Credentialing and Careers

RDN Credentialing Process

In order to practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), professionals must be credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 

Here is how our program fits into the process:

  1. Graduate with a BS degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Radford University, an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Program (DPD), meeting the program specifications for a Verification Statement. (Refer to the Program Handbook.)
  2. Complete an ACEND accredited Nutrition and Dietetics Internship Program (DI) (minimum of 1200 supervised practice hours). We provide guidance to help students identify and apply to programs for which they would be a good candidate. Refer to Dietetic Internship Match information below.
  3. Effective January 1, 2024, the CDR will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a RDN. Options for meeting this requirement include choosing a DI that is associated with a master’s degree or choosing an ACEND accredited Future Education Model Graduate program that integrates didactic work and supervised practice. For more information, talk with your advisor or view the Graduate Degree Eligibility Requirements online.
  4. After successfully completing eligibility requirements (Steps 1 & 2 above, and Step 3 if applicable) and being validated by CDR, individuals are eligible to take the registration examination for dietitians.
  5. Follow appropriate state laws that govern the practice of dietetics

Complete information regarding credentialing can be found on the website of the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Dietetic Internship Match

The Dietetic Internship Match is a computer-based method which provides an orderly and fair way to match the preferences of applicants for Dietetic Internships (DIs) with the preferences of DI program directors. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics contracts with a company called D&D Digital to operate the DI Match and help applicants obtain an Internship (supervised practice position). The procedure is as follows:

  • Complete an application for the internship through the Dietetic Internship Central Application Service (DICAS). There is no limit on the number of DI programs that students can apply to through DICAS. However, each program must be prioritized during the next stage of the process. If the DI program you are interested in does not appear in the DICAS, check the DI program’s website for directions on how to apply or contact the DI program director.

  • Register for the DI match through D&D Digital. This step allows you to create, edit and verify the priorities for your choices of internships. Some programs do not participate in the match. This is because they only accept applications from students who are employed by that sponsoring institution.

Strong candidates for a DI typically have:

  1. 3.0 GPA or better (this is a graduation requirement)
  2. Competitive GRE Scores (some programs require these)
  3. Quality References from Faculty and Dietitians
  4. Excellent Communication Skills
  5. Distinguishing Characteristics
    1. Volunteer experiences related to health and nutrition
    2. Paid work experiences, especially in areas related to your desired area(s) of practice
    3. Active involvement in professional organizations at student, local, state, and national levels
    4. Presentations, poster sessions, and community talks

Guidance is provided to assist students with identifying potential internships and navigating the application and computer match process. 

View the listing of accredited Dietetic Internships online.

Further information on computer matching timelines, open house listings, video instructions and more can be found online.

Career Outlook

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Refer to the Academy’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Fact Sheet for  detailed information about employment opportunities, salaries and job outlook.