Dietitian License Requirements: How to Become a Dietitian in Maine

Maine dietitians are licensed by the Board of Licensing of Dietetic Practice. They must meet requirements for education, supervised practice, and examination. Additionally, they must clear criminal background checks and adhere to a code of ethics.

Individuals who complete their requirements in Maine typically also meet requirements for national registration with the Commission on Dietitian Registration. It can be an asset to earn and maintain certification. Dietitians who are nationally registered sometimes have an easier time becoming licensed in a new jurisdiction.

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Educational Standards

Dietitians must have degrees at at least the bachelor’s level. Qualifying U.S. degrees are those earned through regionally accredited schools. The student must complete a program that meets the standards of the national standard setting organization for dietetics or is determined equivalent by the Board. The program will include the following: chemistry, microbiology, physiology, nutrition, food composition, sociology or psychology, and communication skills.

The approval organization is listed as the American Dietetic Association in state code. This organization has since become the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; the accrediting arm is known as ACEND. Accredited programs may be taught at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

As of June 2016, there is just one ACEND-accredited program physically located in Maine. It is a didactic program, which means that supervised practice must be arranged and completed separately.

There are two main types of educational program nationwide: coordinated and didactic. Prospective students can locate programs using the ACEND search tool (http://www.eatrightacend.org). There are a small number of accredited online programs.

International Degrees

An international degree can be accepted if it is determined to be equivalent to an appropriately accredited U.S. bachelor’s or master’s degree by either a Board-approved evaluation agency or a regionally accredited university.

Supervised Experience Requirements

Maine requires the equivalent of six months of full-time supervised practice. The prospective dietitian must have accrued at least 900 hours. Again, the experience must either approved by the national standard setting organization or found to be equivalent. State code references the approval agency by its former name, the American Dietetic Association.

A supervisor who is not licensed in Maine must hold equivalent licensing in another state or, if the other state does not issue licenses, hold national registration.

An individual who seeks national certification as a Registered Dietitian may complete any of three types of supervised experience: coordinated program, internship, or individualized supervised practice pathway.

As of June 2016, there is one ACEND-accredited internship located in Maine. This one program accepts only about ten students per year. However, students can apply for internships throughout the nation. Internship is typically arranged through a computer matching process.

The Maine Board can accept supervised experience other than internship. However, individuals who wish to be certified by the Commission on Dietitian Registration will need to complete one of three forms of pre-professional experience accepted by the CDR.

Students may wish to consider supervised practice options when selecting a program. There are a limited number of accredited distance programs, including some that include pre-professional experience opportunities.

Supervised experience must be completed within five years of completion of academic requirements.

Examination Requirements

The Commission on Dietitian Registration administers a national certification examination. It also makes examinations available to state boards for licensing purposes. The Maine licensing agency can accept either a CDR registration card or examination results.

Content outline and other resources can be found on the CDR website.

Temporary Licensure

Temporary licensure may be granted to a graduate who has met all requirements with the exception of examination. An individual may be issued a temporary license, valid for one year. Temporary licenses are renewed only in cases of extreme hardship.

The Application Process

Application forms are found on the website of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/dietitians/forms.html).

There are certain documents that must be provided at first application (whether the applicant is requesting temporary or permanent licensure). Experience is documented by the supervisor; the form is included in the application packet.

Applicants who have been licensed in other states are required to provide license verification.

An applicant for temporary licensure pays $125. An applicant for full licensure pays $150. A $21 background check fee is also due at first application; this may be combined with the other fees.

Individuals are asked to read the applicable laws and rules before making application. These are listed in the application packet. Applications may be mailed to the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation in Augusta or hand delivered to the office in Gardiner.

Application status can be checked online. Applicants can also expect notification of deficiencies. The licensing agency requests that applicants not call about application status.

An individual who is upgrading from temporary to permanent licensure will submit the $150 licensing fee and provide documentation of either CDR registration or passing examination scores. It will be necessary to file another license application.

Renewal Requirements

Licenses are renewed annually. Licensed dietitians are expected to complete 15 hours of continuing education. Temporary license holders may be exempted from the continuing education requirement (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/dietitians/faq_temp_diet_tech.html).

Additional Information

Information about Maine dietitian licensing is available from the Board of Licensing of Dietetic Practice (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/dietitians/index.html). Those who cannot find answers to their questions on the website may email ‘diet.board at maine.gov’. The Board can be reached by telephone at (207) 624-8626. Names of contact persons are posted online (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/dietitians/contactus.html).

The Center for Nutrition Advocacy maintains a page outlining Maine license requirements (http://nutritionadvocacy.org/maine).

The Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (http://eatrightmaine.org).