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National Requirements to Become a Registered Dietitian from the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

*This website and the services offered are not affiliated, or sponsored by the ADA or CDR.

To earn an RD credential and become a nationally recognized Registered Dietitian by the American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org/), the following criteria must be completed:

Nutrition Dietetics
  • A Bachelor's degree is required from an accredited college or university, providing a curriculum that has been approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
  • An accredited six to twelve month long CADE internship must be completed satisfactorily from one of the following; a healthcare facility, a community facility or agency, or a foodservice corporation. This should be in combination with the applicant’s college or university courses, either undergraduate or graduate.
  • Each applicant must then pass the required examination administered nationally by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the ADA’s accrediting body.
  • Lastly, applicants must annually update their accreditation with continued coursework and studies into the latest nutrition and dietitian material.

Further, it is not uncommon for many Registered Dietitians to receive additional accreditation and certification in specific areas of nutrition practice. These may include specializations for specific ailments and treatments for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, pediatrics and old age. These accreditations may be earned through the CDR or a number of other medical and nutritional professional bodies.

Moreover, many states have their own requirements for Registered Dietitians. Many of these requirements can be met through the process used by the national accreditation of the CDR.

The CDR Examination Process

The CDR examination, offered at over two hundred twenty-five test sites across the country, are generally located on university and college campuses. They are administered thru a computer based testing process (CBT) from accredited sites with the capability for these tests. Testing can be done at any one of these sites during most weekdays with an appointment. See the CDR website for up to date details. A $200.00 fee is required for Registered Dietitian (RD) applicants and $120.00 for those wishing to become Dietetic Technicians, Registered (DTR).

A varied length examination, each RD candidate will be given an exam between 125 and 145 questions. DTR candidates will have between 110 and 130 questions. Examinees will have three hours to finish the test. Although tests are administered constantly, examinees must wait a minimum of 45 days to retake an exam upon failure. The test, however, may be taken as many times as desired.

A Handbook for Candidates is available for practice from the CDR. There are also two study guides available, the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians.

As of January 1, 2008, according to the CDR, exam content can be roughly based on the following:

I. Food and Nutrition
15%
II. Clinical and Community Nutrition
40%
III. Education and Research
7%
IV. Food and Nutrition Systems
18%

Dietician Degree Programs

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