Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Credentialing Process
Nutrition and Dietetics is a very challenging and diverse field. There are a wide range of career opportunities in this ever-changing profession for students who graduate with a nutritionist degree. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, there are an impressive array of options and exciting opportunities in a variety of settings. There are opportunities to work in a health care position providing nutritional services for patients. There are RDNs who work in the community, counseling individuals and groups on nutrition practices to prevent disease and promote good health. Food companies hire RDNs to help develop or market healthier food products and many businesses hire RDNs to help their employees and customers live healthfully. Additional opportunities include working in food service management, supervising the planning, preparation, and service of meals, along with other management tasks, in settings such as universities, schools, and hospitals.
The credentialing process:
To become a nutritionist or registered dietitian (RDN), specific requirements must be met. Current requirements include completion of a Bachelor's degree academic preparation, supervised practice, and passing the Registration Examination for Dietitians to become credentialed as an RDN. These requirements are periodically reviewed by the AND and are subject to change. The College of the Ozarks Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by ACEND and upon successful completion of the program, a Bachelors of Science in Dietetics and a verification statement stating current DPD requirements have been met, will be granted. Students are eligible to apply to accredited supervised practice programs during their last semester.
An accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) program provides opportunities and experiences for the achievement of performance requirements for entry-level dietitians through a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice. The DI follows completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and a baccalaureate degree. Some programs may be combined with graduate degrees and some may be completed part-time. For more information and listing of accredited supervised practice programs see https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accredited-programs/dietetic-internships.
In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Licensure for dietitians in Missouri has been required since August, 2004. Information for Missouri licensure of dietitians may be viewed at http://www.eatrightmissouri.org.
During FCN 412 Senior Seminar in Dietetics, students receive information on the application process for dietetic internships. Many programs now use the Dietetic Internship Central Application Service (DICAS) online for this process. In addition, students register with D & D Digital in order to participate in the computer matching process. This process is used to match internships top choices with the student's top choices. The student must rank the internships in order of preference. There is a $50 fee for the matching process. Postmark dates are in February and September and notifications are made in April and November. Students will receive their match by email on the match date. If the student is matched with an internship, the student must contact the internship director within two days to accept the position. If the student is not matched, the students can access the D & D Digital website two days after the matching date to view a list of internships with space available. Students who are not matched are encouraged to contact the program director as soon as possible. The D & D digital website can be found at https://www.dnddigital.com/index.html and the DICAS Online site at http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/acend for more information.