Requirements for Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following educational and professional criteria to earn and maintain the RDN credential:
Complete a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and accredited DPD coursework as approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As stated in the accreditation standards, the DPD is a composite of courses designed to ensure the breadth and depth of requisite knowledge needed for entry to supervised practice to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Traditional students enroll in an accredited program and complete the DPD as a part of their baccalaureate degree. Please see the degree requirements in the University Catalog, which includes all courses needed for Dietetics.
Students who already have their baccalaureate degree and then decide to complete the DPD may either complete a second baccalaureate degree or have their transcript evaluated by the DPD director to determine what additional didactic courses are needed and enroll as a non-degree seeking student. See Info for Prospective and Transfer Dietetics Students for more information.
Students are awarded a Verification Statement after they have completed the DPD coursework (and have completed a bachelor’s degree). Students will need a Verification Statement in order to enter a Dietetic Internship. The signed Verification Statement indicates that the student has completed the requirements of an accredited DPD.
Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree (in any field) to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR still requires that individuals complete coursework (DPD) and supervised practice (Dietetic Internship) in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website:
For now, the DPD at the U of MN will remain an accredited undergraduate program; therefore by Jan. 1, 2024, U of MN DPD graduates will need to not only complete the dietetic internship but also obtain a Master’s degree before taking the RDN exam. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit
One option for U of MN DPD students is the BS/MS Integrated program which must be applied for in the junior year of the DPD. Check out specific information on the BS/MS Integrated program here. Another option could be a one-year, coursework only, plan C professional master’s degree (Nutrition Sciences Master’s in Professional Studies). Check out this page for more information.
Supervised Practice Experience
Achieved by either:
- Obtaining an accredited dietetic internship in a post-baccalaureate accredited program averaging 9 to 12 months in length. There are over 250 accredited programs in the U.S. Appointments to dietetic internships are awarded on a very competitive basis through a computer matching process which occurs in November and April of each year.
- Admission to a graduate school program integrating graduate-level academics with dietetic internship components.
Prospective applicants must review supervised practice program websites carefully for current information, including application deadlines, program requirements and tuition. Refer to the Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more information about dietetic internships. Read all information carefully.
NOTE: Obtaining a dietetic internship is a very competitive process with mixed results from year to year. During the first round of the April 2019 match, approximately 66% of the 4,201 applicants were matched to internships. The percentage had been relatively constant up until about 2017 when we started to see a slight increase in the match rate. However, it’s still important to remember that you will need a strong application to be matched to a dietetic internship. To help you be successful in obtaining a dietetic internship, please see “How to Increase Your Competitiveness for a Dietetic Internship” for more information. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any questions you might have.
Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Application to take the examination is made to the CDR following verification of completion of the academic (DPD program) and supervised practice (Dietetic Internship program) requirements. The Dietetic Internship program director will provide details regarding the application process.
Complete 75 clock hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every 5 years to maintain registration status as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Continuing professional education is essential for lifelong development to maintain and improve knowledge and skills for competent dietetics practice.