Dietitian Requirements: How to Become a Registered Dietitian in Connecticut

Connecticut dietitian-nutritionists are state-certified by the Department of Public Health. They are health professionals. State statute explicitly authorizes them to carry out certain activities. Connecticut dietitian-nutritionists can write orders for patient diets; these can be entered into the patient’s medical record and carried out by other health professionals, provided the necessary protocols are met. State certification can confer benefits. It allows a professional to use certain protected titles such as Connecticut Certified Dietitian.

Dietitian-nutritionist is a bachelor’s level profession. Candidates can qualify by achieving national third party certification through the Commission on Dietitian Registration. National certification will ensure that education, practice, and examination requirements have been met. The prospective dietitian-nutritionist will still need to submit application materials to the Connecticut Department of Health as well as to the CDR.

Connecticut statute allows for one additional pathway, open only to individuals who have education at the master’s or doctoral level.

Select a Connecticut Registered Dietitian Topic:

Achieving Certification through the Commission on Dietitian Registration

Dietitians certified by the Commission on Dietitian Registration are known as “Registered Dietitian” or “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist”. The two terms are interchangeable; the RDN is a more recent term, designed to emphasize Registered Dietitians as one type of nutritionist.

The prospective Registered Dietitian will need to meet two separate educational requirements: completion of a bachelor’s degree and completion of an approved educational program. These two requirements may or may not be met concurrently through the same educational program. The dietetics accrediting agency is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). ACEND has provided a searchable directory of accredited programs (http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/).

The prospective Registered Dietitian will also need to complete a supervised practical experience that meets standards set by the CDR. Again, this requirement may be integrated with the educational program or completed separately. Programs that integrate pre-professional experience may be termed coordinated programs. In other cases, the pre-professional experience is completed through an accredited internship that participates in a matching program. In either case, the minimum number of hours is 1,200. Individuals who do not match to internships may have an additional option: an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). In some cases, individuals completing supervised experience may receive payment.

The Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has provided information about Connecticut educational programs and internships (http://www.eatrightct.org/resource-library/dietetic-education). The CDR can provide general information about ISPPs.

After meeting prerequisite requirements, the RD candidate will apply for examination. The examination is multiple choice. It includes content in food service systems as well as nutrition care for individuals and groups. Content is reviewed periodically. Currently, the CDR website shows the content outline for two different versions of the test: one that went into effect in 2012, another that will go into effect in 2017 (https://www.cdrnet.org). An approved examinee will receive an ATT that authorizes scheduling through Pearson VUE. Details are found in the candidate handbook. A candidate is not required to test in Connecticut. The exam is available at over 250 sites throughout the United States. Candidates should be prepared to pay $200. Those who need additional preparation can purchase study materials from the CDR website.

Internationally Educated Dietitians

The CDR has reciprocity agreements with organizations in several countries, including Canada. Reciprocity applicants use a separate application form (https://www.cdrnet.org/program-director/foreign-degrees). ACEND has begun accrediting international programs, but will consider applications that demonstrate substantively equivalent education; this pathway is in effect through July 1, 2019 (https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/registration-eligibility-requirements-for-dietitians).

Alternate Requirements for Graduate-Level Nutritionists

In order to qualify by the alternate pathway, a student must have completed a graduate degree that was focused primarily on dietetics or nutrition (http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=421302). In order to qualify, a program must be at least 30 credit hours and must include at least 21 hours drawn from the following content areas:

  • Human nutrition or life cycle nutrition
  • Nutrition biochemistry
  • Food composition or food science
  • Nutrition counseling or health education
  • Role of nutrition in disease and health
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Public health or community nutrition

A qualifying graduate-level dietitian-nutritionist can achieve Connecticut certification by passing either of two examinations: the CDR examination, or the examination offered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

The Connecticut Application and State Certification Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the website of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=416426).

Nationally Registered applicants are directed to have the Commission on Dietitian Registration provide verification directly to the licensing agency. Master’s educated applicants who do not hold RD certification will need to have their schools fill out a verification of education form; this can be downloaded from the DPH website (http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=421302). These applicants will also need to document that they have passed one of the two qualifying examinations.

The application form includes legal and professional history questions. Applicants who answer “yes” to certain questions will need to provide explanatory statements and supporting documentation.

An applicant who has held certification as a dietitian/ nutritionist in one or more other states is required to provide license verification. The Department of Health notes that a fee may be required. Out-of-state applicants are referred to the CRD website for a list of state regulatory agencies and their contact information (https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure-agency-list).

Connecticut applicants pay $190 for initial certification. The applicant will need to attach a recent photograph to the application form. The form is to be notarized. The completed document is to be submitted to ‘Dietitian/Nutritionist Application Processing’ in Hartford.

State certification is renewed annually. Renewal applicants pay $105.

Additional Information

Information about certification as a Registered Dietitian is available from the Commission on Dietitian Registration (https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/registered-dietitian-rd-certification). The CDR can be reached at 1 (800) 877-1600 Ext. 5500.

Information about Connecticut certification is available from the Connecticut Department of Health (http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=416420&dphNav_GID=1821). The licensing agency can be reached by email at ‘oplc.dph at ct.gov’.

The Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an additional professional resource (http://www.eatrightct.org/). It is the state chapter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.