How to become a Registered Dietitian? Registered Dietitians (RD) are a sought-after profession for those who are interested in wellness and health. A Registered Dietitian could play a variety of duties in a local community. You can work at the hospital or in another medical facility and provide nutritional support for patients. You could also focus on the nutrition of the entire population and collaborate with non-profits as well as government as well as educational institutes.
The variety of professions is just one reason to become an RD. The path to a career of an RD can provide a decent salary with an average of $60,000,370 and an anticipated job growth rate of 11% between the year 2018 to 2028. However, becoming a registered dietitian can be as straightforward as educating yourself on eating a balanced diet. Dietetics is a highly regulated profession where training and higher education matter, especially since most states require a license/certification to practice, and in order to become licensed, a secondary degree is required. By 2024, at least a minimum of a doctoral qualification in related fields will be required to pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians Test by the Commission on Dietetic Registration ( CDR test). If you’re looking to become a registered dietitian, there are the steps you’ll need to follow.
- Scroll down to Step 1. Get an accredited bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.
- Scroll to Step 2: Complete a dietetic internship
- Scroll until Step 3. Complete the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) test
- Scroll down to step 4: Apply for the state’s license
- Scroll down to Step 5: Keep the state permit and registration
Step 1 Get an accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree.
The first step towards becoming a certified dietitian is obtaining an education in the field of nutrition. You will also need to get an official verification certificate issued by the accreditation council for education in nutrition and dietetics (ACEND) recognized program. This is necessary to take the CDR test. Suppose a person would like to pursue their RD and is a holder of either a master’s or bachelor’s qualification at an ASCEND accredited institution. However, it is vital to keep in mind that this may be changed in 2024. 1 January 2024, a master’s degree will be the minimum qualification to be able to take the CDR test in lieu of the baccalaureate level degree.
If you graduate prior to 2024, you could take a bachelor’s degree course in clinical nutrition or public health nutrition, dietetics, or foods and nutrition. The courses you take will be focused on nutrition based on research and nutritional therapy, food and nutrition in the community, and principles of food and food services.
If you’re looking for a doctoral program, then you should consider the possibility of an ACEND accredited master’s degree in nutrition or a coordinated degree program like a master’s degree in public health or registered dietitian (MPH/RD). Before you apply, ensure that you’ve included any particular qualifications or experience related to nutrition that is required or may be able to qualify you for the next steps in becoming an RD.
Step 2: Complete a Dietetic Internship
It is essential to get hands-on experience during an internship following finishing your nutrition course to become an accredited dietitian. This is the case for those who have earned a master’s degree, not only for those who hold bachelor’s degrees.
You may choose to go through the traditional dietetic internship (DI) or one that is a Coordinated Program (CP) and one that is an individualized, supervised practice pathway (ISPP). No matter which program you choose you choose, you must complete 1200 hours of training under the supervision of an accredited professional.
In accordance with ASCEND, to apply for a Dietetic Internship, you are required to make use of to apply online through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS). Nearly all internships make use of this system, and you can use it to find the right DI and CP internships across the nation. If you’re looking to join an ISPP and are interested in it, you need to explore other options.
Internships can last anywhere from 8 to 24 months. You can be employed as part-time as well as full-time. There are also remote and online internship opportunities for those who cannot finish an in-person one.
It is possible to choose an internship according to your career interests and objectives. Numerous programs concentrate on clinical nutrition and medical nutrition therapy. The community, nutrition for kids food systems management as well as public health nutrition education, and other areas.
A lot of prospective RDs earn a degree and later pursue an internship on their own. You can also take the alternative for applying to a Coordinated Program, according to ACEND, which offers the vital Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) instruction and controlled exercise. You can enroll in the accredited Coordinated Program to obtain the necessary education and instruction to pass the test.
A Dietetic Internship paired with graduate studies isn’t an actual Coordinated Program, though Coordinated Programs may be developed at the graduate level.
Personalized Supervised Training Pathways (ISPP)
Another alternative is taking up an ISPP that is designed to offer supervised training through ACEND certified dietetic classes. There are two kinds of ISPPs available, one designed for Didactic Program in Dietetics graduates and one for doctoral holders.
- ISPP stands for Didactic Program for Dietetics Graduates (DPD)
This option is available to graduates who have not completed an internship in dietetics but do have the DPD confirmation statement. The DPD offers the necessary dietetics course that leads to a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree. Students who graduate from the programs that are certified through the director of the program can submit an application to Dietetic Internships or ISPPs to get the supervision necessary to take the RD test.
- ISPP to Doctoral Graduating Graduates
You can also apply for ISPP without having a DPD verification form in the event that you have a doctoral degree. But, they have to enroll in an ISPP that has been approved to offer a track to people with a doctoral level.
You can search for ISPPs by looking up accredited educational programs at ASCEND However; please be aware that eligibility requirements for specific ISPPs will differ by program.
Step 3. Take Step 3: Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam
Successfully passing the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination is the most important step you can take to obtain the RD credential and to become a registered dietitian. Once you have completed your education and the requirements for internship, you will be certified with the CDR, and then you can take the exam to become a registered dietitian. The rules are extremely strict with regard to the eligibility requirements for RD exams. Therefore, make sure you take a thorough examine the available student scenarios that have different backgrounds, and ensure that you’re eligible to sit for the test.
There are more than 250 test locations. The test takes two and one-half hours long and contains up to 150 questions. In accordance with the current regulations for Registered Dietitian Examination that are in effect until 31 December 2021, the test consists of:
- 25 25% Principles of Dietetics
- 40% Nutritional Services for Groups and Individuals
- 21% of the Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services
- 14 percent Food service Systems
Step 4: Apply for the State License
The state in which you want to practice might require you to get an official state license or certificate before working. The CDR gives information on the conditions that require additional licensure requirements for licensed dietitians. In some circumstances, you may be eligible for licensure depending on your education or internship, as well as your exam results. However, the majority of states have their own state-specific licenses, so it’s best to verify and plan beforehand for the particular requirements for the place you’d like to reside and work.
Step 5: Keep the State License and Registration
To maintain your certification in the field of RD to maintain your RD certification, you must take 75 credits of continuing education every five years. Additionally, one of the credits must be in ethics.
It is mandatory to submit a learning program and an Activity log in the first 120 days of having completed your first task. CDR provides a 120-day calculator to calculate the deadline by which you must complete your plan of learning. You are required to pay an annual fee for registration maintenance and keep Your MyCDR Page. It is your personal website, and all information you provide must be up-to-date.
When is the best time to finish your education requirements?
It can take four to up to eight or more years to become a registered dietetic professional, according to your professional path and the state you reside in. It could include four years of undergraduate study, two years of master’s degree plus one year of work experience and months to pass the CDR examination, and additional time for the Coordinated Program and obtaining a license in your state, if it is required.