Dietitian License Requirements: How to Become a Licensed Dietitian in Delaware

Delaware’s Licensed Dietitians (LDs) receive their licenses from the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation. Prospective dietitians can qualify by meeting standards set by a national organization, the Commission on Dietitian Registration (CDR). They can also qualify by meeting Delaware examination and practice requirements and passing an examination.

The licensing agency will approve candidates for examination after they complete education and practice requirements. Those who have already passed the examination and earned a qualifying credential may be licensed without further examination. There are three avenues for licensure: license by examination, license by CDR registration, and license by reciprocity.

State code notes two approved examinations: the one offered by the CDR and the one offered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists. A dietitian/ nutritionist who has practiced for ten or more years may qualify for a waiver of the examination requirement.

Select a Delaware Licensed Dietitian Topic:

Delaware Education and Training Standards

The prospective Delaware licensee must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. He or she must demonstrate a major course of study in one of the following fields: dietetics, human nutrition, nutrition education, food and nutrition, or food systems management. In order to be accepted as a “major course of study”, the program must include three semester hours each of coursework that has biochemistry and human physiology content and 12 semester hours of dietetics or nutrition coursework (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title24/3800.shtml); dietetics/ nutrition coursework is to include a course in diet therapy or diet and disease.

Delaware also mandates a supervised practice experience of at least 900 hours. The experience does not necessarily need to be paid employment. The supervisor does, however, need to meet requirements described in state administrative code. The supervisor will need to be able to access client records.

According to state code, the supervised experience may be accomplished through completion of a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Accreditation (CADE). This accrediting agency is now known as the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Prospective licensees should be aware that accredited coordinated programs now include 1,200 hours of pre-professional experience.

Internationally educated applicants will need to demonstrate degree equivalency in order to be approved for license by examination in Delaware. Delaware code lists five approved credential evaluation agencies:

  • International Consultants of Delaware, Inc.
  • IERF Credentials Evaluation Services
  • World Education Services, Inc.
  • Education Credential Evaluators, Inc.
  • Josef Silny & Associates, International Education Consultants

Achieving Certification through the Commission on Dietitian Registration

In order to be certified by the CDR as a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, an individual must, in most cases, complete an accredited program. Some international candidates are approved on the basis of equivalent education. Currently one can achieve certification with a bachelor’s degree. The Delaware Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, however, notes that many certified dietitian nutritionists have education at the graduate level (http://eatrightdelaware.org/whoarewe.html).

The CDR requires 1,200 hours of qualifying pre-professional experience. The pre-professional experience may be integrated into the educational program or completed separately. Both coordinated programs and internships can be accredited. A third option is the Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP).

Approved candidates must take a certification examination.

Out-of-State Licensees and Certificate Holders

Dietitians who are licensed in other states but do not have CDR certification may apply by reciprocity. The Department of Regulation notes that out-of-state licensees who do hold current CDR credentials should apply for license by CDR registration, not reciprocity (http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/dietitians/faqs.shtml). These applicants will not need to go through the process of having licensing standards evaluated for equivalency. This can make the application process quicker, even in cases where equivalency can be demonstrated.

The Application Process

License application forms can be downloaded from the website of the Division of Professional Regulation (http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/dietitians/forms.shtml). Currently, the same form is used for all application pathways; detailed instructions are provided.

Applicants who have held licensure or certification in other states must submit license verification; this is the case regardless of the application pathway selected. The licensing agency can accept electronic verification or an original verification form.

Applicants who hold CDR registration should include a copy of their CDR card and also arrange to have official verification sent.

Applicants who have passed another examination such as the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists exam are directed to select “license by examination” as the pathway but arrange for verification of their test results. A copy of the CBNS card should also be included in the application.

Applicants who are applying for license by examination will need to submit transcripts and documentation of supervised experience to the licensing agency. Transcripts should be sent directly from the issuing institution. The application package includes a form to document supervised experience; the supervisor will submit it directly to DPR.

Applicants applying by reciprocity will need to provide copies of the dietetics/ nutrition law and regulations from each jurisdiction of licensure.

The application form requires notarization. Application materials must be accompanied by a $182 fee.

It generally takes four to six weeks from the time that a complete application is received by the Division of Professional Regulation to the time that the resulting license is issued.

Renewal Requirements

Delaware licenses expire biennially on odd-numbered years. Renewal applicants will attest to having met continuing education requirements. The Licensed Dietitian is expected to have 30 total hours of continuing education during each two-year period. Requirements can be prorated during the first license period.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation (http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/dietitians). DPR can be reached by telephone at (302) 744-4500. Licensing requirements are described in Title 24 of Delaware Administrative Code (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title24/3800.shtml). There were some revisions in 2016.

The Delaware Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is an additional professional resource (http://eatrightdelaware.org/).