How to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Several steps are necessary to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). 

  1. Enroll in an ACEND®-accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics. This may be a bachelor or master's degree program that combines classroom and supervised practical experience and is accredited by ACEND®.
  2. Upon satisfactory completion of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics, graduates are then eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to become credentialed as RDNs.
  3. After passage of the CDR credentialing exam, Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists then pursue state certification/licensure, if applicable, in order to be eligible to practice. All U.S. states and territories with licensure and certifications laws accept the RDN credential for state licensure and certification purposes. See a listing of state and U.S. territory licensure and certification laws on the CDR web page: Licensure Listings
  4. RDNs complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Or

  1. Enroll in an ACEND®-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics academic program. This is a program, granting at least a bachelor's degree, that is accredited by ACEND®.
  2. After you receive your degree, you will then need to apply for and complete supervised practical experience in an ACEND®-accredited Dietetic Internship Program or Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). The UC Davis Medical Center Dietetic Internship fulfills the supervised practice requirements for an accredited Dietetic Internship Program.
  3. Upon satisfactory completion of the Dietetic Internship Program, graduates are then eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to become credentialed as RDNs.
  4. After passage of the CDR credentialing exam, Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists (RDN) then pursue state certification/licensure, if applicable, in order to be eligible to practice. All U.S. states and territories with licensure and certification laws accept the RDN credential for state licensure and certification purposes. See a listing of state and U.S. terriroty licensure and certification laws on the CDR web page: Licensure Listings
  5. RDNs complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

This information was sourced from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and ACEND®. ACEND® is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the agency which governs education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered.

Please visit the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics' website for additional information. 

New Admission Requirements Coming in 2024: Applicants participating in the Spring 2024 dietetic internship match at UC Davis Medical Center will be required to complete a minimum of a Master's degree before the start date of the internship, in addition to completion of the accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics. For more information on graduate degree requirements and the new eligibility requirements for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN), please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics webpage for students.