State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

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Registered Dietitian Job Information in North Carolina

According to the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition, its mission is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina from harmful nutrition practice. As such, the Board has developed licensure, education, practice, and regulation requirements for all individuals involved in the practice of dietetics/nutrition in North Carolina.

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that as of December 2013, there were 2755 Registered Dietitians working in North Carolina. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, dietitians and nutritionists practicing in the state earned an average annual mean wage of $54,810 in May 2018.

A proposed rule change would create a new pathway to licensure for North Carolina dietitians and nutritionists. It would further align the state’s requirements with those of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This change is set to be adopted by the Board in August 2019.

To become a registered and licensed dietitian in North Carolina, you must complete the following steps:

 
Step 1

Education in Dietetics (ACEND) in North Carolina

According to North Carolina law, you must receive a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a major course of study in one of the following subject areas:

  • Human Nutrition
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Dietetics
  • Community Nutrition
  • Public Health Nutrition

Further, you must complete minimum course requirements set forth by the Board, which include:

  • Food Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Human Nutrition
  • Diet Therapy
  • Advanced Nutrition
  • Food Systems Management
To qualify to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam and earn the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential, you must complete a course of study accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). These education programs meet North Carolina’s requirements as well.
The following education programs in dietetics in North Carolina meet both the Board’s requirements and ACEND’s requirements:


ACEND-Accredited Programs in North Carolina:

There are two routes to registration and licensure in North Carolina:

(1) You may complete a coordinated program (CP) in dietetics, which includes the CDR’s requirement of an ACEND-accredited education program that results in a bachelor’s or graduate degree and a course of supervised practice totaling at least 1,200 hours; or

(2) You may complete a didactic program in dietetics (DPD), which includes a course of study in dietetics that results in a bachelor’s or graduate degree, but does not include the supervised practice component. After the successful completion of a DP, you must then apply for and complete a dietetic internship to meet the supervised practice requirement set forth by the CDR.

Coordinated Programs (CP) in Dietetics in North Carolina:

As of July 2019, there are no Coordinated Programs in Dietetics offered in North Carolina.

Didactic Programs (DP) in Dietetics in North Carolina:

If you want to become a licensed nutritionist in North Carolina, you must meet the Board’s minimum requirements:

  • You must possess a master’s degree in human nutrition, nutrition education, foods and nutrition, public health nutrition, or an equivalent course of study from a regionally accredited college or university; OR
  • Possess a doctorate in human nutrition, nutrition education, foods and nutrition, public health nutrition, or an equivalent course of study or have received a Doctor of Medicine; AND
  • Meet minimum course requirements required by the Board, which include:
    • Social and behavioral sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Human Nutrition
    • Diet Therapy
    • Advanced Nutrition
  • Possess documentation of a supervised practice experience that consists of no less than 900 hours under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider

You must also pass the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) Exam of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists or the Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (DACBN) exam in order to receive nutritionist licensure in the state.

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship (DI) in North Carolina

Following the completion of a DPD in North Carolina, you must apply to and successfully complete a dietetic internship (DI) to qualify to sit for the CDR exam and become a registered and licensed dietitian in North Carolina.
The following DI programs are located in North Carolina:

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Step 3

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam

Upon the successful completion of a DI program or CP program, you are eligible to sit for the CDR exam, a computer-based, multiple-choice examination. You will receive email correspondence once you have completed your course of supervised practice. You have 365 days from the time you complete your program to register and take the CDR examination. Upon receipt of the email, you will be asked to register to take the exam and pay the $200 application fee.

Once your registration and application fee are received, you will then receive correspondence from Pearson VUE, the testing centers at which you will be taking your CDR exam. You must then schedule the date, time, and location of your exam. There are more than 250 Pearson VUE Testing Centers throughout the country, with the following testing centers located in North Carolina:

  • Charlotte
  • Durham
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington
  • Winston-Salem

Before taking the CDR exam, you may prepare by reading the  Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
The CDR exam, as of July 2019, consists of the following components (and their percentage of the exam):

    1. Principles of Dietetics: 25 percent
    2. Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups: 40 percent
    3. Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services: 21 percent
    4. Foodservice Systems: 14 percent

You will have 2 ½ hours to complete the examination, as well as an additional 30 minutes to answer 25 pre-test questions and familiarize yourself with the computer and testing structure. The CDR exam has between 125 and 145 questions. Once you answer a question and move onto the next question, you cannot go back and change your answer.

Upon completion of the exam, you can view your score instantly. You must receive a minimum score of 25 (on a scale of 0 to 50) to pass the exam.

If you fail the exam, you can retake the exam after 45 days, provided you receive authorization from CDR to retake the exam. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the CDR exam, provided you wait 45 days between exams and pay the application fee.

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Step 4

Apply for a State Licensure in North Carolina

Once you have passed the CDR exam, you are now eligible to become a registered and licensed dietitian in North Carolina. To apply for state licensure with the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition (NCBDN), you must:

  • Register and apply online at the NCBDN website (make sure you choose Category A: Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist (LDN) Application)
  • Pay the fees ($50 application fee and $125 issuance fee for a total of $175)
  • Supply the necessary documentation as requested on the application
  • Once you have submitted your application, you will be instructed to complete a Criminal Background Check. Fees and procedures for this new requirement, which was signed into law on June 25, 2018, will be explained online.

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Step 5

Maintain your CDR Registration in North Carolina

Congratulations! You are now a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in North Carolina! RDN licenses in North Carolina renew every year on March 31. You will receive a reminder email from NCBDN 60 days prior to your license’s expiration. You must pay a renewal fee of $75. While the state has no continuing education requirements for its RDNs, in order to qualify for license renewal, you must maintain your CDR registration, which requires the completion of at least 75 continuing education hours every 5 years. All continuing education hours must meet the standards found within the CDR’s Professional Development Portfolio Guide. Examples of acceptable CPE activities may be found in the CDR’s online CPE database.

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