State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

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Nutrition Career Information in Texas

According to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians, a dietitian is a professional who applies and integrates scientific principles of nutrition under different conditions, including social, cultural, psychological, and physical, just to name a few.

Although dietitians and nutritionists need not be professional licensed in Texas, the use of the terms “licensed dietitian” or “professionally licensed dietitian” requires a state license.

Texas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Texas ranked fourth among states with the highest employment level as of May 2012. The annual mean salary for dietitians and nutritionists in Texas during this time was $53,170.

Further, the BLS reported that metropolitan areas of Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown and Dallas-Plano-Irving ranked among the top areas in the country with the highest employment level for dietitians and nutritionists. The mean annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area, as of May 2012, was $55,320, and the mean annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists in the Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan area during the same period was $56,220.

To qualify for licensure as a dietitian in Texas, you must complete a number of steps:

 
Step 1

Education Program in Dietetics in Texas

If you want to pursue a career as a licensed dietitian in Texas, you must first complete an education program leads to a bachelor’s or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in one of the following majors:

  • Human nutrition
  • Food and nutrition
  • Nutrition education
  • Dietetics
  • Food systems management

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

To qualify to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination, your program must be approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). There are two types of dietetics programs in Texas:

Coordinated Programs (CP) in Dietetics

A coordinated program in dietetics is a program that includes both a course of study that includes all required coursework and at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice within the program. Once you complete a CP you are eligible to sit for the CDR examination:

Didactic Programs in Dietetics

A didactic program in dietetics is a program that culminates in a bachelor’s or graduate degree and includes all required coursework. However, unlike a coordinated program, you must apply for and complete a dietetic internship upon completion of the program in order to be eligible to sit for the CDR examination:

If you want to become certified as a nutritionist in Texas, you must achieve certification as a certified nutrition specialist (CNS) through the Certification Board for Nutritional Specialists (CBNS). To do so, you must first:

  • Earn a graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in a nutrition field
  • Complete coursework in the following areas:
    • 9 credit hours in nutrition
    • 12 credit hours in the life or clinical sciences
    • 3 credit hours in biochemistry
    • 6 credit hours in biochemistry
  • Complete at least 1,000 hours of documented, supervised practice in nutrition

You must pass the CBNS Certifying Examination to achieve CNS certification, and you must recertify and document at least 75 credit hours of continuing education every 5 years to maintaining your CNS designation.

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship (DI) in Texas

Once you have completed a didactic program in dietetics, you must apply for a dietetic internship in Texas. All DI programs in Texas include at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice. You must complete an ACEND-accredited DI before you can qualify to sit for the CDR examination. DI programs in Texas include:

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Step 3

Pass the (CDR) Examination in Texas

  1. After you complete your DI program, you will receive notification from ACT Inc., the company contracted to handle the CDR examination. Once you receive notification, you must register to take the examination and pay the $200 examination fee, both of which can be completed online.
  2. After you have successfully registered and paid for the exam, you will then receive email notification from PSI Exams, the company that administers the CDR exam, asking you to schedule the date, time and location of your exam. There are more than 250 PSI Testing Centers located across the country. PSI Testing Centers in Texas are located in:
    1. Abilene
    2. Amarillo (2)
    3. Arlington
    4. Austin (2)
    5. Corpus Christi
    6. Dallas
    7. El Paso
    8. Fort Worth
    9. Harlingen
    10. Houston (3)
    11. Lubbock
    12. McAllen
    13. Midland
    14. Richardson
    15. San Antonio (2)
    16. Tyler Waco
  3. After registering for the exam, it is best to take the time to prepare by reading the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
  4. On the day of the examination, it is important to bring your government-issued photo identification and the confirmation email from PSI Exams with you to the testing center.
  5. The computer-based, multiple-choice examination includes 125 questions, 25 of which are pre-test questions that are not scored. Upon completion of the exam, you can view your score by clicking the Report button in your online account. You must score at least 25 on a scale of 0 to 50 to pass the exam.
  6. If you fail the exam, you may be able to retest again after 45 days, provided you obtain reauthorization (and pay the examination fee) from Commission on Dietetic Registration (1-800-877-1600).

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Step 4

Texas Jurisprudence Examination

All individuals applying for licensure as a dietitian in Texas must complete the Texas Jurisprudence exam before applying for licensure with the Board, an online “no-fail” exam designed to ensure that you are familiar with Board rules.

To complete the Texas Jurisprudence exam you must pay the exam fee of $35. The exam takes about 2 hours of complete, although there is no time limit. You can stop and start the exam and complete it at your leisure.

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Step 5

Licensure as an (RD) in Texas

Upon successfully completing the Texas Jurisprudence exam, you will be eligible to apply for state licensure as a registered dietitian. Along with a completed and signed application (you can download an application packet here), you must submit:

  • An original transcript of your dietitian education
  • Proof of completing the Texas Jurisprudence exam
  • Copy of your CRD card
  • An application fee of $96

Mail the completed application and all required documents to:

Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians
Mail Code 1982
P.O. Box 149347
Austin, Texas 78714-9347

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Step 6

Maintain your Credentials as an RD in Texas

Maintaining your CRD Registration

To maintain your CDR registration, you must renew it every 5 years and show proof of at least 75 hours of continuing education units. You can find continuing education opportunities and track your completed work through the CDR’s Professional Development Portfolio (DPD).

Completing the Texas Jurisprudence Exam

The Board of Examiners of Dietitians requires that you successfully complete the Texas Jurisprudence Exam every two years (and pay the $35 fee) for renewal, and it must be completed to renew your license as a dietitian.

Renewing your Texas License

You must renew your Texas license every 2 years and pay the $95 renewal fee.

You can renew your license online through the Regulatory Services Online Licensing System. You must first create a user account to login and renew your license. You can expect to receive a renewal notice in the mail about two months before your renewal is due.

You just provide documentation of at least 12 continuing education credits during your two-year cycle to eligible to renew your license in Texas. All continuing education credits must be approved or offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration or by a regionally accredited college or university.

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