FAQs About Types of ACEND Accredited Programs
What is a Didactic Program in Dietetics?
A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) refers to an academic program designed to meet the knowledge requirements for dietetics practice. It must be located in a College or university recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and requires completion of a degree. The DPD may be designed at the baccalaureate or advanced degree level. Courses for the DPD must be part of the university requirements for whichever degree will be granted. Completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics enables the individual to apply to a supervised practice program leading to eligibility for the registration examination for dietitians.
How Does a Dietetic Internship Differ from a Coordinated Program?
The Dietetic Internship (DI) is a postbaccalaureate program that provides only the required competencies (supervised practice) and admits students who have already completed an ACEND-accredited DPD and at least a baccalaureate degree. The Coordinated Program (CP) includes both the required knowledge (academic courses similar to a DPD) and competencies (supervised practice) in one degree granting program. Dietetic Internship programs combined with graduate coursework are NOT CPs as defined by ACEND®.
Can a Coordinated Program be developed at the Graduate Degree Level?
Yes. A Coordinated Program must include both the didactic instruction planned to meet the knowledge requirements and the supervised practice planned to meet the competencies. These courses may be designed at the baccalaureate or graduate degree level. However, courses for the CP at the graduate level must be part of the university's graduate degree requirements and completion of the graduate degree is required.
Can a Dietetic Technician Program be planned so the courses transfer into a Didactic Programs in Dietetics or a Coordinated Program?
Yes. Dietetic Technician (DT) Programs are encouraged to develop articulation agreements with DPDs or CPs so that courses in the dietetic technician curriculum will transfer for credit if dietetic technician graduates decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in dietetics. These decisions and agreements are made at the college or university level.
What are ACEND's standards for non-U.S. Based programs?
Non-U.S. Based programs applying for ACEND® accreditation status have two options:
- Programs wishing to prepare graduates to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration's credentialing exam to receive the registered dietitian nutritionist credential must apply for accreditation using ACEND's 2022 Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Programs (CP). For this option, the program director must be credentialed as a RDN by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CP Standard 1, Required Element 1.5c2).
The Coordinated Program Accreditation Standards are designed to provide graduates with the knowledge and competencies to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration's credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists upon successful completion of the program and receive the RD credential. CP standards require students to be educated to work within the United States health system. Students in an international program accredited under the CP standards have to meet the same competency and supervised practice requirements as US students. In response to the CDR's decision effective June 1, 2020, international CP (ICP) programs will be able to provide all of the 1,000 required supervised practice hours in the program's home country.
- Programs that wish to meet the needs of the host country and graduates would not be eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration's exam to become RDN must apply for accreditation using the 2022 Accreditation Standards for Foreign Dietitian Education (FDE) Programs. A Program director credentialed as a RDN by CDR is not a requirement of the FDE Standards per Standard 1, Required Element 1.5c2.
ACEND's FDE standards are tailored to meet the needs of the host country under the assumption that graduates do not intend to practice in the United States. All 700 hours of supervised practice are completed in the host country. FDE graduates are eligible to apply to an ACEND accredited dietetic internship to complete supervised practice in the US in order to be eligible to write CDR's credentialing exam for registration.
Can a student from a foreign dietitian education program apply to a Dietetic Internship program?
Yes. FDE graduates are eligible to apply to an ACEND accredited dietetic internship to complete supervised practice in the US in order to be eligible to write CDR's credentialing exam for registration.
What is a Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (GP)?
A Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (GP) program refers to an academic program designed to meet the required competencies (through academic coursework and supervised experiential learning activities) for dietetics practice in one degree-granting program. The program must be offered by a college or university recognized by the USDE, either as a stand-alone program or in partnership with a hospital or other non-academic institution. In addition, the GP program courses must be part of the university's degree requirements and designed to culminate in a graduate degree (master's or doctorate). Completion of an GP program enables the individual to sit for the credentialing examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Can a Future Education Model Graduate Program in Dietetics (GP) accept courses from other programs outside of accredited nutrition and dietetics programs?
Yes. Graduate Programs in Dietetics (GPs) can create policies about accepting courses from programs outside of accredited nutrition and dietetics programs. Programs may also develop articulation agreements with these types of programs to assist students in transferring credits as their professional goals grow and change. For example, FEM programs are encouraged to develop articulation agreements with related science and health programs such as chemistry, biology, culinary, health science, and community health worker so that courses in the curriculum will transfer for credit to the FEM program. These decisions and agreements are made at the college or university level.
How can I obtain more information about accreditation of programs?
ACEND® staff respond to inquiries and provide assistance to organizations before, during and after the evaluation process. To reach ACEND® staff, call 800/877-1600 ext. 5400 or e-mail ACEND.
Find an ACEND-Accredited Program
ACEND has more than 600 accredited programs across the United States and select countries internationally, with in-person and online options. Use the search filters to find the program that fits your needs.