Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian in Wisconsin


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

  1. Complete a Registered Dietitian Program in Wisconsin
  2. Apply for and Complete a Dietetic Internship in Wisconsin
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Exam
  4. Apply for State Certification as a Registered Dietitian in Wisconsin
  5. Maintain Your Wisconsin License and Achieve Professional Cert.

Job Info in Wisconsin

The Commission on Dietetic Registration reports that as of April 2022, there were 2,353 Registered Dietitians (RDs) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in Wisconsin. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nutritionists and dietitians earned an average salary of $61,870 in Wisconsin. Early career professionals earned about $56,240, while seasoned professionals earned about $78,940 during this time.

Dietitians and nutritionists in the Appleton and Green Bay metro areas earned average salaries of $60,180 and $60,830 during this time.*

The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Dietitians Affiliated Credentialing Board mandates education, experience, and exam requirements that you must complete prior to receiving a license to practice dietetics in the state. Under Wisconsin statute, dietetics encompasses “the integration and application of principles of nutritional science, biochemistry, food science, physiology, food systems management, behavioral science and social science in order to achieve or maintain the health of an individual or group of individuals.”

Dietitians in Wisconsin may work in a variety of settings, including long term care facilities, senior centers, health centers and hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, community health centers and more.

In order to discover how you can become a licensed, registered dietitian in the state of Wisconsin, keep reading.

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

In order to quality to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam to become a registered dietitian, you must complete a dietitian education program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

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. In Wisconsin, CPs include:

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 CDR Registration Examination for dietitians. In Wisconsin, DPDs include:

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 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

Provided you have successfully completed Steps 1 and 2, you are now eligible to write the CDR examination, a national test required for licensure in Wisconsin. Upon graduating from your DI program, 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. Register to take the exam and pay the $200 exam fee, via credit card.

You should then receive a confirmation email from Pearson VUE 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:

  • Ashwaubenon (Green Bay)
  • Madison
  • Brookfield (Milwaukee)
  • Milwaukee
  • Kenosha

Before taking the exam, you may prepare by reviewing the Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide and the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.
On the day of your CDR Registration exam, you must bring your confirmation email from Pearson VUE Exams, along with a government-issued identification.

The CDR Registration examination includes 125 questions, 100 of which are test questions and 25 of which are pretest questions.  Topics include principles of dietetics, nutrition care for individuals and groups, management of food and nutrition programs and services, and foodservice systems.

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.

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 by email at [email protected], or by telephone at (312) 899-4859 and pay the examination fee.


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Step 4

State Certification as an RD in Wisconsin

Once you have successfully completed the CDR Registration examination, you can apply for state certification as a registered dietitian in Wisconsin by completing and submitting the Application for Certification to Practice as a Dietitian. In addition to your completed application, submit to the Board:

Sign the application 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
Madison, WI 53708-8935

You may qualify for a reduced application fee if you are at or below 180% of the federal poverty guideline. See this page for more information.

If you have been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or other law violation, you may submit an Application for Predetermination to see if your conviction record disqualifies you from credentialing in Wisconsin.

To answer any remaining questions about the application process, email [email protected] or call (608) 266-2112.

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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. A renewal notice will be mailed to you about six weeks before your renewal date.

Your CDR registration comes up for renewal every five years. You must complete 75 approved CPE units (continuing professional education) during each five-year period. It is now possible to find approved professional development activities through the CDR’s Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Database.

You may also learn more about continuing education events and courses in Wisconsin by visiting the website of the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND). They will offer courses that will satisfy the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)’s 75 hour every five-years requirement.

View how to become a nutritionist in Wisconsin 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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