Dietitian and Nutritionist License Requirements: How to Become a Licensed Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist in North Dakota

North Dakota licenses dietitians and nutritionists and has been doing so for more than 30 years. The official titles are Licensed Registered Dietitian (LRD) and Licensed Nutritionist (LN). Dietitians meet standards set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, a third party organization that enjoys widespread recognition. The LRD licensure process involves education, supervised practice, and examination.

Nutritionists meet standards set at the state level. North Dakota licenses nutritionists at both the baccalaureate and graduate levels. The process has one major component: education.

North Dakota protects not only job titles but some nutrition-related duties. The Board notes that a health coach could provide general nutrition information but could not legally do all the things a dietitian could (

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Dietitian Requirements

Dietitians will present evidence of CDR registration when applying for full licensure. Thus they should make sure that their education and training are consistent with CDR requirements. A prospective dietitian may choose to enroll in an initial program that includes didactic education and supervised pre-professional experience or one that includes only didactic education. Didactic programs are more common than coordinated programs nationwide, though not in North Dakota. Prospective students should be aware that they will need to complete a planned pre-professional experience at some point before seeking registration and licensure.

Programs must be accredited or approved by ACEND, the national accrediting agency for the dietetic profession. Prospective students can search on the ACEND website ( North Dakota has two coordinated programs. Both are baccalaureate level. North Dakota has one didactic program, also baccalaureate level. (There are a more limited number of programs nationwide taught at the master’s level.)

A student who enrolls in a didactic program may apply to internships during his or her final year. As of 2016, North Dakota is not listed as having in-state dietetic internships. A graduate may apply to internships in other states. The graduate may also research internship programs that offer distance supervision. He or she will need to find out if the desired program has the capacity to supervise North Dakota interns. It is common for an internship to last about one academic year, though programs can be shorter or longer. They must include a minimum of 1,200 hours of pre-professional experience.

Examination represents a final step. An approved candidate will schedule a computer-delivered testing session. Candidate guides are available from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (

Dietitians may be eligible for limited licenses while waiting to pass the examination. The limited license is issued for one year. A six-month renewal can be granted in some instances. However, the limited license holder will need to explain why he or she did not complete the requirement during the allotted time period.

Nutritionist Requirements

Nutritionists are licensed on the basis of education. Requirements vary, depending on whether the practitioner has education at the baccalaureate or graduate level.

A professional can qualify based on a master’s or doctoral degree in any of the following fields: foods and nutrition, human nutrition, nutrition education, or public health nutrition. The individual will also be considered qualified if the graduate degree meets eligibility requirement set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. (A CDR-accredited didactic program would qualify.)

A nutritionist qualifying on the basis of a baccalaureate degree will need to demonstrate nine academic semester hours of nutrition. At least two semester hours must be in advanced nutrition; to qualify, the course must count both human physiology and organic chemistry (or biochemistry) among its prerequisites. If the nutritionist enrolled in a baccalaureate program after August 1, 2000, he or she will need to have earned a degree in dietetics or food and nutrition.

A nutritionist who is applying for a license on the basis of a baccalaureate degree that was earned ten or more years in the past will need to provide evidence of 75 hours of qualifying continuing education.

In some cases, a nutritionist can be licensed on the basis of membership in the American Society of Nutrition or the American Board of Clinical Nutrition. The North Dakota Board notes that the American Society of Nutrition was formerly known as the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, the American Board of Clinical Nutrition as the American Board of Nutrition.

North Dakota does not currently mandate examination for nutritionists.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the Board website (

A dietitian applicant will submit a copy of his or her CDR registration certificate (unless applying for a limited license, in which case the Board will seek a copy of the CDR application).

A nutritionist will submit at least one qualifying document. A nutritionist who is applying on the basis of a baccalaureate degree will have official transcripts sent.

The applicant is expected to have read the applicable portions of North Dakota Century Code as well as the governing rules and regulations.

Application forms are to be notarized.

The initial license fee is $60. There is a $25 fee for a limited license.

Renewal Requirements

Licenses are renewed on an annual basis.

Both LRDs and LNs are expected to do 75 hours of continuing education every five years. Additionally, LRDs are expected to recertify through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. The LRD continuing education cycle is based on the CDR recertification cycle.

Additional Voluntary Credentials

Dietitians and nutritionists may qualify for additional voluntary certifications granted by third party organizations. Registered dietitians may seek Board certification in a specialty area such as oncology nutrition or renal nutrition.

Practitioners may ultimately achieve several credentials. The North Dakota Board notes that the Commission on Dietetic Registration has provided guidance on placing credentials after one’s name (

Additional Information

Information about licensing requirements for dietitians and nutritionists is available from the North Dakota Board of Dietetic Practice ( The executive secretary can be reached by email at ‘execsec at’ or by telephone at 701-838-0218. Rules and laws can be accessed online (

The North Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the state affiliate of the national professional organization for dietitians (