Dietitian and Nutritionist Certification Requirements in New York

New York nutritionists and dietitians are state certified. There are multiple pathways to certification. Dietitians and nutritionists may meet New York certification requirements and simultaneously meet requirements of either of two respected national certification organizations: the Commission on Dietitian Registration or the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. However, some individuals will qualify for certification in New York without earning either of these national credentials.

Prospective practitioners should be aware that there have been attempts to pass laws that are more restrictive and would limit the pathways through which New York requirements could be met.

Select a New York Certified Dietitian or Nutritionist Topic:

Education and Training Overview

A student can meet education and training requirements by earning a baccalaureate (or the equivalent) in dietetics/nutrition and completing a planned experience component.

An experienced nutritionist or dietitian can, in some instances, be certified on the basis of an associate’s degree. The professional will need to have practiced for ten out of the prior fifteen years. Additionally, he or she will need to be endorsed by three nutritionists or dietitians. A qualifying associate’s degree is one that includes 30 semester hours of nutrition/ dietetics content and also meets requirements for behavioral and biological coursework.

The following are among the topics considered to be dietetics/ nutrition coursework: principles of nutrition, nutrient composition of foods, diet modification, food service management, interpretation and application of nutrition information, and professionalism and ethics.

Educational Standards at the Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Levels

A student can be assured of meeting educational requirements if he or she enrolls in a program that is nationally accredited or is registered by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The national accrediting agency is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND); it is still referenced by its former title, CADE, in some documents.

A graduate may be certified in New York on the basis of a baccalaureate program that was not ACEND-accredited or NYSED-registered. He or she will need to meet an extensive set of requirements. The program will, for example, need to include 45 semester hours of dietetic/ nutrition coursework and 20 semester hours of biological and social and behavioral sciences coursework.

By completing a program that is ACEND-accredited, a student can meet academic requirements for national registration; nationwide this tends to lead to the most opportunities. Accredited programs may be termed ‘coordinated’ – integrating pre-professional experience and academic work – or ‘didactic’. Students who attend either type of program will ultimately meet similar requirements, but they will do so on a different timeline. The ACEND website lists two in-state coordinated programs. It lists 13 in-state didactic programs.

An individual with education at the graduate level may instead opt to meet academic requirements of the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. The person will need a degree in a field that is related to healthcare or nutrition. Academic education will need to meet the minimum coursework standards of the CBNS.

Supervised Practice Requirements

In order to be certification-qualifying in New York, a planned practical experience must be at least 800 hours; this is considered to be half of a full-time year. The experience may be a part of the academic program. If it is not a structured component of the program, it must take place afterward. The experience must include several components, including provision of nutrition counseling, assessment of food patterns and needs, and direction of food provision.

A prospective dietitian will need a slightly longer planned experience in order to meet current national standards. CDR candidates are expected to have 1,200 pre-professional hours, whether earned through a coordinated program or a post-degree program. Qualifying experience takes one of three forms. One common form is internship.The ACEND website lists fully 16 New York internship programs with a variety of emphasis areas, from clinical nutrition therapy to community nutrition to independent practice. Students who complete ACEND-accredited programs can compete for internships across the nation.

A person who is pursuing certification through the CBNS will be expected to demonstrate 1,000 hours of qualifying experience. The CBNS does, however, allow candidates to test before completing supervised practice requirements.

Examination Requirements

New York can accept examinations offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration or the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. In many cases, the candidate will achieve a nationally recognized credential as well as a New York certification. An individual who does not meet requirements to take either examination for national certification purposes may still be granted examination permission; the CDR examination is widely utilized for licensing purposes.

A New York candidate who is not otherwise qualified for examination is directed to call the Dietetics-Nutrition Unit of the Office of the Professions (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/diet/dietlic.htm).

The Application Process

Applications forms can be found on the website of the Office of the Professions (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/diet/dietforms.htm).

The prospective certificate holder will submit a certification of education. The amount of information required will depend on program accreditation or registration status. If the program was not ACEND-accredited or NYSED-registered, the applicant will also need to submit a transcript. The licensing notes that this is the case even with programs that have been approved by ACEND.

The licensing department will seek documentation from the professional who supervised or coordinated the planned experience.

Some forms are required only of associate’s level applicants. A professional applying on the basis of an associate degree will submit an academic professional experience record. Endorsements are to be sent directly by the nutrition professionals who complete them. The professionals who provide the endorsements must hold appropriate credentials – I.e. be certified in New York or hold registration or membership in an acceptable organization.

The application fee is currently listed as $294 (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/diet/dietforms.htm).

Additional Information

Certification information is available from the New York State Office of the Professions (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/diet/dietlic.htm). The State Board for Dietetics and Nutrition can be reached by telephone at 518-474-3817 or by email at ‘dietbd at nysed.gov’.

Prospective nutrition professionals may wish to maintain ties to professional organizations. This may help them stay apprised of bills that would impact nutrition practice. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Center for Nutrition Advocacy represent different visions for the future of nutrition practice. The state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or NYSAND (http://www.eatrightny.org/).