State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Nutrition Careers in Colorado

As of August 2013, the state of Colorado does not require its dietitians to be licensed in order to work in the state. Prospective dietitians who wish to work in the Rocky Mountain state must receive Registered Dietitian credentials through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). According to the CDR, as of July 1, 2013 there were 1800 registered dietitians working in Colorado. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2012 dietitians and nutritionists in Colorado averaged an annual wage of $53,350.

Colorado’s registered dietitians have participated in some innovative programs that have gained nationwide notice. In response to increased amounts of Colorado residents becoming obese, the Colorado Obesity, Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (COPAN) was developed, in conjunction with the Colorado Nutrition Coalition and LiveWell Colorado. This initiative is designed to encourage Coloradans to eat healthier and increase physical activity in order to fight the obesity epidemic in the state. Registered dietitians and other health care professionals in Colorado support this program. The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition along with COPAN’s Breastfeeding Work Group is also partially composed of registered dietitians. Its goal is to increase new mothers’ awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding to raising healthier and more physically fit children. For those who wish to become a Registered Dietitian in Colorado, read on.

Step 1

Registered Dietitian Education in Colorado

The state of Colorado does not currently require state licensing of dietitians, although the Denver Dietetic Association and Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are trying to get new licensing legislation passed in Colorado. However, in order to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) under the auspices of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), which credential is required for almost any dietitian job in Colorado, you must satisfy certain education and experience prerequisites. The first prerequisite you must fulfill is to get properly educated. CDR’s accreditation body, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) must approve your college or university dietary program.

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

Options for Registered Dietitian education in Colorado are:


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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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Step 2

Dietetic Internship (DI) in Colorado

Under the CDR’s rules, a Dietetic Internship (DI) must be fulfilled after completion of coursework in dietetics. These are usually 1200 hours in length and range from eight months to two years in duration. In Colorado, options for Dietetic Internships include:

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Step 3

Pass Dietetic Registration (CDR) Examination

The next challenge in your quest to become a Registered Dietitian in Colorado is to pass the CDR’s Registered Dietitian exam. Your coursework and internship should render you well prepared to pass this exam, which must be taken within one year of completing your internship. Nevertheless, you may wish to review the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians published by the CDR. Also take a look at the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates, which explains the application and examination process in detail.

The exam costs $200 and you must register and pay for it online via CDR’s website. You will receive a confirmation email from PSI Exams, the exam centers hosting the test, asking you to schedule your exam date and place. Colorado PSI Exam Centers include:

  • Centennial – 12150 E. Briarwood Ave, Suite 125
  • Colorado Springs – 5050 Edison Ave, Suite 121
  • Durango – 799 East 3rd St., Suite #3
  • Fort Collins – 404 North College Ave
  • Grand Junction – 743 Horizon Court, #203
  • Pueblo – 803 W. 4th St., Suite #803S

The computerized, multiple-choice exam takes approximately three hours to complete. You must answer at least 125 questions (length of the exam varies, but usually runs between 125 and 145). Domains from which the test questions are derived include Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Food and Nutrition Services, Foodservice Systems and Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services.

You will receive your score instantly as soon as you finish taking the CDR exam. You must receive a scaled score of 25 or better to pass. If you do not pass the exam on the first try, reschedule with the CDR to take it 45 days after the date of your first exam.

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Step 4

Find Employment as a RD in Colorado

Congratulations! You have completed the CDR’s educational, experiential and examination requirements and are now a Registered Dietitian in Colorado! Career opportunities abound for well-educated, qualified Registered Dietitians in Colorado. Depending upon any specialty certifications you might receive, you may qualify for even more jobs in the dietary and nutrition field in Colorado.

Colorado Dietary and Nutrition Professional Organizations

Options for finding work as a Registered Dietitian in Colorado may be available through networking. You might want to consider joining one of the following organizations:

  • Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Denver Dietetic Association
  • Western Dairy Association
  • Culinary Institute of America
  • American Heart Association
  • Denver Dietetic Association Speakers Bureau
  • Cooking Matters Colorado
  • LiveWell Colorado
  • Colorado Physical Activity and Nutrition Coalition (COPAN)
  • COPAN Breastfeeding Promotion Work Group
  • Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition

Colorado Job Sites for Registered Dietitians

Career options for Colorado Registered Dietitians may be available through a variety of potential job sites. They include (but are not limited to):

  • Schools (elementary, secondary and post-secondary)
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Long term care facilities
  • Home health care agencies
  • Lactation health care agencies
  • Corporations

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Step 5

CDR Registration and Apply for Specialty Cert.

Maintaining your CDR Registration as a Registered Dietitian in Colorado

Although Colorado does not require a license for dietitians working in the state, you must maintain your registration as a Registered Dietitian through the CDR. Every five years, you must renew this registration and during each five-year period, complete 75 continuing professional education units (CPEUs). Use the CDR’s PDP Guide to learn how to document these units and what qualifies as acceptable CPE.

Specialty Dietary and Nutrition Certification Options for Colorado Dietitians

Some Registered Dietitians in Colorado pursue specialty certifications. These certifications can benefit you in two ways. First, it can enhance your resume and make you more attractive to potential employers. Secondly, some certifications satisfy all or part of the CDR’s CPEU requirements for a five-year registration period. Certification options in Colorado include (but are not limited to):

  • CDR’s Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management
    • Open to RDs who work with children and adolescents
    • Provides 32 CPEUs
    • Training takes place at the Westin Denver Downtown in Denver
  • National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE)’s Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
    • Provides 75 CPEUs
    • Exam is given at AMP Test Centers in Aurora and Grand Junction
  • Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB)’s Clinical Certified Nutritionist (CCN)
    • Does not provide applicable CPEUs for CDR’s purposes
    • Exams are given online
  • Lifestyle Eating and Performance’s Certified Leap Therapist (CLT)
    • Provides CPEUs eligible for CDR credit
    • Webinars online
  • CDR’s Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG)
    • Provides 75 CPEUs
    • Tests are given in Denver
  • National Board of Nutrition Support Certifications’ Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC)
    • Provides 75 CPEUs
    • Exams are given at PSI Test Centers in Centennial, Colorado Springs, Durango and Fort Collins


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