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Certification of Registered Dietitians

Most states license or otherwise regulate the practice of dietetics. Some states are more restrictive than others, and policies vary (and change), so you’ll want to visit the site of the Commission on Dietetic Registration to get a link to your state board. CDI cautious that certification through their agency is a separate process from certification by your state. The requirements, though, may be similar or overlapping.

Generally, you can expect that a baccalaureate degree will be required along with supervised experience and a satisfactory score on an examination. The required exam will probably be the Registered Dietitian exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. (Quite a few states have statutes that specify that 900 hours of supervised practice are necessary for practice, but CDR certification now requires 1,200 -- and that’s what you’ll find in an accredited program.)

You can begin the CDR certification/ registry process a week or two before graduation. Usually your program director will initiate the process. Once you receive authorization, you will sit for exams.

Some Registered Dietitians also pursue specialty certifications. CDR offers specialty certifications in pediatric, gerontological, oncological, renal, and sports dietetics. These become an option only after you have been registered for two years. Generally, 2,000 hours of practice are required, but certain other professional activities (like authoring textbook chapters) will substitute for some of the required hours.

Continued certification as an RD requires continuing competency as demonstrated through a portfolio process.