Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian in South Carolina

South Carolina

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

  1. Complete a Registered Dietitian Education in South Carolina
  2. Apply to a Dietetic Internship in South Carolina
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam
  4. Apply for State Licensure as a Registered Dietitian in SC
  5. Maintain your License and Registration as a Dietitian in SC

Nutrition Careers in South Carolina

The Commission on Dietetic Registration reports that as of April 2022, there were 1,363 Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in South Carolina. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for nutritionists and dietitians in the state was $54,820 as of May 2021. Early career professionals earned about $42,580, while those with extensive experience earned ab out $77,560.

The Columbia metro area reported a similar average salary of $55,510, while the Charleston metro area came out way ahead in terms of average salary, at $60,640.*

The South Carolina Panel for Dietetics, which is part of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR), defines a registered dietitian (RD) as an expert in food and nutrition who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the RD credential.

To practice as an RD in South Carolina, you must be licensed in the State of South Carolina, which involves completing the following steps:


Step 1

RD Educational Program in South Carolina

According to South Carolina law, you must first earn a bachelor or graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in human nutrition, nutrition education, foods and nutrition, public health nutrition, or an equivalent course of study. The program you attend must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) in order to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam, a prerequisite for obtaining the RD designation.

The following programs in South Carolina are ACEND-accredited:

If you want to become a certified and registered nutritionist in South Carolina, you must earn the Certified Nutritionist Specialist (CNS) designation through the Certification Board for Nutritional Specialists (CBNS), as South Carolina does not license nutritionists. You must meet the following requirements to be eligible to sit for the CNS exam and become a certified nutrition specialist:
Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the following nutrition-related fields:

  • Community nutrition
  • Public health nutrition
  • Human nutrition
  • Dietetics
  • Food and nutrition
  • Nutritional sciences

Within your program, you must complete the following coursework requirements:

  • 9 credit hours in nutrition-related courses
  • 12 credit hours in life or clinical sciences
  • 3 credit hours in anatomy/physiology
  • 6 credit hours in biochemistry
  • Complete at least 1,000 hours of documented, supervised practice in nutrition

The CNS credential requires recertification every 5 years. To recertify as a CNS, you must complete at least 75 continuing education credits in nutrition.

The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.

Featured Nutritionist Programs

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship in South Carolina

After completing the ACEND-accredited education program and achieving a bachelor’s or graduate degree, you must apply to and complete a dietetic internship (DI) approved by ACEND. All ACEND-approved DIs include at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice over a course of 8 to 24 months, depending on whether the program is part-time or full-time.
The following ACEND-approved DI programs are located in South Carolina:

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Step 3

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam

Following the successful completion of your DI program, you will be eligible to sit for the CDR examination, a computer-based examination that includes the following topics:

  • Principles of Dietetics
  • Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups
  • Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services
  • Food Service Systems

Your DI program administrator will inform CDR of your eligibility to sit for the CDR exam, and you can expect to receive an email instructing you to register to take the exam and pay the $200 examination fee, both of which are done online.

Upon receipt of your registration and payment, Pearson VUE Exams will contact you to schedule the date, time, and location of your exam at one of their 250 locations nationwide. Within South Carolina, you may test at one of the following Pearson VUE Testing Center locations:

  • Columbia
  • Charleston
  • Greenville
  • North Charleston

You can prepare for the CDR examination by reading the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
On the day of your exam, you must bring the Pearson VUE confirmation email and your government-issued photo identification with you.

The CDR exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice examination that includes about 125 questions, 25 of which are non-scored, pretest questions. You will be given 30 minutes to familiarize yourself with the computer and test structure and then 2 ½ hours to complete the examination.

You can view your score immediately upon finishing the exam, as it is located in the “report” section of your online account. You must score at least 25 (on a scale of 0 to 50) to pass the exam.
If you fail the exam, you may take it again, but must reauthorize to test again by email at [email protected], or by telephone at (312) 899-4859. You may retest after 45 days, provided you pay the examination fee and re-register with CDR.

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Step 4

Licensure as an RD in South Carolina

After passing the CDR exam, you are eligible to apply for state licensure as an RD in South Carolina. In addition to a completed Application for Licensure (which you may also opt to apply for online), you must provide the Panel with:

  • A non-refundable application fee of $175 (check made payable to LLR-Panel for Dietetics)
  • A copy of your signed CDR card (or other proof of registration)
  • A recent, full-faced, 2”x2” passport-style photo
  • An official school transcript

Mail the completed application and related documents to:
SC Panel for Dietetics
PO Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211

You can check the status of your licensure application online at any time at

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Step 5

Maintain License and Reg. in South Carolina

State Licensure Renewal Requirements

You must renew your South Carolina RD license online every two years (May 31 of odd-numbered years) and pay a biennial renewal fee of $100. There are no continuing education requirements in South Carolina, although you must maintain your current registration with the Commission on Dietetic Registration to qualify for renewal.

CDR Renewal Requirements

To maintain your RD credential, you must recertify with CDR every five years and provide documentation of at least 75 hours of continuing education.

View how to become a nutritionist in South Carolina here.

*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.

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