FAQs about Verification Statements
What Is the Purpose of the Verification Statement?
The signed verification statement documents that an individual has completed the requirements of a nutrition and dietetics education program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Depending on the verification statement received following program completion, it allows an individual:
- To establish eligibility for a Dietetic Internship program: The completion of ACEND® Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) requirements or ACEND accredited Foreign Dietitian Education (FDE) program and at least a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent permit an individual to apply to an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship program. When the director of a DPD or FDE signs a verification statement, she/he also is verifying that the individual has completed at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. regionally-accredited college/university or foreign equivalent.
- To establish eligibility to write the registration examination for dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetics technicians: In order for an individual to write the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam, a verification statement is required that indicates program completion. Successful graduates of a Coordinated Program (CP), Dietetic Internship (DI), Graduate Program (GP), Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP), or International Coordinated Program (ICP) program may write the RDN credentialing exam. Successful graduates of a Nutrition and Dietetics Technician Program NDT are eligible to write the NDT credentialing exam. There is currently no credentialing exam established for the Associate Program (AP) graduates; however, they will receive a verification statement to show evidence that the program was completed if a credentialing exam is offered in the future. Graduates of Foreign Dietitian Education Programs (FDE) receive a verification statement to indicate completion of academic or supervised practice requirements for eligibility to write the registration or credentialing examination in their home country or to apply to an ACEND accredited dietetic internship.
- To establish eligibility for membership in The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (The Academy): A verification statement is required when applying for Active membership in The Academy.
Who Completes and Signs a Verification Statement?
This form is to be completed, signed and supplied by the program director on record with ACEND when the form is signed. The form must be signed on or following the date of program completion. Program completion date is the date of degree conferral found on the student's transcript. Verification Statements that are dated or issued prior to program completion are invalid. Statements that are pre-dated or pre-issued are invalid. Program completion date and signature date must include month, day and year. Statements must be hand-signed in an ink color other than black or signed with a digital signature that can be authenticated and does not expire. As program director, you may wish to affix your institutional seal on this form. As more verification statements are signed digitally, program directors should verify that the signature is authenticated, the signature does not expire, and the document is locked after signing. Below is an example of a locked document after an authenticated digital signature.
You can also find useful links to instructions on how to create a digital signature in Adobe Acrobat, how to establish long-term signature validation so the digital signature does not expire, and how to lock a word or pdf document below.
- Adobe: Digital IDs FAQs
- How to set up a Digital Signature in Adobe Reader DC
- Digitally Signing a Document in Adobe Reader DC for Free
- How to Make a Word Document Read Only
- How to Lock a PDF Document
- Validating Digital Signatures: Establish Long-Term Signature Validation
How should Verification Statements be retained and distributed?
Upon completion of all program requirements, including the degree for a degree-based program, verification statements should be issued to graduates and retained and transmitted by the program according to the following guidelines.
- Verification statements must be, signed in an ink color other than black, or with a digital signature that can be authenticated.
- As soon as possible after program completion, program graduates who successfully complete program requirements should be issued six paper copies or provided a copy via email with an authenticated digital signature, which is the most secure method, or a hand-signed copy scanned in color. Black and white photocopies are unacceptable.
- Programs must retain one (1) original paper copy or an electronic copy (original scanned in color or digitally signed) indefinitely in the student/graduate file at the university or organization.
- DI and other program directors may accept a verification statement electronically, as long as it is signed with a digital signature that can be authenticated or a hand-signed copy that is scanned in color.
Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
Verification statements must be issued when the student has completed DPD requirements and the registrar has cleared the student for graduation. For students completing a bachelor’s level DPD the verification statement must be issued after completion of the bachelor's degree. Students completing a graduate level DPD must receive the verification statement after completion of the graduate degree, which indicates that all degree requirements also have been completed.
For students who have previously completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree at a US regionally-accredited college/university or foreign equivalent, a verification statement can be given upon completion of DPD requirements.
For a DPD offering an ISPP, a verification statement must be given after the student has completed ISPP requirements. "DPD with an Individualized Supervised Practice (ISPP)" must be checked on the verification statement.
The verification statement is given when all program requirements (supervised practice and graduate degree, if required) have been completed and all competencies have been met.
Verification statements must be issued when the student has completed the CP requirements (didactic and supervised practice) and the registrar has cleared the student for graduation, which indicates that all degree requirements have also been completed. For students completing a bachelor's level CP the verification statement must be issued after completion of the bachelor's degree. Students completing a graduate level CP must receive the verification statement after completion of the graduate degree, which indicates that all degree requirements also have been completed.
For students who have previously completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree at a US regionally-accredited college/university or foreign equivalent, a verification statement can be given upon completion of CP requirements (didactic and supervised practice).
GP Programs — Master's or Doctoral Degree Level
For students earning their master's or doctoral degree in an FG Program, verification statements must be issued when the student has completed the FG Program requirements (didactic and experiential learning) and the registrar has cleared the student for graduation, which indicates that all graduate degree requirements have also been completed.
For students earning their associate degree, verification statements must be issued when the student has completed the DT Program requirements (didactic and supervised practice) and the registrar has cleared the student for graduation, which indicates that all degree requirements have also been completed.
For students who have previously completed an associate or higher degree at a US regionally accredited college/university or foreign equivalent, a verification statement can be given upon completion of the DT Program requirements (didactic and supervised practice).
For students earning their associate degree, verification statements should be issued when the student has completed the AP Program requirements (didactic and experiential learning) and the registrar has cleared the student for graduation, which indicates that all degree requirements have also been completed.
Are There Additional Steps for Issuing Verification Statements to Individuals Who Have Been Educated Outside the United States and Its Territories?
Yes. Individuals who have earned college and/or university degrees outside the United States and its territories must have their transcripts evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation service to determine if their degree is equivalent to a degree granted by a regionally accredited college or university in the United States (refer to Foreign Degree Evaluation Agencies that perform this service).
In addition to providing evidence that the individual has attained at least the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree, the foreign transcript evaluation may provide information for the program director concerning courses that may fulfill program requirements. Validation of a foreign degree does not eliminate the need for verification of completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, Dietetic Internship, Coordinated Program, Graduate Programs or Nutrition and Dietetics Technician Program requirements.
ACEND® offers a webinar and accompanying slides to provide program directors with information and directions about how to work with international students who wish to apply to your program. These students maybe be from ACEND®-accredited FDE and IDE programs or from non-accredited international programs.
Who Determines the Requirements for Program Completion?
Program directors are responsible for evaluating transcripts or prior experience and determining coursework and/or supervised experiences/experiential learning experiences that students must complete to fulfill current curriculum requirements for their program. Because coursework and/or supervised practice experiences/experiential learning experiences needed to complete program requirements may vary from program to program, students must complete the current requirements of the program from which they will receive the verification statement.
Note that CDR uses the highest degree earned to establish eligibility to write the credentialing exam. If an individual does not have evidence of completing a bachelor's degree but provides transcripts showing completion of a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, CDR would accept this to meet degree completion requirements. However, if the program or institution has its own policies that require verification of completion of a bachelor's degree prior to issuing a verification statement then the program would need to abide by those policies.
Can Verification Statements be Pre-Dated?
No. Verification statements that are signed and dated prior to program completion will be considered invalid. The date on which the verification statement is signed must correspond to, or follow, the date all program requirements were completed.
How Can Fraudulent Use of Verification Statements Be Prevented?
To prevent the fraudulent use of the verification statements, please pay careful attention to the following:
- Retain all verification statements in a secure, locked location.
- Sign all verification statements in an ink color other than black or use an authenticated electronic digital signature.
- Use an institutional stamp or school seal, when available.
- Do not provide blank verification statements to students.
- Do not post blank verification statements on a website or in a student handbook.
Is There an Expiration Date for Verification Statements and How Long Must They Be Kept on File?
Verification statements do not expire; however, individual programs, such as Dietetic Internships or Future Graduate Programs may have different admission requirements related to recency of education for particular courses.
Verification statements must be kept indefinitely either as a hard copy and/or an electronic copy. If the verification statement is scanned, it must be scanned as a color copy.
Source: ACEND April 2020
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