Registered Dietitians: The Nutrition Experts
Healthfulfilling.com strives to provide credible nutrition and health related
information. Registered Dietitians are a main part of Healthfulfilling.com, and
thus we want to devote a page to the profession to inform our visitors of what is a
Registered Dietitian, (RD) and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Registered Dietitians and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are the same
credential. Recently, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Commission
on Dietetic Registration approved that the RD credential can also be termed RDN,
which stands for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. RDs and RDNs are experts in
the science of food and nutrition.
They must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally
accredited college or university, with course work approved by the Commission on
Accreditation on Dietetics Education (CADE) of the Academy of Nutrition and
Dietetics. In addition, an approved CADE internship must be completed which is
about 6-12 months.
These internships usually have limited seats so they have application and
admission requirements. After these requirements are met, the dietitian is
eligible to sit for the National Registration Exam, administered by the
Commission On Dietetic Registration (CDR), which upon passing will grant the
credential, Registered Dietitian, (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
RD: The Nutrition
There are also programs which are Coordinated Undergraduate Programs in
Dietetics which offer the combination of the Bachelor's degree and /or Master's
degree and internship program. These programs are often quite intensive since
they combine the practical training within the academic program.
They also have separate acceptance and admission guidelines, and there is
usually a limited number of seats for each program based on availability.
These programs are often of interest, since upon graduation with the bachelor's
degree, and completion of the included internship, they are then eligible to sit for
the Registration Exam.
Sometimes, people in the field of Nutrition say they are Nutritionists, which is very
commonly heard. However, Nutritionists may not have the same educational
background and may not have attended an internship program and may not have
the RD or RDN credential. There are also Nutritionists who have Master's
degrees or Ph. D's in Nutrition who are very knowledgeable about Nutrition, and
may specialize in a particular area of Nutrition.
Some states also have a licensing mandate called, LD, or LDN which are
Licensed Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist which Nutrition
professionals must apply for in order to practice the profession in the state. This
is an important and useful credential for Nutritionists to have if they are not
Registered Dietitians. It is also very important as it protects the public from being
counselled or consulted with by a Nutritionist without the proper educational
background, degrees and requirements.
If you need to seek the services of a Nutrition professional, always seek a RD or
RDN and ask for his/her CDR credential certification which should be credentialed
by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) which is the credentialing
agency of the American Dietetic Association. Accredited hospitals or outpatient
health facilities only employ or contract with Registered Dietitians.
If you see a Nutritionist in private practice who is not a RD or RDN, then ask for
their licensing credential by the state, which could be LD, LDN, or another
credential depending on the state. Check with your state government about the
specific licensing requirements or credential, because some are less restrictive
than others. Be aware that not every state has licensing requirements for
Nutritionists-which means anyone can portray himself/herself as a Nutritionist and
practice. Fortunately, currently 46 out of 50 states have licensure requirements for
dietitians and nutritionists. When a state does not have licensure requirements,
then you should only see a Registered Dietitian and ask for their credential
certificate, especially if they are in private practice.
Registered Dietitians are the most qualified and credible nutrition experts to
contact for any questions in Nutrition/Dietetics. All registered dietitians are
required to maintain Continuing Professional Education throughout their careers in
order to maintain the RD/RDN credential. Some also do additional certifications to
specialize in specific areas of Dietetics such as Diabetes Education, Renal
Nutrition, Nutrition Support, etc.
For further information on the profession of Dietetics and Nutrition and Registered
Dietitian Nutritionists, visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org
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