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Dietitian License Requirements in West Virginia

West Virginia dietitians are licensed by the West Virginia Board of Licensed Dietitians. Licensing requirements include academic education, pre-professional experience, and examination. A person can simultaneously meet West Virginia licensing requirements and national certification requirements set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. An applicant for first-time licensure who does not hold CDR registration is eligible only for provisional status; he or she will complete license requirements while holding this status.

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Academic Requirements and Options

In order to be license eligible, an applicant must have completed a course of study in dietetics, human nutrition, food systems management, or another discipline determined to be equivalent. The minimum education level is the bachelor's degree.

In order to be assured of meeting requirements, a student should enroll in an ACEND-accredited program. ACEND is the accrediting arm of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Prospective students may search for didactic or coordinated programs on the ACEND website. Students who complete coordinated programs complete their academic and pre-professional requirements concurrently; it is common to enroll in a coordinated program during one's junior year. Didactic programs do not include the pre-professional experience; students who choose these programs complete pre-professional experience as a separate step.

West Virginia does not, as of 2016, have any coordinated dietetic programs. There is one in-state didactic program, which confers a bachelor's of science.

ACEND-accredited programs are authorized to evaluate transcripts of past education. Individuals who hold degrees may wish to contact multiple schools as policies will vary.

Pre-Professional Practice Requirements

State law mandates completion of 900 hours of planned continuous professional experience. This is typical of statutory requirements around the nation. However, the national standard has gone up. Students who complete accredited programs and vie for CDR registration complete 1,200 hours. Students who complete didactic programs typically compete for internships. The time frame varies with some programs completed in well under a year and others stretched across a full two years.

Soon-to-be graduates of West Virginia programs may apply for internship anywhere in the nation, utilizing a centralized application process. There are three accredited internship programs located within West Virginia. Areas of emphasis range from medical nutrition therapy to school nutrition and grantsmanship. Some programs award graduate credit.

Examination Requirements

Examination represents a last step in the certification process and the last major step in the licensing process. West Virginia dietitians take the dietetic examination developed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. It is designed to be comprehensive, covering everything from foodservice systems to individual nutrition care. The candidate can register for examination after verifying internship completion. The examination is computer-delivered. It is offered at more than 200 Pearson VUE computerized assessment centers.

Provisional Permits

A person may be eligible for provisional status after educational requirements have been met. The Provisional Permit (PP) allows the future dietitian to work while meeting experience requirements. A provisional permit is granted for one year at a time. It may be renewed as many as three times. Continuing education is required.

Out-of-State Applications

The Board is authorized to license applicants without examination if they hold CDR registration or have met requirements at least equivalent to West Virginia's in another state.

The application includes a verification form to be sent to the qualifying state. Applicants must provide verification from all states of licensure, either on the West Virginia verification form or the verification form of the other state.

The Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.wvbold.com/Home/ApplicationsForms/tabid/537/Default.aspx). The same form is used to apply for licensure and request provisional status.

An applicant can provide a letter from the Commission on Dietetic Registration or a notarized copy of his or her registration card.

An applicant for provisional licensure who is CDR-eligible should secure verification from the internship director. (This should be mailed straight from the source, not included in the application packet.)

There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee.

The application form requires notarization.

Renewal Requirements

Licenses are renewed on an annual basis. Licensees will need to earn at least 20 hours of continuing education every two years (except in cases where the requirement is waived based on documented illness or other prohibitive circumstances). Many types of professional development activity are creditable, including academic education. Continuing education requirements are described in Series 5 of Legislative rule.

Some dietitians choose to pursue other certifications, such as board certification in specialty areas. The CDR offers board certification in five specialty areas. Academic education is not required but can lessen the experience requirement.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the West Virginia Board of Licensed Dietitians (http://www.wvbold.com). The Board can be reached by telephone at 304-558-1024 or 1-800-293-9832 or by email at 'wvbold at wv.gov'.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and other organizations that operate under its banner) are national standards. The state affiliate is the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (http://eatrightwv.org/).