Steps to become a Registered Dietitian in New Jersey
Follow the step by step process or choose what situation that best describes you:
- Finish Your Comprehensive New Jersey Dietetic Program
- Finish Your Didactic Internship in New Jersey
- Take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam
- Keep Up to Date on Proposed Licensure in New Jersey
- Look for Positions and Join Dietetic Organizations in New Jersey
- Search for Jobs and Join Dietetic Organizations in New Jersey
New Jersey Nutrition Job Information
According to the Commission on Dietetic Registration, there were 3,342 Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in New Jersey as of April 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2021, dietitians and nutritionists in the Garden State earned an average salary of $74,850, which ranks it among the top states for average pay, behind only California, Washington DC, and Hawaii. Early career professionals earned about $61,370, while late career pros earned about $94,880 during this time.*
New Jersey recently began requiring state licensure for all dietitians working in the state. Under Statute 45:168-1, which became effective January 13, 2021, you must qualify as a licensed dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey in order to legally practice. Holding a current, valid registration as a registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) qualifies you as a licensed dietitian nutritionist in the state. You may also fulfill the state’s licensure requirements by meting educational, supervised practice and examination requirements as noted below.
If you wish to become a registered, licensed dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey, you must complete these steps.
New Jersey Education Program in Dietetics
Both the CDR and the State Board of Dietetics and Nutrition in new jersey have educational requirements you must fulfill before you can become a registered, licensed dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey. As fulfilling the CDR requirement for education (completing an educational program in dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) also fulfills the state’s requirement, we will discuss that first. (Keep in mind that as of 2024, a master’s degree will be required in order to sit for the CDR exam).
ACEND-Accredited Dietetic Programs in New Jersey
Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP)
Coordinated educational programs are all-inclusive programs in dietetics. This means 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 practical experience totaling at least 1200 hours. Upon completion of a CP in New Jersey, you are eligible to sit for the CDR examination. There is currently one CP in New Jersey that is accepting applicants:
- Rowan University, Glassboro
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition to Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Specializations available in Exercise Science and Dietetics
Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD)
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 DI to be eligible to sit for the CDR examination. DPDs in New Jersey include:
- Montclair State University, Montclair
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, Concentration in Dietetics
- Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science, Concentration in Dietetics
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick
- Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences- Dietetics Option
- Saint Elizabeth University, Morristown
- Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition, Concentration in Dietetics
- Bachelor of Science to Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition, Concentration in Dietetics
Under the statutes of the State Board of Dietetics and Nutrition in New Jersey, you may also fulfill the state’s education requirement for licensure of dietitians through:
- Holding a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree with a major in human nutrition, foods and nutrition, dietetics, food systems management, nutrition education, nutrition, nutrition science, clinical nutrition, applied clinical nutrition, nutrition counseling, nutrition and functional medicine, nutritional biochemistry, nutrition and integrative health, from a school that holds regional accreditation from an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education and the Department of Education
- If you choose this route, however, you won’t be eligible to become a registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist through CDR, just a state-licensed dietitian nutritionist
Purdue University Global's Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Program is an approved holistic nutrition education program through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
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. No GRE required. Enroll in our January or May 2022 cohort and receive a $12,000 scholarship..
Arizona State University's Nutrition Bachelors and Masters level programs online prepare students for careers in Health Education, Community Health, Food Analysis and more.
George Washington University's Online Master's in Integrative Medicine with a Concentration in Nutrition specialize in promoting health and wellness through nutrition.
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 and beyond.
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. This is a supervised course of practice that, upon completion, totals at least 1200 hours. (If you are seeking state licensure in New Jersey but not CDR registration, you still must complete an internship of 1200 hours that meets ACEND requirements). ACEND-accredited DI programs in New Jersey include the following:
- Komplete Business DI, Turnersville
- Distance education, student-identified supervised practice
- Rotations through clinical, community and food service experiences
- Montclair State University, Montclair
- Full-time, 10-month, non-degree program
- Emphasis on nutrition therapy
- NutraSource DI, Holmdel
- Full-time, 9-month, non-degree program
- Option to apply for master’s degree through University of Alabama
- Emphasis on advanced medical nutrition therapy, advance food systems management
- Saint Elizabeth University, Morristown
- Full-time 24-month degree program culminating in Master of Science in Nutrition
- Emphasis on entrepreneurial nutrition practice, community and public health nutrition
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. This exam is computer-based and multiple choice. It must be passed before you can become a registered dietitian (RD) (which may also go by the credential of registered dietitian nutritionist, or RDN). Passing this exam is also required for New Jersey state licensure as a dietitian nutritionist.
- Once you have completed your educational and experiential programs, your program director will contact CDR and let them know that you are now eligible to sit for the exam. You can expect to receive an email from Pearson VUE, the company contracting with CDR to handle the exam, explaining the registration process. Exams are administered year-round at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. The fee to take the exam is $200.
- After paying your examination fee, you will receive an email from Pearson VUE and can choose your test center and schedule your exam. In New Jersey, centers are located in:
- Atlantic City
- Jersey City
- Review for the CDR exam. Read the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
- On exam day, bring a government-issued photo ID, and the confirmation email from Pearson VUE. You have 2.5 hours to complete the exam, which will have between 125 and 145 questions, along with 25 additional, non-scored questions. The test format is as follows:
- Principles of Dietetics – 25 percent
- Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups – 40 percent
- Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services – 21 percent
- Foodservice Systems – 14 percent
- 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.
- 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.
- Upon successfully completing the CDR, you will receive registration, thereby allowing you to practice as an RD and use the term RD (or RDN if you prefer, either term is acceptable – it’s up to you which you want to use).
Keep Up to Date on Proposed Licensure in NJ
Once you have completed your educational, experiential and examination requirements you are ready to apply for state licensure as a dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey. As of this writing, an application for licensure has not yet been posted online. Check with the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the latest updates on applications for state licensure.
Look for Positions and Join Dietetic Organizations in New Jersey
In order to maintain your CDR registration as an RD/RDN, 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.
Check with the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as they will have current information on any continuing education requirements to maintain New Jersey licensure as a dietitian nutritionist.
Search for Jobs and Join Dietetic Organizations in New Jersey
Now that you are a registered, licensed dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey, you will be looking for work in the Garden State. Recent dietitian postings for registered, licensed RDNs in New Jersey include:
- Registered Dietitian–Sodexo, Pennington
- Dietitian – Atlantic Health System, Morristown
- Registered Dietitian – Royal Suites Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Galloway
- Registered Dietitian – Hackensack Meridian Health, Neptune City
- Registered Dietitian – New Community Corporation, Newark
- Registered Dietitian – JFK Medical Center, Bradley Beach
You should also consider joining one of the following professional organizations for dietitians in New Jersey, such as:
- The New Jersey Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
- New Jersey Center for Nutrition Advocacy
- Community Food Bank of New Jersey
- New Jersey School Nutrition Association
*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.