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Consumer Information

What Is a Licensed Dietitian?

Licensed dietitians must meet qualification standards for education and training and must comply with professional standards set in state law and administrative rule.
These standards help to ensure that licensed dietitians provide services in a competent and professional manner to protect the health and safety of Oregonians.

Licensed Dietitians Must Meet and Uphold Standards

Consumers should be aware that licensure as a dietitian is voluntary in Oregon.  Dietitians who are not licensed are not required to meet qualification standards or comply with state professional practice standards.
Sometimes, as in the case of Medicare, nutritional counseling for diabetes and kidney disease must be provided only by a licensed dietitian who is also a registered Medicare provider.
Individuals called nutritionists, even those called licensed or certified nutritionists, are not licensed by the State of Oregon.  They are not held to the same standards by the State of Oregon.

The Difference Between a "Licensed" Dietitian and a "Registered" Dietitian

A "licensed" dietitian is an individual licensed with the State of Oregon. (See "State Standards" below for qualifications.)
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What Do Licensed Dietitians Do?

Licensed dietitians:
  • Work with you and your health care provider to determine your nutritional needs and goals, in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Give you hands-on tips for shopping, cooking and eating for good health.
  • Help you use medical nutrition therapy to promote health and to prevent and manage health issues, from cancer to obesity to food allergies and kidney problems, and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.
  • Help you sort nutrition facts from fiction.
  • Manage food and nutrition services in hospitals, schools, government agencies and the food industry.
  • Provide nutritional management of hospitalized patients, including patients admitted to intensive care units and specialty medical and surgical units.
  • Oversee nutritional assessment and food service management in long-term health care facilities.
  • Provide nutritional counseling across the lifespan: during pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and early, mid and later adulthood
State law defines “dietetics practice” as “...the integration and application of principles derived from the sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, food, management, physiology and behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain the health of people….”
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State Standards

To qualify for and maintain licensure, licensed dietitians:

  • Must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in dietetics.

  • Must pass a national examination administered by The Commission on Dietetic Registration.

  • Must complete 900 hours of supervised practice.

  • Must complete 15 hours of continuing education annually.

Standards of Practice and Professional Conduct

Among other requirements, licensed dietitians must:
  • Remain free of conflict of interest and promote or endorse products in a manner that is neither false nor misleading.
  • Integrate scientific evidence into their practice.
  • Use relevant and accurate data.
  • Conduct themselves with honesty, integrity and fairness.
  • Provide professional services with objectivity.
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For More Information

Contact the Oregon Health Licensing Agency / Board of Licensed Dietitians at ohla.info@state.or.us or 503-378-8667 or visit the website at www.oregon.gov/OHLA/LD
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