Is becoming a registered dietitian right for me?

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How to become a Registered Dietitian

Aspiring registered dietitians must complete, at minimum, a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics, Nutrition Science or Public Health at a US regionally accredited university or college.

Course work needs to be accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Students study a variety of subjects, ranging from food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, computer science, business, economics, culinary arts, sociology, and communication, to science courses such as biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, anatomy, and chemistry.

They must also complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation. A practice program will run six to twelve months in length.

Finally, students must pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Some registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN's) hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, nutrition support, and diabetes education.

Note: If a student already has a bachelor's degree that is not in dietetics or nutrition science and is interested in becoming a registered dietitian, they should have their college transcript evaluated by a director of a dietetics program accredited or approved by ACEND. The program director will evaluate previous academic preparation and identify the courses that will need to be completed at that school to meet the educational requirements for dietetic registration.