Adherence to State and Legal Licensure Laws

While dissemination of nutrition information and nutrition education are unregulated in some states, other states – have very specific definitions and laws pertaining to the marketing and administering of nutrition information. AASDN Programs are designed to meet the licensure regulations of most states, with the goal of ensuring safe, legal and successful systems for delivering nutrition information to the public. All AASDN Nutrition Specialist and Nutrition Manager programs/documents have been created by, reviewed by, and monitored by licensed registered dietitians/nutritionists. No program/document change can be initiated without prior approval by a licensed registered dietitian/nutritionist.  AASDN has made every effort to meet the requirements of licensure laws in all states, however it is ultimately the responsibility of the AASDN Nutrition Specialist to abide by the laws regulated by the state in which he/she practices.The scripted AASDN Nutrition Specialist/Manager Programs allow you, as an independent consultant/ business, to incorporate nutrition into your exercise/fitness business while adhering to state licensure laws and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics guidelines. As an independent consultant, it is the responsibility of the AASDN Nutrition Specialist to adhere to the following guidelines and respond to any request for information by state or legal agencies.

Please read the AASDN Nutrition Specialist Candidate Handbook  (online) and the following information carefully. Be sure that you adhere to all of the following guidelines. These guidelines should also be visible and available to individuals participating in your programs.

As an AASDN Nutrition Specialist you are not a licensed professional. Licenses are mandated through regulatory or government agencies and define the title and scope of practice. Doctors, nurses, attorneys, and public accountants are examples of occupations that require a license to practice. 

A certification is the recognition of an individual who has demonstrated through a standardized assessment that they meet defined qualifications within a profession. Certifications are typically offered in industries in which it’s important to uphold certain standards. AASDN Nutrition Specialists uphold the standards imposed by state nutrition licensure laws through the use of documents developed by qualified, licensed registered dietitians. No program/document can be modified or altered in any way without approval by a licensed registered dietitian/nutritionist. The AASDN Nutrition Specialist Candidate Handbook outlines a clearly defined scope of practice for all Nutrition Specialists.


As an AASDN Nutrition Specialist you MAY NOT use the term “Certified” Nutrition Specialist – CNS. This term is trademarked by another organization. YOU MAY call yourself an AASDN Nutrition Specialist certified through AASDN for which AASDN holds a trademark. To reiterate, you MAY NOT put certified before Nutrition Specialist. Instead use AASDN NS or AASDN Nutrition Specialist.


As an AASDN Nutrition Specialist you may use materials developed by qualified licensed professionals of AASDN. You are NOT allowed to alter any AASDN materials, and no program changes can be made. YOU MAY NOT develop your own educational materials using either the AASDN logo, AASDN name, AASDN NS or AASDN Nutrition Specialist title. You may use the title AASDN NS or AASDN Nutrition Specialist on your marketing materials such as brochures, business cards, website, etc. You may NOT use these titles on any educational materials that you develop for your own use. AASDN will not be responsible for any materials developed by Nutrition Specialists unless prior approval in writing is obtained.


All AASDN Nutrition Specialists must market their services in accordance with state dietetic and nutrition licensing laws.  When marketing your nutrition services take note of the following items. You are providing nutrition education and training, however you are not a “Nutritionist” or a “Dietitian” and should not in any way market yourself using these titles. Strictly prohibited is use of the name “dietitian,” “licensed dietitian,” “nutritionist,” “licensed nutritionist,” “nutrition counselor,” or any other words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia indicating or implying that you are a dietitian, nutritionist, or nutrition counselor, or otherwise hold yourself out as such.  Also you are prohibited from employing unlicensed persons to engage in dietetics and nutrition practice or nutrition counseling, unless the person is the holder of a valid license issued under the state licensure law of the state in which you practice.

AASDN programs are sound lifestyle and behavioral change programs and results take time and commitment. We do not guarantee or promise any results; make unrealistic weight/body composition change promises or communicate that we are treating any medical conditions. Any AASDN Nutrition Specialist providing dietary information other than AASDN program materials may be in violation of their state dietetics and nutrition licensing laws. Any purveyor of AASDN programs that uses any of the terms listed above in its marketing or portrays itself as dietetics or nutrition experts or as providing nutrition treatment for a specific disease will be in violation of many state laws. Violation in these states is a misdemeanor offense. Failure to follow any or all of the above Policies and Procedures deems the AASDN Nutrition Specialist as non-compliant with AASDN and its affiliates.


All AASDN programs call for screening of program participants for risk factors. All clients must provide the AASDN Nutrition Specialist with a detailed medical disease history. If a client presents with a health problem, the Nutrition Specialist must forward the information to the AASDN registered dietitian for review before working with this client.


AASDN does not endorse any particular supplements or brand of supplements. It is beyond the scope of practice for any AASDN Nutrition Specialist to recommend or suggest the use of any nutrition supplementation (vitamin, mineral or herbal). Any such recommendations must come directly from the client’s physician or a Registered Dietitian.


  • DO NOT promote the program as a “treatment” for eating disorders, such as compulsive eating, anorexia, or bulimia.
  • DO NOT market the program to treat any health or medical problem.DO NOT call yourself a nutritionist, dietitian, certified nutritionist, certified dietitian, licensed dietitian, nutrition counselor, nutrition expert, nutrition educator, or a nutritionalist (there is no such thing) UNLESS the person is a REGISTERED DIETITIAN and licensed as appropriate in the state in which he/she practices.
    • DO NOT market the program to promote or promise permanent weight loss.
    • DO NOT market the program as nutrition counseling, providing nutrition care, or a Medical Nutrition Therapy offering (MNT).
    • DO NOT make unrealistic claims concerning the rate of weight loss (one to two pounds a week is considered normal) or promise unrealistic results.
  • DO NOT work with clients with medical issues without written clearance from the AASDN registered dietitian.
  • DO NOT dissuade clients from seeking proper medical care for health problems.
    • DO NOT go against the recommendations of a client’s health care provider.
    • DO NOT make guarantees that the client will achieve unrealistic results (e.g. average weight loss in excess of 2 pounds).



  • DO respond to any request for information from any state or legal agencies.  It is your responsibility as an unlicensed healthcare professional to abide by all statutes in the state in which you practice and cooperate fully with the governing body of your state.
  • DO market and provide nutrition information.
  • DO promote the program as an effective way to alter body composition.
  • DO call yourself an AASDN Nutrition Specialist.
  • DO form a network of doctors, dietitians and psychologists that specialize in eating disorders that you can turn to or refer clients to for help.
  • DO obtain AASDN registered dietitian approval before working with clients with health issues.
  • DO use before and after pictures, assessments and/or testimonials to keep track of member results. As permitted make these success stories visible to other clients.
  • DO provide the client with all the tools to assist them in achieving their well-being goals that the AASDN program has to offer i.e. scripted programs, educational materials, follow-up procedures, etc.
  • DO know your limitations! Being a certified personal trainer and/or an AASDN Nutrition Specialist does not qualify you to treat medical and physical problems with exercise and nutrition.
  • DO contact your AASDN licensed registered dietitian with any questions, comments or concerns when dealing with at-risk clients.
  • DO contact AASDN for help when designing marketing materials for your programs.
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