International professionals who have completed their education and training outside of the United States (U.S.), or received credentials in another country, may be eligible to become credentialed registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) in the U.S. Use the checklist below as a guide for the process for obtaining RDN credentials.
NOTE: January 1, 2024 Master's Degree Requirement to Become an RDN
Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become an RDN. In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. In most states in the U.S., graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. International students entering an ACEND®-accredited nutrition and dietetics program must be clearly informed of this impending graduate degree requirement before starting the dietetics program. Read more about educational pathways to become a RDN.
International Student Checklist
The below checklist has been created to help guide students with foreign degrees in becoming a RDN or nutrition and dietetic technician registered (NDTR).
Your foreign degree transcripts must be evaluated by one of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)'s approved foreign degree evaluation agencies.*
- The list of agencies can be found on our website. Please contact an agency to inquire about current information and cost for evaluating transcripts.
- A detailed course by course evaluation will be most useful for the Program Director at an ACEND®-accredited program.
CDR requires that a foreign degree be equivalent to a degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college or university. Access CDR's requirements to become an RDN or NDTR.
* Please note that some universities only accept transcript evaluations from specific foreign degree evaluation agencies. If you do not have the flexibility to relocate to attend any program in the United States, start with Steps 2 and 3 to determine what programs are in your area and contact them to inquire about the foreign degree evaluation agencies that are accepted by the institution.
Once you have received the results determining that your degree is of US equivalency you will then need to identify an ACEND®-accredited program to which you can apply. Note: Do not send the transcript evaluation to ACEND®.
- ACEND® offers programs at the bachelor's and master's degree level to become an RDN and programs at the associate and bachelor's degree level to become an NDTR. Please note effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the organization that administers nutrition and dietetics professional credentialing exams, will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become an RDN.
- If you would like to become an RDN, the types of programs to consider are:
- the Coordinated Program (CP),
- Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and Dietetic Internship (DI) (these are two separate programs and require separate applications and acceptance), or
- the Future Education Model Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (GP).
- If you like to become a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered the type of programs to consider are:
- the DPD program or
- the Dietetic Technician (DT) Program.
- For more detailed information on the accredited programs.
Once you have identified an ACEND-accredited program that you wish to apply to, use the information on the ACEND® website (via the link provided above) to contact the program director of that program and inform them that you are a prospective student with a foreign degree.
- In that correspondence, provide the program director with the Foreign Degree Evaluation report and explain that you wish to apply as a post-graduate student.
- The program director will evaluate the Foreign Degree Evaluation report to determine whether it can be accepted, and if so, what additional courses will be needed to satisfy the program's requirements. The program director can also provide you with information regarding admission deadlines, tuition, financial aid, and scholarship information.
- Please note that some programs do not allow prior learning (that is, a previous degree or courses taken at other institutions) to be applied to their program requirements. In this case, you may be required to complete the entire program in order to become eligible to sit for the credentialing exam.
After the completion of the qualifying program(s) and upon receiving a verification statement, you will then become eligible to take the CDR exam to become credentialed as an RDN or NDTR.
- Graduates of CP, DI and GP programs are eligible to take the RDN credentialing exam. Once you successfully pass this exam, you will have an RDN credential. Note that some states also require a license to practice in that state.
- Graduates of DPD and DT programs are eligible to take the NDTR exam. Once you successfully pass this exam, you will have an NDTR credential.
In This Section
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.