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In December 2012, legislation that mandated only licensed, registered dietitians could provide nutrition counseling in Illinois was defeated by state legislators. The new law that will go into effect says that non-Registered Dietitian (RD) nutritionists who have nutrition degrees from accredited schools, 900 hours of supervised experience, and pass an exam in clinical nutrition may become licensed to work in Illinois. Nutrition licensing exams that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will accept for these purposes include those of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists and the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. This new licensing law may eventually change some of the registered dietitian education programs in Illinois. For now, in order to become licensed to practice in Illinois, registered dietitians must complete education, experience and an examination mandated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
As of May 2012, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists working in Illinois earned an average yearly salary of $50,370. Licensed dietitian nutritionists working in certain parts of Illinois earned higher average wages. For example, those working in the Springfield area averaged $62,460 annually. Champaign-Urbana area dietitians earned about $59,010 annually. Dietitians working in the South Illinois nonmetropolitan area earned an average annual wage of $54,970. To discover how to become a licensed registered dietitian in Illinois, read on.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation specifies that all who wish to be licensed dietitian nutritionists (under the currently written law) in Illinois complete education accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
ACEND-Accredited Educational Programs Leading to Registered Dietitian (RD) status in Illinois:
After completing the educational component of the CDR’s and Illinois’ prerequisite to becoming a registered, licensed dietitian in Illinois, you must complete at least 900 hours of a supervised internship. These are all at the post-bachelor’s degree level. In Illinois, Dietetic Internships (DI) that are ACEND-accredited include:
Now you are prepared to pass the CDR’s Registered Dietitian examination, required both for registration with the CDR and licensure with the state of Illinois. This computerized exam is multiple-choice and takes about three hours to complete. You cannot skip, change or review questions already answered, and must answer at least 125 questions for the exam to be scored. The exam costs $291 to take and is payable online through the CDR website. After payment is received, you will schedule your test through the PSI Exam Center site. Illinois testing centers include:
Your score is available to you upon finishing the exam. You must receive at least a scaled score of 25 to pass. If you fail the exam, you are allowed to re-take it 45 days after the date of the first attempt. If you fail the exam three times, you must complete six additional hours of dietetic courses before you are allowed to take the test a fourth time.
As of August 2013, the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation offers three categories of dietitian nutritionist professions that must be licensed: Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist Counselor, and Diet/Nutrition Counselor CE Sponsor. The one that applies to those who have earned the credential Registered Dietitian is Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. The Illinois licensure process for Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist is described below.
Maintaining Your Illinois Dietitian License
Your Illinois License as a Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN) must be renewed every two years online, at the current cost of $100 (payable via credit card). You should receive a license renewal notice about a month before your license expires. You must complete 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) during each two –year period. CPE must be related to dietetics and/or nutrition. Approved CPE activities may be found through the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Maintaining your CDR Registration as a Registered Dietitian in Illinois
You must complete 75 hours of CPE (continuing professional education) every five years and renew your registration through the CDR at that time. Approved CPE must be related to dietetics and/or nutrition. You can find approved CPE activities through the CDR’s CPE Database . The CDR’s PDP Guide can help you to create and maintain your portfolio, which is a part of the CPE process as well.