Requirements to become a credentialed RDN include three steps:

  • Earning a degree: Beginning January 1, 2024, a minimum of a master’s degree is required in order to take the RDN credentialing exam.
  • Completing required didactic coursework and supervised practice: Students must complete an ACEND-accredited program or programs that encompass all required coursework as well as practice experience. This can involve completing 1) an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD, usually a bachelor’s degree program) followed by completion of a completely separate ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (i.e. dietetic internship) OR 2) a single ACEND-accredited program that combines coursework with supervised practice to meet all requirements in one place. The GP falls under the latter category, though several prerequisites can be well met through our undergraduate dietetics program or Didactic Programs in Dietetics at other institutions.
  • Passing the RDN exam: The national credentialing examination is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). More information about this step can be found on the CDR website.  Many states and territories additionally require credentialed individuals to be certified or licensed by the state prior to practicing in the profession. The State of Tennessee requires licensure. The program at the University of Tennessee prepares students to be certified or licensed across all states and territories.

Note: In order to maintain the credential, RDNs must complete a minimum of 75 continuing professional education hours every 5 years.

The national accrediting body for education programs in nutrition and dietetics leading to the RDN credential is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400, URL



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