College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Nutrition & Food Science

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)


(Photo Courtesy AGNR Communication Director Graham Binder)

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDNs) or Registered Dietitian (RDs) are food and nutrition experts. They work in many areas including clinical, community, food service, sports nutrition, corporate wellness, public health, nutrition education and research, government, private practice, consultation and others. The demand for RDN or RD in the changing field of nutrition is growing. According to the US, Bureau of Labor statistics, employment of dietitians is expected to grow faster (by 15%)  than the average for all occupations for 2016-2026. The reason behind it is the growing public interest in nutrition, an aging population, and emphasis on disease prevention. 

According to the Academy's 2017 Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, the median salary for all RDs who have been working in the filed for less than 5 years was $52,000. The salary level depends upon geographical location, education, years of experience, employment setting and responsibilities of the RDs. 

Steps to become RDN or RD

  1. Complete a Bachelor's degree in Dietetics at a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). 
  2. Apply for Dietetic Internship (DI) program or ISPP (Individualized supervised practice pathway), which are accredited by ACEND. 
  3. Pass the National Examination for Registration administrated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). To maintain their credentials, RD or RDN must complete continuing professional educational requirements. 

Note:  effective January 1, 2024, a graduate degree will be required to be eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Need more information

Please visit  the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website on 5 steps to become a RDN, Information for Students & What is an RDN. 

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