What Is a Registered Dietitian?
A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential “RD.” In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.
What Are Educational and Professional Requirements for a Registered Dietitian?
Registered dietitians must meet the following criteria to earn the RD credential:
- Receive a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and course work approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA)
- Complete a CADE-accredited 900 hour supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies.
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Some RDs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education. These certifications are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for ADA and other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession but are not required.