Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian in Iowa


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

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

Iowa Nutrition Job Information

According to the Commission on Dietetic Registration, there were 1,084 Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in Iowa as of April 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2021, the average salary for dietitians and nutritionists in Iowa was $59,740. Early career professionals here earned about $48,130, while those with extensive experience earned about $76,920 during this time.*

To become a registered dietitian in Iowa, you must complete education to earn at least a bachelor’s degree and a supervised dietetic and nutrition practice internship of at least 900 hours’ duration. You must then pass a national registration examination for dietitians. Dietitian licensing through the Iowa Board of Dietitians also requires that you fulfill the CDR’s mandates before you can legally work as a dietitian in the state.

Keep reading to see how you can join the ranks of dietitians practicing in Iowa.


Step 1

Finish Registered Dietitian Education in Iowa

Only licensed and registered dietitians may practice in the state of Iowa. This means that you must complete a course of dietitian education in Iowa that is approved by the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

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

      • Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP) – Combines dietary courses and an internship at the graduate or undergraduate levels. As of June 2019, there are no CPs in Iowa.
      • Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD)- Provide dietary courses at the graduate or undergraduate level:

Courses included in a CP or DPD program in Iowa will cover:

  • Advanced human nutrition and metabolism
  • Scientific study of food
  • Nutrition and health assessment
  • Foundations of dietetic practice
  • Nutrition in growth and development
  • Food ingredient, interactions and formulations
  • Food laws, regulations and the regulatory process
  • Community nutrition
  • Medical nutrition and disease
  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Quantity food production management
  • Food Service management systems
  • Statistics
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology
  • Organic chemistry
  • Physiology
  • Human anatomy
  • Public speaking

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

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Step 2

Apply to a Dietetic Internship (DI) in Iowa

The CDR and the state of Iowa require that you complete a supervised internship in dietetics of at least 900 hours in duration. ACEND-approved Dietetic Internships (DIs) in Iowa are:

  • Iowa State University, Ames
    • Six months, full-time, non-degree program
    • Emphasis is on technology in health promotion
    • This program allows applicants to complete the DI in geographic areas of their choice. Up to 24 percent (4 weeks) of the supervised practice experience in dietetics may be completed in the country of Ghana.

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Step 3

Pass the CDR Registration Exam for RDs

Upon completion of your internship, and with your dietitian education in Iowa finished, you should be well prepared to pass the CDR’s National Registration Exam for Dietitians. This is required of both the CDR for registration purposes and the Iowa Board of Dietetics for licensing purposes. The exam lasts about 180 minutes and is taken on the computer. It is made up of 125 to 145 multiple-choice questions on subjects that you studied in your dietitian education. You must answer 125 questions at least, and cannot skip or change any answers. It costs $200 to take the exam. Registration and payment for the exam is available online through CDR. The exam is given at Pearson VUE Exam Centers, and you may register online to schedule the exam. In Iowa, these include:

  • Coralville – 327 2nd St, Suite 370, Wells Fargo Bldg.
  • Davenport – 100 East Kimberly Rd, Suite 401, Northwest Bank & Trust Company
  • Sioux City – 4300 S. Lakeport, Suite 204
  • West Des Moines – 3737 Woodland Ave, Third Fl, Suite 340, Colony Park Ofc Bldg.

You will receive your test results onscreen as soon as you finish the exam. In addition, a proctor at the Pearson VUE Exam Center site will print your score report for you. You must get a scaled score of 25 on a scale of 0 to 50 to pass the exam. Exams may be re-taken in 45 days if you fail on the first try. Contact CDR to reschedule your exam.
When you pass the exam, you receive credentials as a Registered Dietitian (RD) that you may use with your name.

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Step 4

Apply for Licensure as a Dietitian in Iowa

Congratulations on passing the CDR’s National Registration Exam for dietitians! You are now a Registered Dietitian through the CDR, but you must still become a licensed dietitian (LD) in Iowa in order to legally work in the state.  Apply online and pay the fee for initial licensure ($120).

Once you are licensed, you may view and print your licensure status online. Go onto and your active licensure status will be posted. The Board will mail your license and wallet card to you. Once received, you may advertise your credentials as a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Licensed Dietitian (LD) in the state of Iowa.

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Step 5

Maintain Your Licensing and Registration in Iowa

Maintaining Your Iowa Dietitian Licensing

You must renew your license to practice dietetics with the Iowa Board of Dietetics every two years. Renew online and pay the renewal fee of $120. During each two-year licensing period, you must complete 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE). This CPE must be related to the profession of dietetics. Any CDR-approved CPE qualifies as approved under the Iowa Board of Dietetics. Approved forms of CPE include:

  • Academic coursework
  • Scholarly publications
  • Poster sessions
  • Presenters
  • Staff development training

Keep records of your CPE, as you may be selected to be randomly audited by the Board.

Maintaining your CDR Registration as a Registered Dietitian in Iowa

The CDR requires that you renew your registration with them every five years. You must complete 75 hours of CPE during each five-year period. Iowa’s CPE activities can be found on CDR’s online CPE database.You should also check the CDR’s PDP Guide  to learn how to create a CPE portfolio. 

View how to become a nutritionist in Iowa 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.

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