What is A Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential. In addition to RD credentialing, many states require licensure of Registered Dietitians to protect the health of the public. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD/RDN.

Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian:
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.  
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  •  Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  •  Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

An RD/RDN can hold advanced degrees along with additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition and diabetes education. 

Registered Dietitians who are members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are not only food and nutrition experts—they are leaders in the field of dietetics. Every one of the Academy's wide array of member benefits is designed to advance their knowledge and skills and enhance their networking opportunities.
Where do Dietitians Work? 

  •  Hospitals, HMOs, long-term care or other healthcare facilities
  • Foodservice operations
  • K-12 schools or day-care centers
  • Correctional facilties
  • Sports nutrition or corporate wellness 
  • Food- and nutrition-related business and industries 
  • Private practice 
  • Community and public health
  • Universities and medical centers
  • Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies 

What is a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered?
Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered, (NDTR), often work in partnership with the RD/RDN, they screen, evaluate, and educate patients. NDTRs will monitor and assist in the management of patients with diseases such as diabetes and obesity. NDTRs works in clinical settings, health-care facilities, schools, restaurants, food companies, wellness centers, food service providers, public health agencies, government and community programs.

Qualifications of a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered:
  • Complete a two-year Associate Degree in an approved dietetic technician program
  • Has supervised practice experience and pass a nationwide examination to earn the NDTR credential
  • Complete continuing education courses throughout his/her career

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Fact Sheet