State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

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The Rhode Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (RIAND) is an affiliate of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a professional organization for licensed dietitians in the state. As of 2019, they say there are more than 400 licensed dietitians working in Rhode Island’s doctor’s offices, gymnasiums, private practice, grocery stores, hospitals, schools, long-term-care facilities, and more.

Dietitians/nutritionists in Rhode Island must be licensed to practice in the state. You must complete the following steps to become licensed in Rhode Island through the Rhode Island Board of Dietetics Practice: registered dietitian-nutritionist (and use the term RDN).

 
Step 1

Dietitian Education Program in Rhode Island

To become licensed as a dietitian in Rhode Island, you must complete a course of study that culminates in a bachelor’s or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The following ACEND-approved programs are located in Rhode Island:

ACEND-Accredited Programs Leading to a Registered Dietitian (RD) License in Rhode Island:

There are two accredited Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) in Rhode Island. These programs feature coursework only and must be followed by a dietetic internship (DI).

If you want to become licensed to practice as a nutritionist in Rhode Island, it is important to understand that Rhode Island considers the terms “dietitian” and “nutritionist” interchangeable, and many professionals in Rhode Island use the letters LDN (licensed dietitian nutritionist). Therefore, to become licensed as a nutritionist in Rhode Island, you must follow the same set of guidelines as a dietitian.

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship in Rhode Island

An ACEND-accredited dietetic internship is required upon completion of your educational program in Rhode Island. Rhode Island requires at least 900 hours of supervised practice within a DI program, which meets the standards of the ACEND-accredited programs, which feature at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice. You must apply for these competitive internship positions.
Rhode Island’s only DI program is located at the University of Rhode Island, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, in Kingston. This full-time, two-year degree program culminates in a Master of Science in Nutrition and emphasizes community and population health.  Facilities throughout Southern New England are utilized for rotations during the DI. Specializations in the DI include:

  • Metabolic regulation, energy balance, lipid metabolism
  • Macronutrient metabolism and energy
  • Diet and exercise
  • Nutrition issues related to weight management and aging
  • Changing dietary behavior in order to reduce chronic disease risk
  • Health behavior and nutritional status of high risk population groups

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Step 3

Dietetic Registration (CDR) Examination

Upon completion of your DI program, you will be eligible to sit for the CDR examination. Your program administrator will contact CDR on your behalf or provide you with the information to do so yourself. You can expect to receive an email asking you to register to take the exam and pay the $200 examination fee. You must register and take the exam within one year of completing your DI program.
You can then expect to receive another email from Pearson VUE Exams, the company that runs the more than 250 test centers across the country. You will need to register the date, time, and location of your CDR exam. Although there are no test centers in Rhode Island, you may take the exam at one of the following neighboring locations:

  • Connecticut:
    •  Wallingford – 35 Thorpe Avenue, Suite 105
    • Wethersfield – 100 Great Meadow Road, Suite 404, Putnam Park
    • Norwalk – 20 Glover Ave, Ground Level, 2nd Door, Merritt on the River
  • Massachusetts:
    • Boston:             31 St. James Avenue, Suite 725, Park Square
    • Boston:             295 Devonshire Street, 2nd Floor
    • Cambridge:       186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 202
    • Lexington:        24 Hartwell Ave, Building A, First Floor
    • Springfield:       1414 Main St, Suite 1110, One Monarch Place
    • Wellesley:         20 William Street, Suite 201
    • Worcester:       255 Park Ave, Suite 300-3rd Floor

You can prepare to take the exam by reading the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates..
On the day of exam, you must bring a government-issued photo ID with you, along with a confirmation email from Pearson VUE Exams. You will be provided with a simple calculator to complete the examination; you may not bring your own calculator.
The CDR Exam consists of about 125 questions (25 of which are pretest questions that are not scored) and is divided up into the following areas:

  • Principles of Dietetics: 25 percent
    • Research applications
    • Education/technology/communication
    • Nutrition and supporting sciences
    • Food science and nutrient composition
  • Food service systems: 14 percent
    • Equipment and facility planning
    • Sanitation and safety
    • Distribution, procurement, service and production
    • Menu development
  • Management of food and nutrition programs and services: 21 percent
    • Marketing and public relations
    • Financial management
    • Quality management and improvement
    • Functions of management
    • Human resources
  • Nutrition care for individuals and groups: 40 percent
    • Diagnosis
    • Screening
    • Assessment
    • Planning
    • Intervention
    • Monitoring
    • Evaluation

You will have 2 ½ hours to complete the examination. Once you answer a question and move onto the next question, you are not able to go back and change your answer.
Upon completing the exam, you can immediately view your score by checking your online account.
If you fail the exam, you can retest after 45 days. You must reauthorize to test again by email at cdrexams@eatright.org, or by telephone at (312) 899-4859.  There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the exam, provided you register and pay the fee each time and wait 45 days between exams.

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Step 4

Licensure as a RD/Nutritionist in Rhode Island

Upon successfully completing the CDR exam, you can apply for state licensure by completing and notarizing the Rhode Island Board of Dietetics Practice Application for License as a Dietitian/Nutritionist and providing the following:

  • Evidence of successfully completing the CDR exam (must be mailed directly from the CDR)
  • Official transcripts showing the completion of a bachelor’s or graduate degree (must be sent directly from the college or university)
  • An application fee of $75 (check or money order payable to RI General Treasurer)
  • Original Bureau of Criminal Investigation check (background check) from the RI Attorney General’s Office

Mail the signed and notarized application, application fee and supporting documents to:
Rhode Island
Board of Dietetics Practice
Room 105
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097

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Step 5

Maintain RD Designation and Licensure

State Licensure Renewal

You must renew your Rhode Island dietitian/nutritionist state license every two years (November 1 of every even or odd year, depending on the year you received your initial license). Upon renewal of your license, you must provide documentation of the completion of at least 20 continuing education credits approved by the CDR.

RD Renewal

You must renew your registered dietitian (RD) credential every five years with the CDR and provide proof of the completion of at least 75 continuing education credits. The CDR requires that you track your continuing education through a Professional Development Portfolio (PDP). This PDP Guide  will help you to choose continuing professional education that is necessary to keep your registration current. CDR’s online CPE database can help you to find approved CPE activities in Rhode Island.

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