Dietitian and Nutritionist License Requirements: How to Become a Dietitian in Maryland

Maryland Dietitian-Nutritionists are licensed by the Maryland State Board of Dietetic Practice. The state has a practice act for dietitians and nutritionists. They must hold licensure unless they are exempt under the law. Practitioners may meet requirements by presenting national certification through either of two approved national organizations. They may also present evidence of education and training directly to the Maryland Board and request examination.

Nutritionist is a master’s level occupation. Dietitian is open to individuals with education at the bachelor’s level.

Select a Maryland Licensed Dietitian Topic:

Meeting Dietitian-Nutritionist Requirements as a Dietitian

RD Certification: Certification through the Commission on Dietitian Registration is widely accepted as the basis of licensure. An individual who seeks national certification as a Registered Dietitian (RD) should enroll in an ACEND-accredited program. The ACEND website lists accredited programs around the nation (http://www.eatrightacend.org/). There are three accredited bachelor’s level programs and one accredited master’s level program located in Maryland.

A prospective RD will need to pursue one of three types of supervised practice, as described on the website of the Commission on Dietitian Registration (https://www.cdrnet.org). In order to accrue experience concurrently with education, a student must enroll in a coordinated program. There is just one coordinated program in Maryland. It is master’s level, though there are bachelor’s level coordinated programs located in other states.

In other cases, supervised experience will be completed after education requirements have been met. Graduates may complete internships or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs). The ACEND website lists five Maryland internships. There are some very well-known organizations such as the National Institutes for Health. Just as prospective dietitians around the nation may vie for competitive Maryland internships, Maryland graduates may vie for internships in other states.

Currently, Maryland internships last ten to eleven months. This is typical of internships around the nation, though some are slightly shorter and some are completed part-time over a longer time period. A prospective RD is expected to accrue at least 1,200 pre-professional experience hours.

The candidate will take the registration examination after meeting all other requirements. The test is multiple choice and is available in a computerized format at Pearson VUE assessment centers.

Licensure without RD Certification: A graduate who is not nationally certified will need to provide evidence of 24 semester hours in one of the following fields: human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics, or food service management (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/dietetic/Pages/licensure.aspx).

The applicant will need to demonstrate at least three semester hours in each of the following subjects:

  • Physiological chemistry, biochemistry, or advanced normal nutrition
  • Food science

He or she will need to demonstrate at least three upper division semester hours in each of the following:

  • Disease-related human nutrition
  • Management of food service systems

The licensing agency will require 900 hours of supervised practice. The Board refers to this as pre-planned experience.

Meeting Dietitian-Nutritionist Requirements as a Nutritionist

CNS Certification: Maryland also accepts the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) certification for licensing purposes. CNS is cited in a number of licensing laws, though not as many as the RD. The CNS credential is awarded by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. It is granted to qualified graduate level nutritionists. The graduate degree may be in nutrition, healthcare, or a related field such as public health.

The Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists has set minimum coursework requirements in nutrition, physiology, biochemistry, and clinical or life sciences. Certification is also dependent on completion of 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Supervised experience must conform to the structure stipulated by the Certification Board. The experience must, for example, include at least 200 hours devoted to nutrition assessment.

The examination is administered on set dates at sites around the nation. Graduates are permitted to attempt the certification examination before completion of supervised practice requirements. Information is available from the Certification Board (http://nutritionspecialists.org/become-cns/cns-nutrition-and-health-professionals).

Licensure without CNS Certification: A nutritionist who is not nationally certified will provide evidence of a master’s or doctoral degree in a field such as dietetics, food and nutrition, community nutrition, or public health nutrition. The licensing agency can accept equivalent academic training.

The licensing agency will again require 24 semester hours of qualifying coursework. Maryland has set the same minimum supervised practice requirement for nutritionists as for dietitians: 900 hours.

The Examination Process

Applicants who are not certified by a qualifying agency will submit applications and supporting documents to the Maryland Board and then wait for approval to take the licensing examination. The examination is the one developed by the Commission on Dietitian Registration.

The Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the website of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/dietetic/Pages/forms.aspx).

An applicant who is nationally certified will provide his or her registration number and include a copy of the qualifying card or certificate.

An applicant who is seeking examination permission will provide a transcript. The applicant will need additional forms for listing the 24 hours of required experience and reporting pre-planned professional experience.

The license application requires notarization. There is a $75 application fee. The licensing fee is due later.

Renewal Requirements

Maryland Dietitian-Nutritionists renew their state licenses every two years. They are expected to do 30 hours of continuing education.

Additional Information

Information about licensure of Dietitian-Nutritionists is available from the Maryland State Board of Dietetic Practice (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/dietetic/Pages/index.aspx). The Board can be reached by telephone at (410) 764-4733. Additional contact information, including email addresses for Board staff, is available online (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/dietetic/Pages/contact.aspx). The Board publishes an annual newsletter.

The Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the state affiliate of an established professional organization, and as such, is an especially valuable resource for dietitians (http://eatwellmd.org). The accrediting agency, ACEND, is under the banner of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.