Registered Dietitian

Education Required

Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed in order to practice. Other states require only state registration or certification to use certain titles, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation. Check with your state board for specific requirements. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a professional credential, such as the Registered Dietitian (RD)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) designation. Although these credentials are not always required, the qualifications may be the same as those necessary for becoming a licensed dietitian or nutritionist in states that require a license. The RD/RDN designation is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It requires completion of a minimum of a master’s degree and a Dietetic Internship (DI), which includes supervised experience. Students may complete both criteria at once through a coordinated program, or they may finish their degree before applying for an internship. In order to maintain the RDN credential, dietitians and nutritionists must complete continuing professional education credits within a designated number of years. The Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) designation is administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, the certifying arm of the American Nutrition Association. Many states accept the CNS credential or exam for licensure purposes. To qualify for the credential, applicants must have a master’s or doctoral degree, complete supervised experience, and pass an exam. To maintain the CNS credential, nutritionists must complete continuing education credits within a designated number of years.

Career Setting

What is this job like?

A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a healthcare professional who specializes in food and nutrition. RDs use their expertise to promote healthy eating habits and develop personalized nutrition plans for individuals, groups, and communities. They work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and food service establishments. Click to explore more occupational details:

Registered Dietitian