Frequently Asked Questions about becoming an RDN.
Q. I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition but I didn’t take the DPD path that would have qualified me for a dietetic internship. I’d like to become a RDN, what do I need to do?
A. There are important changes in the education requirements to consider as you determine your options to complete the RDN requirements. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you would have to complete the DPD coursework and a dietetic internship and be verified to take the RD exam by December 31, 2023. If you don’t meet this timeline, you will need a master’s degree. Most DIs, including WIC, will require that you have a graduate degree or that you are in the process of completing the degree before acceptance into an internship. A good place to start is to have your undergraduate coursework evaluated by a university with an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), so that you have a better idea of what is required for the DPD Verification Statement (VS.) Universities vary in the number of classes required for a VS and have other limitations on students that are not in a degree program. Once you have more information, carefully consider the time and cost to complete classes. Classes in a non-degree program can be more expensive and may not transfer to another program. Enrolling in a master’s program that offers the DPD courses may be more beneficial in the long term since you can continue working toward a graduate degree. Most RDNs today have a graduate degree and after 2024, dietitians with a bachelor’s degree will be competing for jobs with experienced RDNs and new dietitians that have graduate degrees.
Q. I have a degree in another field, do I need to start over to become an RD?
A. You will need to have your college transcripts evaluated by a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) accredited by ACEND. The director will evaluate your transcripts and identify the courses that you need to complete the DPD requirements for that institution. Although DPD programs have similar requirements, they may vary from one institution to another. You may want to contact more than one DPD program to determine the program that is best for you. The number of courses you need and the college’s degree requirements will determine whether you need to complete another degree. It may be possible to complete the required didactic course work while enrolled in a graduate program. The DPD director can advise you about your options.
Q. I understand that the degree requirements are changing to be a RDN. Will I have to have a master’s degree before I can apply for a dietetic internship?
A. CDR’s mandate is that all candidates must have a master’s degree to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians starting in January 1, 2024. CDR has authority over the registration of dietitians and cannot require that the master’s be required for a dietetic internship. However, WIC dietetic internships and many others may require that applicants have a graduate degree or that they complete the degree by the time they graduate from the dietetic internship, in order to be eligible to take the RD exam.
Q. I understand that a master’s degree will be required to take the RD exam but will there also be changes in requirements for dietetic internships?
A. No, the current DPD and supervised practice requirements (CP, DI or ISPP), remain in effect. The only change is the degree level moving from a minimum baccalaureate degree to a minimum graduate degree. The foreign degree equivalency requirement also remains in effect.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the RDN Exam
Q. I’m a WIC employee but I wasn’t a WIC intern, can I still participate in the e-RD-2b study program?
A. Yes, as long as you graduated from a dietetic internship within the last year. If it’s been more than a year, contact the WIC Dietetic Internship Director/Coordinator for a list of study resources.
Q. I was eligible to take the RDN exam a couple years ago, but for personal reasons did not take the exam. How can I qualify to take the RD exam and participate in the WIC RD exam study program?
A. First, you need to contact AND/CDR for authorization to take the exam. You are allowed one year to pass the exam, if you need more time you must reapply for another year. The longer you have been out of college and your internship, the more difficult it is to pass the exam. If it’s been more than 3 years, you will probably need a “refresher” course to update your knowledge in clinical nutrition and the nutrition care process. The e-RD-2b study program is for WIC interns and employees that graduated from an internship within 1 year. However, WIC Dietetic Internship Directors/Coordinators can recommend some excellent RD exam study resources.