Registered Dietitian Certification and License Requirements

Find out the job duties and licensure requirements for Registered Dietitians (RDs). Learn about education programs designed to prepare you for a career as an RD, including online options. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Credentials Do I Need to Be a Registered Dietitian?

You can earn a Registered Dietitian credential through the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) after earning a bachelor's or master's degree in an area like dietetics or human nutrition and complete a dietetic internship program. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, you'll also need to pass an exam that covers the following areas:

  • Food and nutrition sciences
  • Management of food and nutrition programs and services
  • Foodservice systems
  • Nutrition care for individuals and groups

Required Credentials Bachelor's or master's degree and passing an exam through the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration
Course Topics Food science, lifespan development, micronutrient metabolism and biostatistics
Online Availability Degree programs are available online but typically require internships completed online or in person
Other Requirements 46 states require a license or certification

What Are the Degree Programs Like?

After taking prerequisite courses in psychology, chemistry and biology, core courses for an undergraduate dietetics program cover such topics as food science, meal management, lifespan development, clinical nutrition and food production management. Graduate programs in nutrition science or human nutrition usually require advanced classes, such as micronutrient metabolism, nutrition counseling and biostatistics.

Many of these programs also include an internship component, although separate internship programs are available outside of your curriculum. You'll complete about 1,200 hours of work experience in multiple facilities, such as public schools, veterans hospitals or medical centers. You could plan menus, evaluate patients' nutritional needs or educate others about proper nutrition.

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

Undergraduate and graduate degrees are both available online. However, most online degree programs only include didactic training. To gain the requisite experience, you'll have to enroll in a separate internship program to qualify for the CDR's registered dietitian exam. Internships are offered online as well. To participate in an online internship, you'll need to complete practical requirements at local, approved facilities while maintaining online correspondence with your instructors.

What Other Requirements Would I Need to Meet?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 46 states require dietitians to be certified or licensed in order to practice as of 2010 (www.bls.gov). Licensing or certification requirements can include the completion of a bachelor's degree program in dietetics, 900 hours of internship experience and passing scores on a state-issued written exam. However, as an RD, you can easily meet or exceed these requirements; many states accept proof of your registration status.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

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