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Becoming a RDN


Step 1: Bachelors Degree

Dietetic intern standing in from of hospital sign, reading

Obtain a BS* degree from a regionally accredited US college/university or foreign equivalent at an ACEND®-accredited dietetics education program. When you graduate, you'll receive a DPD Program Verification Statement, which allows you to apply for an internship.

*In January 2024, the education requirement will increase to a minimum completion of a masters degree. The degree must be from a regionally accredited US college/university or foreign equivalent.

Step 2: Dietetic Internship

Complete an ACEND® accredited supervised practice experience, called a Dietetic Internship (DI). Many DI programs use a computerized application and matching process. The centralized application service (DICAS) allows you to apply for multiple programs with one application. The D&D Digital system matches you with a DI program. Others have their own application process.

DI programs include a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice. When you finish, you'll receive a DI Verification Statement. This paperwork confirms your eligibility to take the national exam (administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration).

Effective January 1, 2024, a master's degree will be required to take the credentialing exam required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).  To help prepare you for this new requirement, ISU offers a combined master/supervised practice program.

Our dietetic interns:

  • Train with a small group of dietetic interns—and make friends for life
  • Learn in a fast-paced, supervised practicum 
  • Complete the required training hours and learning activities within a 16-month time frame*
  • Earn a Master of Science in Nutrition

*In extreme circumstances (medical emergency or the need for educational remediation), an intern’s individual learning time frame may be extended. Decisions to extend the intern’s time are made on an individual basis by the program director with input by the intern’s instructors and preceptors.

Step 3: Registration & Licensure

The last step is to sign up to take the credentialing exam.  

When you successfully pass the exam, you may use the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential. Some states require that RDNs also obtain a state license. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has lots of information on licensure rules across the U.S.

Acronyms: What Does it Stand For?

Nutrition and Dietetics Professional Associations

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