Steps to become a Registered Dietitian in Maryland

View how to become a nutritionist in Maryland here.

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

  1. Maryland Registered Dietitian Education
  2. Apply to a Dietetic Internship (DI) in Maryland
  3. Pass the Commission on the (CDR) Examination
  4. Apply for State Licensure as a Registered Dietitian in Maryland
  5. Apply for State Licensure as a Registered Dietitian in Maryland

Dietitian Careers in Maryland

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the employment outlook for dietitians and nutritionists is better than that of many other occupations, with an expected increase of 13.35 percent in job opportunities from 2016 to 2026. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that dietitians and nutritionists working in Maryland earned more than their counterparts working in other states in 2018. The annual mean wage of a Registered Dietitian in Maryland that year was $68,760. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Complete the following coursework:
    1. Nine credit hours in nutrition courses
    2. Six credit hours in biochemistry
    3. Three credit hours in anatomy/physiology
    4. 12 credit hours in life or clinical sciences
  3. Complete at least 1000 hours of documented, supervised practice in nutrition
  4. Pass the CBNS Certifying Examination
  5. Re-certify every five years and document 75 continuing nutrition education credits


Featured Nutritionist Programs

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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

  1. 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 Pearson VUE, the testing service for CDR. You must register and test within one year of receiving the eligibility to test.
  2. Review the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide from the Commission on Dietetic Registration.          
  3. Read the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates. This details the application and examination process.
  4. Register to take the exam and pay the application fee of $200 online via credit card.
  5. You will receive an email from Pearson VUE 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 Pearson VUE test centers in Maryland at the following locations:
    1. Columbia – 9891 Broken Land Pkwy., Suite 108
    2. Baltimore – 3108 Lord Baltimore Drive, Suite 103
    3. Bethesda – 4350 East West Highway, Suite 525, Bethesda Towers
  6. On the day of the exam, print and bring your Scheduling Confirmation email to the Pearson VUE Test Center, along with a government issued photo ID.
  7. 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.
  8. 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:
    1. Questions on Principles of Dietetics (25 percent of exam):
      1. Research Applications
      2. Education, Technology and Communication
      3. Nutrition and Supporting Sciences
      4. Food Science and Nutrient Composition of Foods
    2. Questions on Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups (40 percent of exam):
      1. Screening and Assessment
      2. Diagnosis
      3. Planning and Intervention
      4. Monitoring and Evaluation
    3. Questions on Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services  (21 percent of exam):
      1. Quality Management and Improvement
      2. Functions of Management
      3. Marketing and Public Relations
      4. Financial Management
      5. Human Resources
      6. Function of Management
    4. Questions on Food Service Systems (14 percent of exam):
      1. Equipment and Facility Planning
      2. Sanitation and Safety
      3. Procurement, Production, Distribution and Service
      4. Menu Development
  9. 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 Pearson VUE 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).
  10. 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 to reauthorize to test again. You may either email them at, or phone them at (312) 899-4859.

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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 apply either online or by filling out the Application for Licensure as a Dietitian-Nutritionist form, making sure to have the signature page notarized. Pay the initial licensure/application fee of $300, either online through visa/master card or by check or money order payable to the Maryland Board of Dietetic Practice. Mail these to Maryland State Board of Dietetic Practice, 4201 Patterson Ave, Room 312, Baltimore, MD 21215-2299.

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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. You may renew online. The current fee for renewal is $250, 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. Continuing education units (CEUs) must be approved by the Board of Dietetic Practice, or one of the following entities:

  • Accredited hospitals
  • Accredited colleges/universities
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • Red Cross
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • The Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education
  • The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
  • American Society for Nutrition
  • The American College of Nutrition
  • The Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists
  • The Commission on Dietetic Registration

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 may satisfy some or all of the CEU requirements:
      • 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
        • Board Certification as a Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management
      • American Association of Diabetes Education (AADE):
        • Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management
      • Accreditation Council for Clinical LIpidology (ACCL):
        • Clinical Lipid Specialist
      • American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS):
        • Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences
      • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):
        • Program Director
        • Health/Fitness Director
        • Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist
        • Certified Personal Trainer
        • Certified Exercise Physiologist
      • American Council on Exercise (ACE):
        • Certified Health Coach
        • Certified Personal Trainer
        • Certified Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist
        • Certified Group Fitness Instructor
      • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT):
        • Certified Food Science Specialist
      • National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ):
        • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality
      • National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM):
        • Certified Personal Trainer
      • 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
      • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC):
        • National Certified Counselor
      • Canadian Diabetes Education Certification Board (CDECB):
        • Canadian Board Certified Diabetes Educator
      • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF):
        • Certified Personal Trainer
      • International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP):
        • Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian
      • National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
        • Certified Health Education Specialist
      • Healthcare Quality Certification Board (HQCB):
        • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality
      • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA):
        • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
        • Certified Personal Trainer
      • National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA):
        • Personal Fitness Trainer
      • North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAAFEM):
        • Certified Foodservice Professional
      • School Nutrition Association (SNA):
        • School Nutrition Specialist

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