Professional Credentials in Nutrition and Dietetics
- How to become a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist
- How to become a Registered Dietetic Technician
- What is the difference between a “Nutritionist” and a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?
The Nutrition Program at SUNY Plattsburgh starts you on the path to become a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN).
In order to become a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, you must fulfill three components:
1. Academic Requirement:
You must complete a Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition or related area at a regionally accredited college or university. Your degree must meet the minimum academic requirements as approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). SUNY Plattsburgh is a fully accredited program, and to be eligible to apply for a dietetic internship we require students meet certain academic standards.
2. Supervised Professional Experience: Dietetic Internship or Individualized Supervised Practice Program.
During your senior year or after successfully graduating from an accredited program, you may apply for dietetic internships. There are approximately 245 different accredited internships located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The internships are competitive, so you will need to show that you have a solid GPA as well as some experience in the field of dietetics before you apply. Please note that some programs have certain grade or time restriction. Some programs also offer a Master’s degree or graduate level coursework. SUNY Plattsburgh is in the process of developing an accredited supervised practice program for our qualified students. Internships are typically 9-12 months long (1200 hours).
3. National Registration Examination for Dietitians.
After completing an ACEND approved internship you must pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians. When you pass the exam, you are qualified to be a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). These are identical certifications, just two different names.
Learn more about how to become an RD or RDN at eatright.org or the Handbook
Please note that starting January 2024, a Master’s degree will be required, although further guidelines are being developed by ACEND.
The Nutrition Program at SUNY Plattsburgh qualifies you to take the national registration examination for dietetic technicians.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that Dietetic Technicians be registered, and many work environments require that an individual be credentialed as a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR). Some hospitals and long term care facilities will employ B.S. dietetic major graduates as Dietetic Technician without the DTR credential.
In order to become a Registered Dietetic Technician, you are qualified to take the national registration examination for dietetic technicians after successfully graduating from the SUNY Plattsburgh Nutrition Program with a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition. Once you have passed the exam you are allowed to use the initials “DTR” or “NDTR” after your name signifying your status as a registered diet technician. You may re-take the exam at a later date, if needed to pass.
Dietetic Technicians generally work independently or in teams with (or under the supervision of) an RD to perform routine duties at the technical level. Areas of employment are similar to that of RDs, such as hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, out-patient health care & wellness clinics, community nutrition (WIC programs, public health agencies, meals on wheels, community health programs), food companies, and in food service management.
The job market for Dietetic Technicians is assumed to be good and growing somewhat faster than that of RDs. According to information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average salary level for dietetic technicians is about 75% of the average salary for RDs. Salary levels vary within regions and scope of responsibility.
For more information on steps to become a Registered Dietetic Technician, please refer to the Handbook. Or
What is the difference between a “Nutritionist” and a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?
Unlike the credential RD/RDN, there is no nationally recognized credential associated with the title “nutritionist.” This means anyone can call himself or herself a nutritionist, with or without any educational preparation in food and nutrition.
The term nutritionist could be appropriately used if the person were educated in nutrition. However, since the term is not regulated or credentialed, it is often used by people without any training who may actually do harm by giving inappropriate advice. Therefore, when you hear the term “nutritionist”, you need to request more information about the person’s qualifications before you can feel secure with the advice you are getting. In the State of New York, a
What is a Licensed Dietitian or Certified Dietitian Nutritionist?
In New York State, dietitians and nutritionists who provide out-patient services must be certified. The certification is CDN (Certified Dietitian Nutritionist). Insurance reimbursement for medical nutrition therapy requires a provider to be an RD and CDN. To meet the education and experience requirements for certification in dietetics-nutrition, you must satisfy certain criteria as outlined on the New York State Education Department website at www.op.nysed.gov/dietlic. You can become a CDN with or without being an RD.
For more information on steps to become a CDN (Certified Dietitian Nutritionist) in New York State, please refer to the Handbook.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
If you would like to find out more about the nutrition program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:
Jorunn Gran-Henriksen, Nutrition Program Director and Chair
Office: Hawkins Hall 102A
Phone: (518) 564-4247 or
Nutrition Office Phone: (518) 564-4355
Fax: (518) 564-3100