How Do I Become an RDN?
To become a registered dietitian nutritionist, you will need to:
- Earn a degree from an accredited dietetics program*.
- Complete a supervised practice requirement.
- Pass a national exam for RDNs.
- Gain licensure in your state, if applicable.
- Maintain knowledge through continuing education.
Dietetics education programs in colleges and universities are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics—or ACEND®. As an accrediting agency, ACEND makes sure that students preparing for careers as RDNs are getting the education they need to qualify for taking the national RDN exam. Classes cover variety of subjects, ranging from food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology and communication to science courses such as biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and chemistry. See accredited programs.
In addition to earning a degree, individuals must complete a supervised practice program to gain real-world experience and apply knowledge learned in the classroom to the context of a variety of work settings.
Once one completes their degree and supervised practice, they may schedule to take CDR's Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians to become a credentialed as registered dietetics nutrisitionist. *Beginning in 2024, a minimum of a master's degree will be required in order to be eligible to take the exam.
After successfully passing the national exam and earning the credential, RDNs maintain ongoing professional development in order to stay up to date on the latest research, recommendations and best practices.
How Do I Become an NDTR?
To become a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered, you will need to:
- Earn an associate degree and specific curriculum requirements OR complete a bachelors degree from an accredited dietetics program
- Pass a national exam for NDTRs
Dietetics Technician Programs are accredited by ACEND, ensuring that students preparing for careers as NDTRs are getting the education they need to qualify for taking the national DTR exam. Graduates of accredited dietetics programs who earn a bachelor's degree may also qualify to take the DTR exam.
Once one completes their educational requirements, they may schedule to take CDR's Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians to become credentialed as a nutrition and dietetics technician, registered.
Career Changers and International Students
If you are interested in a nutrition career, you can become a RDN or a NDTR — even if you have a degree in a different area of study. If you already have a degree from a U.S. institutional-accredited college or university that is recognized by the United States Department of Education, you will need to have your college transcripts evaluated by a director of dietetics program accredited by ACEND. International professionals who have completed their education and training outside of the United States, or who received credentials in another country, may be eligible to become credentialed practitioners in the U.S. Visit ACEND to learn more.