A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements in nutrition
science. Dietitians are crossed trained in many diverse areas, these professionals hold a wide variety of job
positions including: hospitals, HMOs, private practice, health care facilities, community and public health settings, food
and nutrition industry, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness, academia, and research.
What is the difference
between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?
The RD credential can only be used by dietetics professionals
who are currently authorized by the Commission on Accreditation/Approval for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). The RD credential is a legally protected title.
Registered Dietitians may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are dietitians! The
difference is education and clinical experience. Many states (including Illinois) have licensure laws that define the scope
of practice for someone using the credential nutritionist. Therefore, in many states anyone could call themselves a “nutritionist”
regardless if they have had the proper education and training. The food and nutrition expert is the Registered Dietitian!
What are the educational and professional requirements needed to become a Registered Dietitian?
the minimum of a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college or university, or equivalent. Meet all
academic requirements (Didactic Program in Dietetics) as approved by CADE of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly
the American Dietetic Association). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management,
business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
Complete a supervised practical experience at a health-care facility, community agency and/or
foodservice corporation that is accredited/approved by the CADE of the American Dietetic Association. Successfully pass a
Registration Examination for Dietitians to become credentialed as a RD. Receive a Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
identification card to prove current credential status as a Registered Dietitian.
Accrue a minimum
of 75 hours of approved continuing professional education within a specific five-year reporting period.