Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian in Illinois


Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:

  1. Finish Registered Dietitian Education in Illinois
  2. Apply for your Dietetic Internship (DI) in Illinois
  3. Pass the CDR Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians
  4. Apply for Licensure as a Dietitian in Illinois
  5. Maintain Your Licensure and Registration as a Dietitian in Illinois

Nutrition Careers in Illinois

The Commission on Dietetic Registration reports that as of April 2022, there were 4,251 Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in Illinois. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for nutritionists and dietitians in the state was $64,910 as of May 2021. Early career professionals here earned about $59,320, while those with extensive experience earned about $79,500 during this time.

In the major metro areas of the state, the average salary for dietitians and nutritionists often exceeds the state average. Chicagoland is a good example of this, as it reported an average salary of $66,600 as of May 2021.*

The Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act in Illinois mandates that only licensed, qualified individuals may practice as a Dietitian Nutritionist in the state. Qualification involves possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher in foods and nutrition, human nutrition, clinical nutrition, nutrition science, nutrition, nutrition education, food systems management, dietetics, nutrition counseling, applied clinical nutrition, nutrition and integrative health, or nutrition and functional medicine; as well as 900 hours of verified practice experience. Additionally, candidates for licensure in Illinois must pass an examination offered by one of these entities: Commission on Dietetic Registration, American Clinical Board of Nutrition, Board of Certification of Nutrition Specialists, or the Clinical Nutrition Board. This article will focus primarily on the process of examination and licensure of dietitian nutritionists through passing the CDR examination and fulfilling its educational qualifications.

To discover how to become a licensed dietitian nutritionist in Illinois, read on.


Step 1

Finish Registered Dietitian Education in Illinois

Step 1.  Finish Dietitian Nutritionist Education in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation specifies that all who wish to be licensed dietitian nutritionists in Illinois complete education from approved schools or programs in dietetics and nutrition. These are usually ones that are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).  However, Illinois also approves programs that are authorized by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, and the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board.  IN order to sit for the CDR Registered Dietitian exam, you must complete one of the following educational programs accredited by ACEND:

ACEND-Accredited Educational Programs Leading to Registered Dietitian (RD) status in Illinois:

The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.

Featured Nutritionist Programs

Back to Top

Step 2

Complete your Dietetic Internship (DI) in Illinois

After completing the educational component of the CDR’s and Illinois’ prerequisite to becoming a registered dietitian and a licensed dietitian nutritionist 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:

Back to Top

Step 3

Pass CDR Registration Exam Registered Dietitians

Now you are prepared to pass the CDR’s Registered Dietitian examination, required both for registration with the CDR and one of the exams approved for licensure as a dietitian nutritionist 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 $200 to take and is payable online through the CDR website. After payment is received, you will schedule your test through the Pearson VUE Exam Center site. Illinois testing centers include:

  • Peoria- 4507 N Sterling Ave, Suite 302, Norwoods Professional Bldg.
  • Springfield – 3000 Professional Drive, Lower Level, Suite C
  • Schaumburg – 425 North Martingale Rd, Suite 229
  • Schaumburg – 1827 Walden Office Square, Fifth Floor, Suite 540
  • Rosemont – 9550 West Higgins Rd, Suite 225
  • Chicago- 200 West Adams St., Suite 1105
  • Chicago- 111 E Wacker Dr, Suite 515
  • Buffalo Grove- 2100 East Lake-Cook Rd, Suite 115, Riverwalk Property

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. Under the Illinois Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act, 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.
Other exams that are acceptable for licensure under the Illinois Dietitian Nutritionist Practice Act are:

Back to Top

Step 4

Apply for Licensure as a Dietitian in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional requires all Licensed Dietitian Nutritionists to hold appropriate licensure prior to practicing professionally in the state. The Illinois licensure process for Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist is described below.

  1. Download the Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist – Examination/Acceptance of Examination application.
  2. Enclose a fee of $100, payable via check or money order to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  3. Enclose a copy of your CDR registration card (or other acceptable examination that you have passed)
  4. Have a representative of your college or university complete the Certification of Education portion of the application and mail it, with an official school seal to the address below
  5. Submit an official transcript from your dietetics/nutrition program, with a school seal
  6. Send everything (or have them sent) to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Attn: Division of Professional Regulation, P.O. Box 7007, Springfield, IL 62791.

Back to Top

Step 5

Maintain Your Licensure and Registration in Illinois

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 online 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.

View how to become a nutritionist in Illinois here.

*2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for dietitians and nutritionists reflect state data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Salary statistics representing entry-level/early career = 25th percentile; senior-level/highly experienced = 90th percentile. Data accessed April 2022.

Back to Top