Dietitian License Requirements: How to Become a Dietitian in Indiana

Indiana licenses dietitians but not nutritionists. The Center for Nutritional Advocacy describes the licensure law as licensure without exclusive scope of practice ( The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) describes it as title protection (

The Indiana state credential is Certified Dietitian, or CD. The certification process involves education, supervised practice, and examinations. A dietitian may simultaneously meet requirements for Registered Dietitian, or RD; the latter is a national credential. Nationwide, dietitians have the most opportunity if they hold credentialing as Registered Dietitians.

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Licensing Pathways

Prospective dietitians may present evidence of education and training to the Indiana Board before examination. Conversely, they can achieve certification through the Commission on Dietitian Registration, then apply.

The first step is education. A prospective dietitian must earn a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from a regionally accredited university. The Indiana Board can accept the following courses of study: dietetics, nutrition education, human nutrition, or food systems management. Internationally educated applicants will need to demonstrate that their education was equivalent to that that which would be received in a qualifying U.S. bachelor’s or master’s program.

A student who will be pursuing the RD credential should enroll in a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). ACEND operates under the banner of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an organization that was until recently known as the American Dietetic Association.

There is more than one type of accredited program – prospective students should become familiar with the terms “coordinated” and “didactic”. The ACEND website lists three coordinated programs and four didactic programs that are located within Indiana. Students who attend coordinated programs receive university-supervised practical experience as part of their educational programs. Those who do not must complete their supervised practice separately.

Indiana dietetic students may earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Most programs are at the undergraduate level.

Supervised Practice Requirement

The prospective dietitian will need to complete a pre-professional practice experience supervised by a certified or registered dietitian. According to state administrative code, the experience must be a minimum of 900 hours. It must either be accredited or judged equivalent by the appropriate Indiana authority.

The 2016 version of the Indiana application form asks applicants to note whether their experience was a CDR-accredited internship, CDR-accredited coordinated program, CDR-approved practice program, or something else; applicants who mark “other” will need to specify.

Dietitians who seek RD certification will need to complete pre-professional experiences that are approved by the Commission on Dietitian Registration ( Those who complete coordinated programs will have their experience completed by the time of graduation. Supervised internship may instead take the form of an internship or an Individualized Supervised Practice Program (ISPP).

The ACEND website lists two Indiana internships, each enrolling 16 to 24 interns annually. Both Indiana internships last a little less than a year. The internship does not have to be completed through an Indiana program, even if the student attended an in-state school. There are accredited internships throughout the nation. There are some internship programs listed as “distance”.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the PLA website (

The licensing agency requires official transcripts; these are to be sent directly from the issuing institution.

Applicants who hold CDR registration are directed to include copies of their registration cards.

An applicant who is not a Registered Dietitian will need to have an experience/ intern form completed by the supervisor. If the internship was completed outside Indiana, the licensing agency will require certification from the board in that state. Basic information about the supervisor and the employment will be provided on the experience form.

An applicant who has held healthcare licensure or certification in any state will be required to provide verification. The verification form can also be downloaded from the PLA website.

Applicants who answer “yes” to certain legal and professional history questions (for example, malpractice judgments or criminal history) will include sworn affidavits and other supporting documentation. Some health conditions will also require explication.

The applicant should provide two small photographs. The PLA notes that they should be professional quality. An applicant who has had a name change should provide official documentation.

The application fee is $20.

Prospective licensees must have fingerprint-based background checks. This step is not carried out until after the application has been submitted and an email notice has been received. The approved vendor is MorphoTrust. Fingerprints can be made electronically. Out-of-state applicants may have their fingerprints made manually, then send them to the vendor for processing. Instructions are found on the PLA website ( Applicants may visit the Indiana page of the MorphoTrust website to schedule (

Renewal Requirements

Indiana dietitians renew their state licenses every two years. The length of the initial licensing period will vary. Dietitians complete 30 or more hours of continuing education during each two-year licensing period. A dietitian may have a lesser continuing education requirement during his or her initial licensing period — or no continuing education requirement; the requirement will depend on the stage of the renewal cycle.

Renewal of the Registered Dietitian credential (if desired) is a separate process. RDs recertify through the CDR every five years.

Nutritionist Credentials

Nutritionists may be hired on the basis of third party credentials such as Certified Nutrition Specialist or Sports Nutritionist; this is at employer discretion. Some nutritionist certifications (for example, Certified Nutrition Specialist) are graduate level.

Additional Information

Information about dietitian certification is available from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. Application questions can be addressed to (317) 234-2060 or ‘pla3 at’.

The Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ( As such, it can be a valuable professional resource.