Steps for Becoming a Registered Dietitian
STEPS FOR BECOMING
A REGISTERED DIETITIAN
To become a Registered Dietitian (RD) you would need to:
1. Enroll in a university that offers a Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics
(DPND) granting a bachelor's degree.
- A DPND provides only the classroom courses and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
2. During your college matriculation do the following:
Maintain a high grade point average (GPA of 3.00 and above.
3. Obtain an original verification statement from the Director of the ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics documenting completion of these requirements following graduation
- A Declaration of Intent will be issued to the enrolled student for inclusion in the Supervised Practice Program application.
- Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (DPND) students who wish to receive a Letter of Intent and/or ACEND Verification Statement from the Southern University DPND must meet the following requirements:
- Have a minimum curriculum GPA of 3.0 or above;
- Have a grade of "B" or better in all Human Nutrition and Food courses; and
- Have a minimum grade of a "C" or better in all Other Required DPD courses.
4. After you receive your bachelor's degree, you will then need to apply for and complete an ACEND-accredited Supervised Practice Program (Dietetic Internship) Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Appointments to DIs are awarded on a competitive basis and most use a national computer matching process.
- The Supervised Practicum Program provides at least 1200 hours of supervised practical experience.
5. Supervised Practicum Program graduates are eligible to take and passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR's website at www.cdrnet.org.
7. Will getting my master's degree in nutrition meet the requirements to become a RD?
Not unless the program is accredited by ACEND. ACEND does not accredit graduate programs except for those designed to meet entry-level educational requirements.
8. Building Experiences Early
When applying to internships, you want a variety of quality experiences for your application, including work experience, extracurricular and volunteer activities. While it is important to maintain a high grade point average (GPA), remember that internship directors consider more than your grades. To build an impressive application, you should start early.
- Work experience, whether dietetics-related or not, implies that you have time-management skills and can work as part of a team. In addition, length of employment will demonstrate commitment and responsibility.
- Nutrition-related jobs show relevant experience, acquired skills, and knowledge in the field, as well as commitment to the profession.
- Selection committees look for well-rounded candidates who are involved in diverse activities such as student government, clubs, sports, sororities/fraternities, and professional organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
- These activities reflect your individuality. Involvement in outside activities also shows that you have interpersonal and organizational skills.
- Take leadership roles in these activities, if possible.
- Volunteer work is a great way to give back to your community and explore new opportunities and interests.
- Choose those that complement your work and extracurricular activities.
- Some examples of volunteer opportunities food pantries, hospitals, Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and service and religious organizations.
- It is never too early to start making professional contacts. Nutrition professionals are usually more than willing to speak with interested students.
- Start by introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you at a meeting. As you gain confidence, approach conference speakers and presenters.
9. Positive reference letters-usually at least two should come from DPD faculty, while a third could come from a supervisor of paid or volunteer work.
10. How Do I Apply for a Dietetic Internship Program?
The Academy has developed an online application process for dietetic internships. This system, the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS), allows applicants to submit all of their application materials online and allows internships to access the information from DICAS. A $40 fee is required for the first internship application and $20 for each additional application. Since not all programs may be using the online application, it is essential to check the individual program's website to determine the method of application.
11. Computer Matching for Dietetic Internships
Most dietetic internship programs participate in computer matching with D&D Digital Systems. In this process applicants rank order the dietetic internships to which they are applying, and then the dietetic internship programs rank order the applicants who apply to their programs. Applicants must prioritize their choices of dietetic internships for computer matching and pay a $50 fee to D&D Digital Systems by the required deadline.
- The deadline for a spring match occurs in February and for a fall match in September (on the same dates that DICAS internship applications are due).
- Please note, the D&D Digital Systems matching is totally separate from the DICAS system and needs to be completed in addition to the DICAS application.
- Do not prioritize any dietetic internships on your D&D Digital Systems account that you would not accept.
12. Notification of Appointment to a Dietetic Internship
Once the matching process has been completed, you will be notified on a specific day at the D&D Digital Systems website regarding the outcome of your appointment to an dietetic internship.
- Applicants who were selected and receive a match need to accept the match directly with the dietetic internship program that selected them.
- Applicants who were not matched (appointed) in the first round of applications are then given the opportunity to contact dietetic internships with unmatched openings. The list of unmatched openings is posted at the D&D Digital Systems website. In DICAS Second Round is known as Clearing House. Your DICAS application may be submitted electronically to dietetic internships with openings ($20/application).