The Basics for Students

What Is a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

A Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD" or "RDN." The majority of RDs or RDNs work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, often part of medical teams), in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of RDs work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of RDs or RDNs work in the food and nutrition industry, in business, journalism, sports nutrition, and corporate wellness programs.

What is a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered?

An NDTR is a food and nutrition practitioner who has completed at least a two-year associate's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college, required course work and at least 450 hours of supervised practice accredited by CADE or at least a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and required coursework for a Didactic Program (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP). In addition, you must pass a national NDTR examination administered by CDR and complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. The majority of NDTRs work with RDs in a variety of employment settings including health care (assisting RDs or RDNs in providing medical nutrition therapy), in hospitals, HMOs, clinics or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of NDTRs work in community and public health settings such as school or day care centers, correctional facilities, weight management clinics and WIC programs as nutrition counselors.

ACEND: What Is It and Why Is It Important to Students?

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the accrediting agency for educational programs to become a Registered Dietitian (RD), Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR). Accreditation is necessary because dietetics is a unique profession of such complexity and benefit to the health of the population that it requires a defined educational process based on national standards. ACEND is responsible for setting the national standards for what dietetics students are taught, and for evaluating, recognizing and publishing a list of education programs that meet these standards.

CDR: What Is It and Why Is It Important to Students?

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The purpose of the Commission is to serve the public by establishing and enforcing standards for certification and by issuing credentials to individuals who meet these standards. The CDR has sole and independent authority in all matters pertaining to certification including, but not limited to, standard setting, establishment of fees, finances and administration. CDR offers certification as nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTR), registered dietitians (RD), registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) board certified specialists in pediatric nutrition (CSP), board certified specialists in renal nutrition (CSR), board certified specialists in gerontological nutrition (CSG) and board certified specialists in sports dietetics (CSSD).