Requirements vary by state
Laws to regulate the practice of dietetics and nutrition counseling are effective in forty-six states through either licensure, statutory certification or registration.
- Licensing – The majority of states require licensure, which includes educational minimums and other criteria. Practicing dietetics or providing nutritional counseling to the public without a license in states that require licensure is illegal.
- Statutory certification – Fewer states require certification. Reserved titles are designated for use by persons who meet the requirements and become certified. Non-certified persons are still permitted to practice provided they don’t use titles reserved for certification.
- Registration – Exams are not usually required to register, and unregistered persons are permitted to practice.
The most stringent requirements are in states that require licensure, with states that require statutory certification being less stringent.
Commission on Dietetic Registration
The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) — the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Although not required to practice under the state’s statutory regulations, CDR offers certifications with stringent educational requirements and other criteria. Some minimum requirements for becoming an ADA registered dietitian (RD), which is one of several possible certifications, include:
- Completing a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college or university, or foreign equivalent;
- Meeting current minimum academic requirements accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the ADA;
- Complete a supervised internship accredited by the CADE of the ADA;
- Successfully complete the Registration Examination for Dietitians