State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

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New Jersey Nutrition Job Information

As of July 2019, New Jersey does not require its Registered Dietitians to hold a state license. However, proposed bill NJ A1582, the Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act, introduced into the 2018-19 regular legislative session, would require all dietitians and nutritionists working in New Jersey to become licensed. This bill would follow the educational, experiential and examination requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the national registration agency for dietitians.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2018, New Jersey ranks fifth in the nation among states offering the highest pay for dietitians and nutritionists. Dietitians and nutritionists earned an annual mean salary of $68,810 in May 2018.

Regardless of the current lack of licensure in New Jersey for dietitians and nutritionists, many individuals working in the Garden State choose to validate their credentials and seek out registration through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and practice as Registered Dietitians (RDs).

If you want to become a registered dietitian (RD) in New Jersey, you must complete a number of steps:

 
Step 1

New Jersey Education Program in Dietetics

Before you can take the CDR examination to become an RD in New Jersey, you must complete an educational program in dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

ACEND-Accredited Dietetic Programs in New Jersey:

Coordinated Programs (CP)

Coordinated educational programs are all-inclusive programs, meaning that they include a course of study resulting in a bachelor’s or graduate degree, as well as a dietetic internship program, a course of supervised practice experience that totals at least 1,200 hours. Upon completion of a CP in New Jersey, you are eligible to sit for the CDR examination.

Didactic Programs (DP)

Didactic programs in dietetics culminate in a bachelor’s or graduate degree, although they do not include a dietetic internship (DI). As such, upon completion of a DPD, you must complete a dietetic internship (DI) to be eligible to sit for the CDR examination.

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Step 2

Finish Your Didactic Internship in New Jersey

Upon completion of an ACEND-accredited educational program in dietetics, you must complete a dietetic internship (DI) in New Jersey, a supervised course of practice that, upon completion, totals at least 1,200 hours. ACEND-accredited DI programs in New Jersey include the following:

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Step 3

Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam in New Jersey

Upon completion of a CP or DPD/DI combination, you will be eligible to sit for the CDR examination of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a computer-based, multiple-choice examination that must be passed before you can become a registered dietitian (RD).

  1. Your educational program’s director will contact CDR with your eligibility to sit for the CDR exam. You can therefore expect to receive an email from Pearson VUE, the company that CDR contracts to handle the examination, explaining the registration process, which includes an online registration and a $200 registration payment.
  2. Once you have registered and paid the examination fee, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE Exams, the company that operates more than 250 testing centers across the country. Within New Jersey, there are centers located in:
    1. Atlantic City
    2. Jersey City
    3. Lyndhurst
    4. Piscataway
    5. Princeton
  3. Pearson VUEI will require you to can schedule the date, time and location of the exam at one its testing centers. In the meantime, you can read about the CDR exam by reading the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
  4. On the day of the exam, you must bring with you a government-issued photo ID and the confirmation email from Pearson VUE. You will have 2 ½ hours to take the examination, which consists of between 125 and 145 questions, along with an additional 25, non-scored, pre-test questions. The test format is as follows:
    1. Principles of Dietetics: 25 percent
    2. Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services: 21 percent
    3. Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups: 40 percent
    4. Foodservices Systems: 14 percent
  5. Upon completion of the exam, you may check your online account immediately to see if you passed. You must score at least 25 on a scale of 0 to 50 to pass the exam.
  6. If you fail the exam, you must contact CDR to reschedule, although you must re-register, pay the examination fee, and wait at least 45 days to do so.
  7. Upon successfully completing the CDR, you will receive registration, thereby allowing you to practice as an RD and use the term RD.

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Step 4

Keep Up to Date on Proposed Licensure in NJ

In order to maintain your CDR registration, you must renew it with the CDR every five years. Read the CDR’s PDP Guide  to find appropriate continuing professional education you must take to keep your registration current. Every five years, 75 continuing professional education units (CPEUs) must be completed. CDR’s online CPE database can help you to find CPE activities in New Jersey, such as:

  • Mindfulness & Stress Reduction by Institute for Natural Resources, 6 CPEUs
  • Lactation Exam Review Course by Breastfeeding Outlook, 12 CPEUs
  • Picture Perfect Seminar by Breastfeeding Outlook, 5.5 CPEUs
  • Annual Regional Healthcare Food Service Educational Conference by Don Miller & Associates, 7.5 CPEUs
  • Disordered Eating & Trauma by PESI Inc., 6 CPEUs
  • Pressure Injury Prevention and Treatment by North American Center for Continuing Medical Education, 1.0 CPEU
  • Nutrition for Optimal Health: A Culinary Nutrition Program by Living Plate, 1.0 CPEU

The proposed New Jersey Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensing Act of 2019 details the proposed bill for dietitian licensure in New Jersey. If this bill passes, it is likely that dietitians in New Jersey, to be licensed, must first become registered dietitians (RDs).

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Step 5

Look for Positions and Join Dietetic Organizations in New Jersey

Now that you are a Registered Dietitian, you are likely going to be looking for work within the Garden State. Recent job postings for dietitians in New Jersey that require RD credentials include:

  • Registered Dietitian – Endeavor House North, Kearny
  • Registered Dietitian – RD Nutrition Consultants, LLC, Newark
  • Nutritionist – St. Joseph’s Health, Paterson
  • Registered Dietitian - University Hospital, Newark
  • Registered Dietitian – The Renfrew Center, Ridgewood
  • Registered Dietitian – Sodexo, Newark

You should also consider joining one of the following professional organizations for dietitians in New Jersey, such as:

  • The New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • New Jersey Center for Nutrition Advocacy
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