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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:
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).
ACEND-Accredited Dietetic Programs in New Jersey:
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.
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:
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).
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).