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Steps to become a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii

Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:

  1. Complete Registered Dietitian Education in Hawaii
  2. Apply for your Dietetic Internship (DI) in Hawaii
  3. Take and Pass the CDR Registration Exam for (RD)'s
  4. Apply for Licensure as a Dietitian in Hawaii
  5. Maintain Your Licensure and Registration as a Dietitian in Hawaii

Registered Dietitian Job Info in Hawaii

The Hawaii Dietetic Association has 300 members as of 2013. Members include Registered Dietitians (RDs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), Dietetic Technicians Registered (DTRs) and dietetic students. Their goal is to promote nutrition, well-being and health among the citizens of Hawaii. Registered dietitians in Hawaii work in a variety of job settings, including schools, hospitals, long term care facilities, military bases, government organizations, community organizations, and private industry. Registered dietitians working in Hawaii can enjoy the benefits of the island state and the beauty it has to offer, as well as reap a lucrative salary. As the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, dietitians and nutritionists working in Hawaii in May of 2012 earned the fourth-highest average annual salary of dietitians and nutritionists working in any state in the country. The average mean wage of a dietitian/nutritionist in Hawaii that year was $65,050, much higher than the mean annual wage across the nation for dietitians of $56,170.

The state of Hawaii just started requiring its dietitians to hold a state license in order to be legal to work. Finding appropriate and accredited education and internships necessary for registration and licensing in the state can be a challenge, however, but others who now work as registered, licensed dietitians in Hawaii have made it work. To discover how you can become a registered dietitian in Hawaii, keep reading.

 
Step 1

Complete Registered Dietitian Education in Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Health has required its dietitians to become licensed before working in the state since August of 2012. Under Hawaii’s licensing rules, all dietitians must first become Registered Dietitians under the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This means you must complete certain educational and experiential requirements, all of which must be accredited by CDR’s accreditation council, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Hawaii ACEND-Accredited Programs Leading to Registered Dietitian (RD) Licensure:

  • Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP) – A Coordinated Program in Dietetics combines the education and experience you need to become registered and licensed as a dietitian in Hawaii. As of August 2013, there are no CPs in Hawaii. If you are interested in finding ACEND-accredited CPs in other states, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
  • Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD)-A Didactic Program in Dietetics offers coursework that fulfills the educational requirement of the CDR and Hawaii. After completion of coursework in food,  nutrition and dietetics, you must still take an internship to fulfill the experience requirements.  There is currently one DPD in Hawaii:

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Step 2

Apply to a Dietetic Internship (DI) in Hawaii

Now you are ready to fulfill the internship requirement imposed by the CDR and the state of Hawaii on all prospective registered, licensed dietitians. Unfortunately, as of August 2013, there are no ACEND-approved Dietetic Internships (DIs) in Hawaii. An option many students use is to find an ACEND-accredited internship from another state that allows you to use an internship site and preceptor in your home state. You can use the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website to find ACEND-accredited DIs that interest you in other states

One such DI that some Hawaiian dietetic students have used was found through the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. This school offers two internship options – attend full-time for nine months, or part-time for 15 months. The emphasis on all internships under this school is Management, Nutrition Education and Counseling. Internship sites on the island of Hawaii that students have used under the umbrella and supervision of the University of Northern Colorado DI include:

  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
  • Tripler Army Medical Center
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Liberty Dialysis, Hawaii
  • Castle Medical Center
  • Nutrition Education for Wellness (NEW) Cooperative Extension

All DIs under the University of Northern Colorado’s supervision must include the following competencies and/or components:

  • Clinical setting
  • Food service setting
  • Quality management data  collection and evaluation
  • Administrative study of either clinical or foodservice setting component

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Step 3

Take and Pass the CDR Registration Exam for Registered Dietitians

After your DI has come to its end, you are ready to take the CDR’s Registered Dietitian Examination. Use the CDR’s Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates  to help you prepare for the examination. You must answer a minimum of 125 questions in the 180 minutes you are given to complete this computerized exam consisting of multiple-choice questions. In this format, no questions may be skipped nor answers reviewed or changed.  

Pay the $200 exam fee via the CDR website. PSI Exam Centers will email you when CDR receives your fee payment to schedule your exam.  Hawaii test centers include:

  • Honokaa –NHERC, Hamakua Health Center, 45-539 Plumeria Street, Island of Hawaii
  • Honolulu – Ala Moana Pacific Center, 1585 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 1135

On examination day, bring a hard copy of the email PSI Test Centers sent you confirming your exam date and location, as well as your government-issued photo id card.
The exam should be easy if you did well in your DPD and DI. The following content areas are covered in the exam:

  • Foodservice Systems
  • Food and Nutrition Sciences
  • Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups
  • Management of Food and Nutrition Services and Programs

A proctor at the PSI Exam Center will hand you a hard copy of your exam score once you have finished the exam.  You must get a scaled score of 25 (on a scale of 0 to 50) or more in order to pass. If you fail, you may take the exam again in 45 days by scheduling it again with CDR.  Passing the CDR exam gives you the credentials Registered Dietitian (RD).

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Step 4

Apply for Licensure as a Dietitian in Hawaii

Congratulations on passing the Registered Dietitian Exam! Now, you must become a licensed dietitian in Hawaii. As Hawaii’s licensing laws for dietitians are so new, there are no forms available online to download, so you must request them. Contact the Hawaii State Licensing Section of the Department of Health, Office of Health Care Assurance (as of August 2013, this is  Susan K. Nakamura, MPH, RD , who can be reached at 808-692-7405). The contact will give you information on what needs to be enclosed with your application, such as the application fee, licensing fee, and a copy of your CDR registration card. Once you have the license, you are officially a Licensed Dietitian (LD) in Hawaii.

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Step 5

Maintain Your Licensure and Registration as a Dietitian in Hawaii

Maintaining Your Hawaii Dietitian License

Your license to practice as a dietitian in Hawaii is renewable every three years. Currently, this just requires that you obtain a renewal form (from the contact above) and submit it with a renewal fee. As the Hawaii dietitian licensing program is fairly new, no continuing education is currently required to maintain a Hawaii dietitian license, but this may change.

Maintaining your CDR Registration as a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii

Every five years, you must renew your registration through the CDR as a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii. This means you must also complete 75 units of continuing professional education (CPEUs) every five years. You may find opportunities and record them through the CDR’s PDP Guide  and CPE Database . The Hawaii Dietetic Association also lists continuing education opportunities on its website. CPE offerings in Hawaii are slim, but currently include activities such as:

  • Completion of a dietetics survey
  • Nationwide webinar on preventing medical errors for dietitians
  • Cancer research center for Hawaii nutrition roundtable
  • Teleconference, intrinsic coach development series for health and wellness professionals
  • Training presentation for the military in Honolulu
  • Nutrition journal club in Honolulu
  • Maui Memorial Medical Center- Nutrition Services in Wailuku

Specialty  Certification for Dietitians in Hawaii

One way to earn CPEUs to help maintain your registration as a dietitian in Hawaii is to pursue specialty certifications in the dietetics and nutrition fields. Many of these CDR-approved or accredited certification programs fulfill part or all of the 75 CPEU requirement every five years. They can also broaden your career opportunities and horizons. Certification programs that have been used for CPEU credits include (but are not limited to):

  • CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration) programs:
    • Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
    • Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition
  • National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators (NCBDE):
    • Certified Diabetes Educator
  • American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE):
    • Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management
  • Canadian Diabetes Education Certification Board (CDECB):
    • Canadian Board Certified Diabetes Educator

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