Process to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and the process for becoming an RDN?

RDNs are food and nutrition experts who have met the educational requirements to earn the RD/RDN credential. To become an RDN you need to: 

  • Complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a didactic program at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equivalent. 
  • Earn a Verification Statement through a Didactic program in Dietetics (DPD) that confirms that you have completed the necessary knowledge requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) 
  • Complete a minimum of 1000 hour of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship, Individualized Supervised Practice, or Coordinate Program in Dietetics. 
  • Earn a Verification Statement through a Dietetic Internship which includes the necessary coursework and supervised practice experience to meet the competency requirements set by the ACEND. 
  • Pass the national registration examination for dietitians administered by the Commission of Dietetic Registration(CDR).
  • Maintain the credential of the RDN by completing professional educational requirements on an ongoing basis. 

Interns completing this MSCN/Dietetic Internship (MSCN/DI) program will meet the 1000 hours of supervised practice necessary to receive a competency verification statement to qualify to take the RDN exam administered by the CDR. This Dietetic Internship and RDN credential meet the educational and supervision requirements for licensure in the state of Pennsylvania. Students from other states should check their licensure/certification boards. 

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited MSCN/DI or Post Master’s Dietetic Internship Certificate program at West Chester University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.  For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website.