Entering the profession of dietetics as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) consists of completing three components: 1) ACEND accredited academic coursework; 2) a supervised practice experience through either an ACEND accredited dietetic internship (DI) or ISPP; and 3) passing the national Registration Examination for Dietitians.
Currently, students are able to complete the first component listed above by completing the Dietetics option in Nutritional Sciences at our ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics at Rutgers, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (New Brunswick campus).
- 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 receive a DPD Verification Statement from the DPD Director as proof of completion of DPD requirements.
- Completing a supervised practice experience.
After completing DPD requirements, students must complete a supervised practice experience, i.e., a dietetic internship or dietetic internship with advanced degree. Supervised practice programs are located across the U.S., a current listing can be found at https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accredited-programs/accredited-programs-directory.
Students must apply for admission to supervised practice programs and competition is fierce. A desirable overall GPA of ≥3.2 along with nutrition and dietetic experiences are needed to be a competitive applicant.
During a student's senior year, or after graduation, the DPD Program Director assists students or graduates in the application process.
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 dietetic internships is highly competitive. Although difficult to generalize about admission requirements of supervised practice programs, the majority of programs require excellent grades (i.e. a GPA ≥ 3.2) and relevant work or volunteer experience.
- Passing 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 CDR's 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. Please take note that starting January 1, 2024, students will need to have acquired a Masters degree before sitting down for the RDN exam. Prior licensed RDNs will be grandfathered into this new change from ACEND.