What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is an authority on the role of food and nutrition and health. The R.D.N. is legally recognized as a reliable source of advice on diet. A registered dietitian nutritionist has been educated to translate advanced scientific information into practical advice to educate other health professionals and consumers.

A registered dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential “R.D.N.” In addition to R.D.N. credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an R.D.N..

What Are Educational and Professional Requirements for a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Registered dietitians must meet the following criteria to earn the R.D.N. credential:

  • Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and course work approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
  • Complete a CADE-accredited/supervised practice program at a healthcare facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation, or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to twelve months in length.
  • Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.


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