Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following specific criteria:
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. These practice programs typically are 6-12 months in length.
- Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Refer to CDR’s website for more information: cdrnet.org
- Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory licensure laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Usually these state requirement are met through the same education and training required to become an RDN.
Dietitians have studied a variety of subjects including food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology and communication to science courses such as biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and chemistry.
Registered dietitian nutritionists are qualified to work in a wide variety of employment settings including health care, business and industry, community/public health, education, research, government agencies as well as private practice. Some examples of work settings include:
- Hospitals and health care facilities
- Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs
- Food and nutrition-related business and industries
- Private practice evaluations and management
- Community and public health settings
- Universities and medical centers
- Research facilities