State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Dietitian Careers in Maryland

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for dietitians and nutritionists is better than many other occupations, with an expected increase of 20 percent in job opportunities from 2010 to 2020.  Dietitians and nutritionists working in Maryland earned more than their counterparts working in other states in 2012. The annual mean wage of a Registered Dietitian in Maryland that year was $82,650. Those working in the Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick metropolitan area earned even higher annual mean wages of $98,500. In Maryland, a license to practice as a dietitian or as a nutritionist is granted to eligible individuals who complete the following requirements.

Step 1

Registered Dietitian Education in Maryland

Under Maryland law, if you wish to become a licensed dietitian you must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) says that in order to become a Registered Dietitian, these college educational programs must also be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

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

In Maryland, there are two options for education for prospective registered dietitians:

Under Maryland law, coursework for all Registered Dietitians must include:

  • At least 24 credit hours in the field of food systems management, dietetics, food and nutrition, or human nutrition. Of the 24 credit hours, at least three credit hours must be from each of these areas:
    • Food science
    • Biochemistry/physiological chemistry or advanced human nutrition
    • Upper-level food service systems management
    • Upper-level human nutrition related to disease

If you wish to become a certified and licensed nutritionist in Maryland, Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credentials must be earned from the Certification Board for Nutritional Specialists (CBNS). The state law requires that you:

  • Earn a master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited college or university in nutrition or a related field, such as nutritional sciences, human nutrition, dietetics, food and nutrition, community nutrition or public health nutrition.
  • Complete the following coursework:
    • Nine credit hours in nutrition courses
    • Six credit hours in biochemistry
    • Three credit hours in anatomy/physiology
    • 12 credit hours in life or clinical sciences
  • Complete at least 1000 hours of documented, supervised practice in nutrition
  • Pass the CBNS Certifying Examination
  • Re-certify every five years and document 75 continuing nutrition education credits

*Featured Master's Nutritionist Program:

UNC's Online MPH With Nutrition Concentration. UNC's top-ranked public health school offers an online MPH with Nutrition concentration. Complete in 20 months. Bachelor's degree required. GRE Required.

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.

Benedictine University's Online Master’s Degrees in Nutrition and Wellness programs offer an advanced education in nutrition science with a focus on promoting health and wellness.

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship (DI) in Maryland

Experience is a necessary part of becoming a Registered Dietitian in Maryland. After completing the required education, you must apply to a Dietetic Internship (DI). These programs must also be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition. Each program offers at least 1200 hours of supervised practice over eight to 24 months. (Students who have already completed a Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP) above included the DI). DI Programs in Maryland include:

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Step 3

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam

  • If you have completed Steps 1 and 2 above and are eligible to take the CDR Examination for the first time, you will receive an email from ACT, Inc., the testing service for CDR. You must register and test within one year of receiving the eligibility to test.
  • Review the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians from the Commission on Dietetic Registration.              
  • Read the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates. This details the application and examination process.
  • Register to take the exam and pay the application fee of $200 online via credit card.
  • You will receive an email from PSI Exams Online after they receive payment. At this time, you must schedule the date, time and location of the examination. Exams are offered year-round at PSI Testing Centers in Maryland at the following locations:
    • 711 West 40th St., Suite 352, Baltimore, MD
    • Sterling Building, 4920 Niagara Road, Suite 211, College Park, MD
    • 2137 Esprey Court, Suite 3, Crofton, MD
    • Westshire Professional Center, 920W Washington St., Suite 204, Hagerstown, MD
    • 5900 Princess Garden Parkway, Suite 240, Lanham, MD
    • Beaglin Park Plaza, Building 2, 1323 Mt. Hermon Rd, Suite 2A, Salisbury, MD
  • On the day of the exam, print and bring your Scheduling Confirmation email to the PSI Test Center, along with a government issued photo ID.
  • The examination is computer-based. You must  answer all questions in sequence before moving on to the next question, and you may not skip questions, go back to review, or go back to correct previous answers. You must answer at least 125 questions in order for the examination to be graded. As each exam length varies, questions will number from 125 to 145. You are given 180 minutes to complete the exam.
  • The CDR Exam questions test your comprehension of content and knowledge of how to apply content. The format of the exam is multiple choice on subjects as follows:
    • Questions on Food and Nutrition Sciences (12 percent of exam):
      • Management Concepts
      • Research
      • Education and Communication
      • Nutrition and Supporting Sciences
      • Food Science and Nutrient Composition of Foods
    • Questions on Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups (50 percent of exam):
      • Screening and Assessment
      • Diagnosis
      • Planning and Intervention
      • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Questions on Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services  (21 percent of exam):
      • Quality Improvement
      • Marketing and Public Relations
      • Financial Management
      • Human Resources
      • Function of Management
    • Questions on Food Service Systems (17 percent of exam):
      • Sustainability
      • Equipment and Facility Planning
      • Sanitation and Safety
      • Procurement, Production, Distribution and Service
      • Menu Development
  • Once you have completed the exam, the score report is instantly visible by clicking the Report button on the home page of your online account. A proctor at the PSI Test Center will also hand you a printed copy of the score report as you leave the test center. In order to pass the exam, you must receive a scaled score of at least 25 (on a scale of 0 to 50).
  • If you pass the exam, you will receive an email instructing you how to maintain your CDR credential.
  • If you fail the exam or allow your test eligibility to expire, you must contact the Commission on Dietetic Registration in writing or by phone to be reauthorized to take the CDR exam no sooner than 45 days after failing the exam. The address and phone number is as follows:
    • Commission on Dietetic Registration, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606. Phone number (800) 877-1600, Ext. 5500.

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Step 4

State Licensure as a Registered in Maryland.

After passing the CDR Exam, Registered Dietitians must apply for licensure to practice in the state of Maryland. You must complete the Application for Licensure as a Dietitian-Nutritionist form, making sure to have the signature page notarized. A check or money order for $75 payable to the Board of Dietetic Practice must accompany each application for licensure. Mail these to Maryland State Board of Dietetic Practice, 4201 Patterson Ave, Room 312, Baltimore, MD 21215-2299.

Once notified of licensure eligibility, you must pay a licensing fee of $225.

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Step 5

Maintain License and Apply for Additional Certs.

Renewing and Maintaining Your Maryland License

Registered dietitians must renew Maryland licensure as a Dietitian-Nutritionist every two years. The current fee for renewal is $278, payable online through the Board of Dietetic Practice website or by mail. You must also complete 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every two years to maintain licensure. CPE may include academic course work at the undergraduate or graduate level; seminars, lectures or journal clubs; skills development; independent learning, study groups or professional reading; publications, research, case presentations or professional presentations; posters or exhibits; initial advanced certification; and professional leadership. Consult the Board of Dietetic Practice Continuing Education Requirements for more information on continuing education unit (CEU) limits for each type of CPE.   

Maintaining your CDR Registration as a Registered Dietitian in Maryland

Your registration through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) renews in five-year cycles. Review the PDP Guide from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. This will instruct you on how to find appropriate continuing professional education coursework to complete and maintain your Professional Development Portfolio (PDP) as required by CDR. Every five years, you must:

  • Complete 1 continuing professional education unit (CPEU) in ethics
  • Submit a completed Step 3: Learning Plan online through CDR before participating in any CPE activities or no later than 120 days after completing your first CPE in your current recertification cycle
  • Complete a minimum of 75 CPEUs and submit them within each five year recertification period
  • Submit a completed Step 4: Activity Log online through CDR
  • Acceptable forms of CPE include
    • Academic coursework (includes distance learning)
    • Case presentations
    • Exhibits
    • Experiential skill development
    • Interactive workshops
    • Journal clubs (in person or online)
    • Seminars, lectures, webinars and teleseminars
    • Posters
    • Professional leadership
    • Professional reading
    • Research
    • Residency and fellowship programs
    • Sponsored independent learning
    • Study groups
    • Pre-approved self-study
    • Completion of the following certification programs in dietetics provides 75 CPEUs and may be used repeatedly for consecutive recertification periods with no limit:
      • CDR:
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Oncology Nutrition
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Renal Nutrition
      • American Association of Diabetes Education (AADE):
        • Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management
      • National Board of Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC):
        • Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
      • International Board of Lactation Consultant Education (IBLCE):
        • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
      • National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE):
        • Certified Diabetes Educator
      • Canadian Diabetes Education Certification Board (CDECB):
        • Canadian Board Certified Diabetes Educator
      • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF):             
        • Certified Personal Trainer
    • Completion of the following certification programs in dietetics may be used to satisfy the CPEU requirement for every other recertification period (i.e., every 10 years) and will satisfy all 75 CPEUs:
      • AADE:
        • Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management
      • American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS):
        • Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences
      • American Council on Exercise (ACE):
        • Certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist
        • Certified Group Fitness Instructor
        • Certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant
        • Certified Personal Trainer
      • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):
        • Certified Personal Trainer
        • Health Fitness Specialist
        • Health/Fitness Director
        • Clinical Exercise Specialist
        • Program Director
      • Healthcare Quality Certification Board (HQCB):
        • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality
      • IBLCE:
        • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
      • National Academy of Sport Medicine (NASM):
        • Certified Personal Trainer
      • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC):
        • National Certified Counselor
      • National Center for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC):
        • Certified Health Education Specialist
      • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA):
        • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

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