New Jersey Nutrition Job Information
New Jersey, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranks fifth in the nation among states with the highest concentration of jobs for dietitians and nutritionists. Dietitians and nutritionists earned an annual mean salary of $61,660 in May 2012. Yet there continues to be a battle over licensure in this state.
In particular, New Jersey’s Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act (Proposed Bill S833), which is designed to establish a clear licensing process for dietitians and nutritionists, has yet to be passed. Holistic nutritionists and dietitians see the bill as a hindrance, while registered dietitians in the state see it as a way to clearly distinguish those professionals who have met specific education and experience requirements.
Regardless of the lack of licensure in New Jersey for dietitians and nutritionists, many individuals choose to seek out registration through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and practice as Registered Dietitians (RDs).
If you want to become a registered dietitian (RD) in New Jersey, you must complete a number of steps:
New Jersey Education Program in Dietetics
Before you can take the CDR examination to become an RD in New Jersey, you must complete an educational program in dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Coordinated Programs (CP)
Coordinated educational programs are all-inclusive programs, meaning that they include a course of study resulting in a bachelor’s or graduate degree, as well as a dietetic internship program, a course of supervised practice experience that totals at least 1,200 hours. Upon completion of a CP in New Jersey, you are eligible to sit for the CDR examination.
Didactic Programs (DP)
Didactic programs culminate in a bachelor’s or graduate degree, although they do not include a dietetic internship (DI). As such, upon completion of a DP, you must complete a dietetic internship (DI) to be eligible to sit for the CDR examination.
American University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition Education will prepare you to become an influential leader in nutrition education and advocacy while promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in your community. This program does not prepare you to be a registered dietician. However, there are currently registered dieticians in this program for professional development and career advancement.
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Finish Your Didactic Internship in New Jersey
Upon completion of an ACEND-accredited educational program in dietetics, you must complete a dietetic internship (DI) in New Jersey, a supervised course of practice that, upon completion, totals at least 1,200 hours. ACEND-accredited DI programs in New Jersey include the following:
- Montclair State University, Montclair
- Full-time, 10-month program with an emphasis on medical nutrition therapy
- College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown
- Full-time, 10-month program (or a part-time, 12-month program) with an emphasis on food and nutrition business and communication, nutrition education and counseling
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Scotch Plains
- Full-time, 25-month degree program (of a full-time, 10-month non-degree) with an emphasis on nutrition therapy
- Inspira Health Network, Vineland
- Full-time, 10-month program with an emphasis on clinical dietetics
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Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam in New Jersey
Upon completion of a CP or DI, you will be eligible to sit for the CDR examination, a computer-based, multiple-choice examination that must be passed before you can become a registered dietitian (RD).
- Your program director will contact CDR with your eligibility to sit for the CDR exam. You can therefore expect to receive an email from ACT Inc., the company that CDR contracts to handle the examination, explaining the registration process, which includes an online registration and a $200 registration payment.
- Once you have registered and paid the examination fee, you will receive an email from PSI Exams, the company that operates the more than 250 PSI Testing Centers across the country. Within New Jersey, there are PSI Testing Centers located in:
- Cherry Hill
- New Providence
- North Brunswick
- PSI will require you to can schedule the date, time and location of the exam at one its testing centers. In the meantime, you can read about the CDR exam by reading the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
- On the day of the exam, you must bring with you a government-issued photo ID and the confirmation email from PSI. You will have 2 ½ hours to take the examination, which consists of between 125 and 145 questions, along with an additional 25, non-scored, pre-test questions. The test format is as follows:
- Food and Nutrition Sciences: 12 percent
- Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services: 21 percent
- Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups: 50 percent
- Foodservices Systems: 17 percent
- Upon completion of the exam, you may check your online account immediately to see if you passed. You must score at least 25 on a scale of 0 to 50 to pass the exam.
- If you fail the exam, you must contact CDR to reschedule, although you must re-register, pay the examination fee, and wait at least 45 days to do so.
- Upon successfully completing the CDR, you will receive registration, thereby allowing you to practice as an RD and use the term RD.
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Keep Up to Date on Proposed Licensure in NJ
The New Jersey Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act (Proposed Bill S833) details the proposed bill for dietitian licensure in New Jersey. If this bill passes, it is likely that dietitians in New Jersey, to be licensed, must first become registered dietitians (RDs).
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