself a dietitian/nutritionist; and use the credentials “PLDN.”

Category B (Provisional) Applications can be found on our website.

Exemptions:
While many positions in the field of dietetics/nutrition require a license to practice, there are some exemptions. These exemptions can be found in N.C. General Statute § 90-368. One example is students working under the supervision of an LDN. In addition, all other health care practitioners licensed under Chapter 90 of the N.C. General Statutes are exempt from the dietetics/nutrition licensure requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Also, state or federally funded positions are exempt. That being said, it should be noted that many employers of exempt positions still require that one be licensed, even though the law may not. Thus, it is important to know not only the laws’ requirements, but also your employer’s requirements.

In addition to the exemptions, it is important to note that only the use of the titles dietitian and nutritionist, and the provision of nutrition care services require a license. Thus, there are many nutrition related activities that unlicensed persons who are not in positions specifically denoted as exempt, can perform. For more information regarding guidance for unlicensed persons who are not otherwise exempt, please see the NCBDN’s document Guideline A. You may also .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further clarification.