State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Job Info in Wisconsin

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for dietitians and nutritionists, as of May 2012, was $55,240, with the top 10 percent earning a median salary of $77,590. The annual mean salary for dietitians and nutritionists in Wisconsin during the same time was $51,860 to $57,870, with Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ranking fifth for its employment level of nutritionists and dietitians among metropolitan areas in the United States. The annual mean wage for nutritionists and dietitians for this metropolitan area was $55,640 in May 2010.

If you want to become a registered dietitian in Wisconsin, you must complete a number of requirements:

Step 1

Registered Dietitian Program in Wisconsin

If you are seeking licensure as a registered dietitian in Wisconsin, you must complete a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited college or university in one of the following areas:

  • Human nutrition
  • Nutrition education
  • Food and nutrition
  • Dietetics
  • Food systems management

ACEND-Accredited Programs Leading to a Registered Dietitian in Wisconsin:

There are two types of programs through you may achieve education in Wisconsin to become a registered dietitian:
Coordinated Programs in Dietetics

A coordinated program in dietetics provide both the required dietetics coursework, along with at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice within an academic program that leads to either a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Individuals who complete a coordinated program in dietetics are eligible to take the CDR registration examination for dietitians.

Didactic Programs in Dietetics

Didactic programs in dietetics provide the coursework required to achieve a bachelor’s or graduate degree in dietetics. Upon the successful completion of a didactic program in dietetics, you may apply for a dietetic internship as to become eligible to take the CRD Registration examination for dietitians.

If you want to work toward becoming a certified and licensed nutritionist in Wisconsin, you must pursue a Certified Nutritionist Specialist (CNS) certification through the Certification Board for Nutritional Specialists (CBNS) by completing the following:

  • Earn a Master’s of Science or Doctoral degree from an accredited college or university in nutrition or a Doctoral degree in a clinical healthcare field
  • Complete the following coursework:
    • Biochemistry (6 semester credit hours)
    • Clinical or life sciences (12 semester credit hours)
    • Nutrition (9 semester credit hours)
    • Physiology or anatomy/physiology (3 semester credit hours)
  • Complete at least 1,000 hours of documented supervised practice experience in nutrition
  • Successfully complete the CBNS Certifying Examination
  • Re-certify every 5 years, which includes documenting 75 continuing nutrition education credits

*Featured Master's Nutritionist Program:

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. GRE Required.

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. This program does not prepare you to be a registered dietician. However, there are currently registered dieticians in this program for professional development and career advancement.

Benedictine University's Online Master’s Degrees in Nutrition and Wellness programs offer an advanced education in nutrition science with a focus on promoting health and wellness.

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Step 2

Dietetic Internship in Wisconsin

After completing a didactic program in Wisconsin, including all ACEND-accredited coursework requirements, you must apply to a dietetic internship (DI) that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). All ACEND-accredited dietitian programs provide at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice that is completed in 8 to 24 months, depending on whether the program is part-time or full-time. ACEND-accredited DI programs in Wisconsin include:

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Step 3

Pass the (CDR) Exam in Wisconsin

  1. Provided you have successfully completed Steps 1 and 2, you are eligible to write for the CDR examination, a national test required for licensure in Wisconsin. Upon graduating from your DI program, ACT, the company contracted to provide the CDR test nationwide, will send you an email, requesting your registration for the CDR registration examination. You must register and take the exam within one year of graduating from your DI program.
  2. Register to take the exam and pay the $200 exam fee, via credit card.
  3. Upon receiving a confirmation email from PSI Exams (the company where you will test), you will be required to schedule the date, time and location of your CDR Registration exam. There are more than 250 testing sites located throughout the country, most of which are open Monday through Friday throughout the year. Within Wisconsin, you may test in either Madison or Oshkosh.
  4. Before taking the exam, you may prepare by reviewing the Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
  5. On the day of your CDR Registration exam, you must bring your confirmation email from PSI Exams, along with a government-issued identification.
  6. The CDR Registration examination includes 125 questions, 100 of which are test questions and 25 of which are pretest questions.  As of January 2012, the outline for this computer-based, multiple-choice exam consists of the following:
    1. Food and nutrition sciences, 12 percent
    2. Nutrition care for individuals and groups, 50 percent
    3. Management of food and nutrition programs and services, 21 percent
    4. Foodservice systems, 17 percent
  7. You must complete the exam in 2 ½ hours, with another 30 minutes for the completion of an introductory tutorial. You will be provided with a simple calculator during the exam. You are not permitted to use your own calculator.
  8. You will be notified, upon leaving the center, of your score report. If you do not pass the test, you may retest in 45 days, provided you contact the Commission on Dietetic Registration (1800-877-1600 ext. 5500), become reauthorized as examination-eligible, and pay the examination fee.

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Step 4

State Certification as an RD in Wisconsin

Upon successfully completing the CRD Registration examination, you can apply for state certification as a registered dietitian in Wisconsin by completing and submitting the Application for Dietitian Certification.

Upon completion of the application, sign it and send it, along with the $75 examination fee (made payable to the Department of Safety and Professional Services), to:

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
P.O. Box 8935
1400 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53708-8935

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Step 5

Maintain Your Wisconsin License and Certs.

All certified dietitians in Wisconsin must renew their licenses on October 31st of every even year. The renewal fee is $75 and all renewals can be completed online. You may also request a paper renewal form by calling 1-888-506-4239. A renewal notice will be mailed to you about 6 weeks before your renewal date.

You may learn more about continuing education events and courses by contacting the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by email at or at 920-560-5619.

You may also choose to pursue professional certification as a Registered Dietitian (RD) through the Commission for Dietetic Research’s credentialing program. Other specialty certifications through the CDR include: Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), Board Certified Specialist in Rental Nutrition (CSR), Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP), Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO), and Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG).

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