How to Become a Registered Dietitian

how to become an rd
Choose quality healthy food. Happy black nutritionist holding bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables, smiling at camera at clinic. Weight loss consultant recommending healthy plant based diet

If you are passionate about health, nutrition, and helping others achieve their wellness goals, becoming a registered dietitian may be the perfect career path for you. But how do you become a rd? 

This guide will take you through the steps required to become a registered dietitian and provide tips and advice to help you succeed.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A registered dietitian (RD) is a healthcare professional trained to provide nutrition therapy and education to individuals and groups. RDs work in settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practice. They help clients manage chronic diseases, develop healthy eating habits, and achieve optimal health through personalized nutrition plans.

How to Become an RD

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

To become a registered dietitian, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field from an accredited university or college. Look for programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

During your undergraduate studies, you will learn about human nutrition, food science, and medical nutrition therapy. You will also complete supervised practice experiences, which will help you develop the skills you need to become a successful registered dietitian.

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Step 2: Complete an Accredited Dietetic Internship

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you must complete an accredited dietetic internship (DI). Dietetic internships are highly competitive, and acceptance rates are typically less than 50%. You can apply for a DI through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ centralized application service.

During your DI, you will gain hands-on experience in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community clinics, and food service facilities. You will work with registered dietitians and other healthcare professionals to develop your clinical skills and knowledge.

Step 3: Pass the Registered Dietitian Exam

Once you have completed your DI, you must pass the registered dietitian exam. The exam is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and you must score a minimum of 25 out of 50 to pass.

The exam covers a range of topics, including nutrition therapy, food service systems, and management. You should study extensively for the exam and consider taking a review course to help you prepare.

Step 4: Obtain State Licensure (if required)

Some states require registered dietitians to be licensed before they can practice. Requirements vary by state, but you may need to complete additional coursework or pass a state-specific exam.

Check with your state’s licensing board to determine the requirements for licensure in your state.

Step 5: Maintain Your Credentials

To maintain your registered dietitian credentials, you must complete continuing education credits on a regular basis. This ensures that you stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends in nutrition and healthcare.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a variety of continuing education programs, including webinars, conferences, and self-study courses. You can also earn continuing education credits by completing research projects or publishing articles in professional journals.


Becoming a registered dietitian requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for nutrition and healthcare. By following these steps and seeking guidance from experienced professionals, you can successfully navigate the process and begin a rewarding career as a registered dietitian.

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