Insurance Benefits for Nutrition

How much does a nutritionist cost?

November 14, 2023

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Medically reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

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Key Points

  • How much you’ll pay to work with a registered dietitian depends on your location, insurance, and other factors. 
  • Your nutrition counseling can be free when you work with a service like Fay Nutrition to get it covered by insurance. 
  • RDs are the only healthcare professionals who can provide medical nutrition therapy, an incredibly effective modality for weight management, chronic conditions like diabetes, eating disorder recovery, and more. 

Working with a registered dietitian nutritionist can be an incredibly helpful and empowering process. A nutritionist with the RD title is a highly qualified healthcare professional with a bachelor's degree who is board-certified to give nutrition advice backed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But if you’ve never worked with a dietitian before, you might have some questions. How do you know if you should work with an RD? How much is it going to cost? How are nutritionists paid? And what can you expect when working with an RD?

We’ll answer all of that and more so that you feel more confident making your decision to work with a registered dietitian.

Is it worth getting a nutritionist?

Nutrition counseling can fill a much-needed gap in the healthcare system to get the support you need to be your healthiest self. A registered dietitian is the most qualified nutrition provider who can offer medical nutrition therapy (MNT). MNT includes services for diabetes, weight loss, obesity, eating disorders, and much more. Whether you are looking to manage your weight, improve your blood pressure or cholesterol, recover from disordered eating, or something else, an RD is the best healthcare professional you can hire.

RDs are certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to provide evidence-based nutrition counseling. While the title of nutritionist is unregulated, RD and RDN (registered dietitian nutritionists) are protected titles. What does this mean? It means that, in some states, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist and can say whatever they want to clients with no regulation or repercussions. RDs and RDNs, on the other hand, have to complete a set of education requirements, pass the credential exam, fulfill internship and placement hours, and complete continuing education credits once licensed. Thus, the most qualified nutritionist is one with the RD or RDN title.

How much does it cost to see a nutritionist in the US?

How much you’ll pay to see an RD or RDN depends on location; the cost of a nutritionist varies by state and region. Nutrition therapy can run you anywhere from $70 to over $150 for a session. You could pay over $200 out-of-pocket for the initial consultation and intake appointment.

There are a few factors beyond location that influence the overall cost of a nutritionist:

  • The number and frequency of sessions: Weekly sessions are the most effective, and many practitioners have a minimum timeframe for their work (likely three months or longer).
  • The provider’s specialty: Some RDs have additional certifications, which can make their work costlier.
  • Your insurance provider: Insurance is required to cover nutrition counseling, but exactly what is covered depends on your individual plan.

Some RDs offer a range of set programs that may be scaled depending on need and level of touch. Higher-touch programs with more frequent sessions are likely to be more expensive.

Virtual nutrition services may be more accessible in terms of both price and availability. Telehealth often enables you to find the right provider for your needs without restricting your search to a narrow geographic area, which can be incredibly beneficial for both efficacy and value.

The average cost of a nutritionist depends on where you live, whether they operate out of a private practice, and other factors. Because registered dietitian nutritionists are the most qualified nutrition counselors available, they can cost more than other nutrition professionals, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure you’re getting the best care possible for your health goals. Further, RD services are covered by health insurance, which can make their work far more accessible. How? Keep reading!

Using insurance to pay for nutrition counseling

In the US, medical nutrition therapy is covered by health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. While coverage varies by insurance provider and by plan, most people can get some or all of their sessions covered and pay $0 to work with a registered dietitian. Note: this only applies to RDs and RDNS. Nutritionists without an RD title are less likely to be covered by insurance.

To find out how much of your nutrition counseling services will be covered, it’s best to contact your insurance company directly. Use the customer service number on your insurance care to speak with a representative and ask them what will be covered. There may be limitations on your overall coverage, how much will be covered per session, or how many total sessions you can have covered. Your co-insurance and deductible may also factor into your overall nutritionist cost.

Using a service like Fay Nutrition can help you connect with a board-certified registered dietitian guaranteed to be covered by your specific health insurance. Fay can save you both time and money by matching you with a qualified provider faster and billing to insurance for you after your session so you don’t have to worry.

Click here to get started with Fay Nutrition and get matched with an RD near you today.

How much do nutritionists get paid?

With all this talk of the cost of a nutritionist, you might be curious how much RDs make. Dietitians’ and nutritionists’ annual salary ranges between $65K and $75K. On average, RDNs are paid $33.65 per hour, and most work full-time*. In states where the cost of living is higher, like California or New York, dietitians are generally paid more. Nutrition services may also be more expensive in those states.

39%* of RDNs and nutrition and dietetics technicians (NDTRs) work at for-profit companies, 37% work for non-profits (non-governmental), and 8% are self-employed. Those with a state license earn somewhat more* than those without, as do those with additional specialty certifications like CSSD (Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics), CSOWM (Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management), or CDCES (Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist).

When you should see a registered dietitian

Working with a dietetic professional like an RD can be incredibly useful for people with a vast range of health goals. Whether you are looking for a meal plan, need education on healthy eating, are trying to heal a chronic condition, or are simply trying to work on your overall health and wellness, a registered dietitian is a qualified guide.

RDs and RDNs can identify nutrient deficiencies in your existing eating habits and create a plan to help you meet your goals, which can include:

  • achieve fitness goals
  • heal from an eating disorder
  • develop a healthy relationship with food
  • guide weight loss or weight gain
  • manage chronic conditions and medical conditions like heart disease or high cholesterol
  • improve eating habits
  • address food allergies

A dietitian will provide a lot more than just a custom nutrition program or meal plan. As you work together, your RD will act as your guide for all the questions, concerns, and wins you have along the way. Consider them your trusted resource for all things related to nutrition and overall wellness. Your RD may also collaborate with your other healthcare providers, like your PCP, to align your health plan for an optimal outcome.

Find an RD covered by insurance

Ready to match with a registered dietitian who will be covered by your health insurance? Click here to use Fay Nutrition to find your match and get your nutrition services covered. All you need to do is input your insurance information, filter by your goals, and get started. Fay will even bill to your insurance after your session so you don’t have to worry.

Find a dietitian near you now.

The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.


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Maeve Ginsberg

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Maeve Ginsberg is a health and wellness writer with a personal passion for fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and former powerlifter, she loves combining her interests in health with her writing. Maeve has a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. 

Rita Faycurry, RD

Medically Reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

Rita Faycurry, RD is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in clinical nutrition for chronic conditions. Her approach to health is centered around the idea that the mind and body are intimately connected, and that true healing requires an evidence-based and integrative approach that addresses the root cause of disease. In her books and articles, Rita offers practical tips and insights on how to care for your body, mind, and spirit to achieve optimal health and wellness.