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Steps Towards Becoming a RDN

Entering the profession of dietetics as a registered dietitian nutritionist consists of completing four components: 1) ACEND-accredited academic coursework; 2) a supervised practice experience through an ACEND-accredited program; 3) obtain a master’s degree; and 4) pass the national Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Currently, students can complete all the components listed above by completing the Dietetics option in Nutritional Sciences at our ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics followed by completing our ACEND-accredited MS-Dietetics Option program.

  1. Completing ACEND accredited academic coursework.
    Academic requirements include completion of an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university or a foreign degree evaluated as equivalent to at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree.

    At Rutgers, completion of the DPD provides the ACEND standards of knowledge competency and support knowledge as published in 2022. Students MUST receive a 70% or higher on the assessment of all KRDN Student Learning Outcomes (occurs in upper-level coursework) to receive a DPD Verification Statement from the DPD Director. For students who fail to meet this benchmark, remediation in the form of redoing the assignment until it is passed (no grade change) will be required. All class syllabi have listed the KRDNs and assigned assessments for KRDN Student Learning Outcomes. Students who do not achieve proficiency on KRDN assessments need to contact the DPD Director to plan an alternative assignment for remediation to be awarded a Verification Statement.
  2. Completing a supervised practice experience.
    After completing DPD requirements and receiving a DPD Verification Statement, students must complete a supervised practice program. Supervised practice programs are located across the U.S. A current listing of accredited programs can be found at the following website:

    Students must apply for admission to supervised practice programs. During a student’s junior/senior year, or after graduation, the DPD Program Director assists students or graduates in the application process including providing mentorship and guidance in developing their application materials.

    Most supervised practice programs charge tuition, which varies a great deal among programs. A few pay a modest stipend to cover living expenses, and these are usually much more competitive in their selection process.

    Admission to supervised practice programs is competitive. Although difficult to generalize about admission requirements of all supervised practice programs, most programs require excellent grades and relevant work or volunteer experience.
  3. Passing the RDN Exam
    Starting January 1, 2024, students will need to have acquired a Master’s degree to be eligible for the RDN exam. Prior licensed RDNs will be grandfathered into this new change from ACEND. Most supervised practice programs, including our MS-Dietetics Option program at Rutgers – New Brunswick, offer a master's degree either as part of the program or as an option for students to complete. As of now, it can be a master’s degree in any discipline. For more information about our MS-Dietetics Option, please visit our Nutritional Sciences Graduate website.
  4. Pass the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Exam
    The registration examination for dietitians is computer-based and administered at selective sites throughout the country. Students are eligible to take the registration examination after they have completed DPD requirements and a supervised practice program. It is highly recommended to take the exam between 6 months to 1 year after completing supervised practice. 

Dietetics Option

Virginia Quick, Ph.D., RDN

Virginia Quick, Ph.D., RD, FAND
Davison Hall, Rm. 209