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Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Requirements

Educational and professional requirements of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RD credential:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Completed an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

The Henry Ford Hospital Dietetic Internship qualifies as an ACEND – accredited supervised practice program.

Some RDs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice. These are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for the Academy, and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession, but are not required. Some of the certifications include pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, nutrition support, and diabetes education.

In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Frequently these state requirements are met through the same education and training required to become an RDN.

Forty-six states have enacted legislation regulating the practice of dietetics. State licensure and state certification are entirely separate and distinct from registration or certification by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Michigan is currently not a state that has enacted legislation regulations.

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