So, you want to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). But how do you get there? In this module we will look at the process and steps to becoming an RDN and what role The University of Alabama plays in the process.
Step 1Earn a B.S. degree and meet the requirements to receive a Verification Statement
Step 2Complete a Dietetic Internship (DI)
Step 3Pass the National Registration Examination
The Food and Nutrition major at UA can satisfy Step 1 - the B.S. degree and DPD Verification Statement Requirements
Step 1: Earning the Verification Statement
What is the difference between a food and nutrition major with or without a Verification Statement?
When you apply for admission to The University of Alabama, you are designated as a “Food and Nutrition” major. If you successfully complete all the degree program requirements as stated in the program catalog, you will be awarded a B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition only upon graduation.
Additionally, if you meet the DPD Verification Statement requirements, then you can graduate with a degree in Food and Nutrition and be eligible to receive a DPD Verification Statement.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, you only need to successfully meet the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) components to receive a verification statement.
What is a DPD Program?
The DPD route prepares degree holders to enter dietetic internships where they can apply the theories they learn as undergraduates in in various areas of practice including clinical, community, and food service.
What is a Verification Statement?
The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Verification Statement verifies completion of educational requirements and is required for application to accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) programs. All students who graduate from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition and also meet the DPD requirements receive a Verification Statement.
Verification Statement Requirements Effective Fall 2022
To complete and meet all the DPD requirements and receive a Verification Statement, a student:
- Must earn a C- or higher in all “DPD Science courses” and PY 101 (or equivalent).
- Must earn a B- or higher in all DPD Professional courses (NHM designated and BER 345) or equivalent.
- Must maintain a combined GPA of 3.0 or higher in the “DPD Science Courses” and “DPD Professional Courses.”
- Must complete the courses required for the DPD
- Must earn at the minimum a bachelor’s degree
- Must complete 24 credit hours of DPD courses, including the DPD Capstone courses (NHM 340, NHM 465 and NHM 475) from The University of Alabama
Step 2: Complete a Dietetic Internship
Are Dietetic Internships Competitive?
The Dietetic Internship requires 1200 clocked hours of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited program and takes 6 – 24 months to complete.
At this time, Dietetic Internships are highly competitive, with only approximately 51% of applicants being matched during each application period. The national average GPA for those applying to an internship is a 3.7. In addition to having a strong GPA, DI Directors are looking for students with strong written communication skills, work experience, volunteerism, and leadership experience on their application.
Average National Match Rate for the last 3 years (2017-2019)
Average UA Match Rate for the last 3 years (2017-2019)
How do I find a Dietetic Internship?
There are over 260 DI’s in the US. There are some distance options as well. Students can search eatrightPro for options.
Step 3: Pass the National Registration Exam
The exam can be taken only once Steps 1 and 2 have been completed.
Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program at The University of Alabama are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.
In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.
Students Passing within 1 Year of First Attempt