What is a Registered Dietitian? How Do I Become One?

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert. In order to achieve the RDN credential, certain academic and professional requirements must be met:

Complete a bachelor’s degree through an accredited program like the KSC Public Health/Nutrition Option. Course work must be accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Keene State’s degree program is accredited.)

Complete a dietetic internship accredited by ACEND and earn a master’s degree. This is a separate program that students apply to after a bachelor’s degree is obtained. Students applying to dietetic internships or combined internship/master’s degree programs should be aware that admittance to programs is competitive, and it is not guaranteed that all who apply will be accepted.

Upon completion of the internship master’s degree requirements the final step is to pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Applicants can take the exam after the completion of only a dietetic internship before December 31, 2023 however beginning January 1, 2024, an earned master’s degree will also be required. Passing the national examination leads to attainment of the credential of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Many States also require dietitians be licensed prior to practicing in their State.  Each State has different licensing requirements and it is the responsibility of the dietitian to understand and meet those requirements.  General information about licensure by State can be found here: State Licensure general information the Commission on Dietetics Registration

In order to maintain registration, RDNs must complete continuing professional education requirements.  More information related to maintaining your RDN credential can be found here: Maintaining your RDN credential Commission on Dietetics Registration

Some RDNs have specialty certifications, including pediatric nutrition, renal nutrition, sports nutrition, and diabetes education. These certifications are not mandatory but provide opportunities for specializing in advanced practices.  Information about these credentials can be found here: Board Certified Credentials Commission on Dietetics Registration

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