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FAQs for Individuals with Foreign Degrees


The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) requires individuals with foreign degrees (those that have been educated outside the United States and its territories) meet specific educational requirements and follow a unique process to obtain Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Registered Dietitian (RD) or Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR) or Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) credentials. A limited number of countries have reciprocity agreements with CDR.

Reciprocity means that individuals who have completed the education and credentialing requirements in one country may be eligible for another country’s credentialing examination if the two countries have entered into an agreement to allow this.

CDR currently has registration eligibility reciprocity agreements with the following foreign dietetic associations/regulatory boards: Dietitians of Canada, Dutch Association of Dietitians/Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Culture, the Philippine Professional Regulation Commission and the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. Individuals who have met the qualifications established by these associations/regulatory boards should contact CDR directly at 312/899-0040 ext. 5500 to obtain information regarding establishing registration eligibility under the provision of CDR's reciprocity agreement with these associations/regulatory boards. If you are qualified under the provisions of a reciprocity agreement, proceed to Question #2 and follow this process before submitting the Registration Eligibility Application. It is important to note that all individuals who establish registration eligibility under the provisions of a reciprocity agreement must successfully write the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

The first step is to have your academic degree(s) validated as equivalent to the bachelor's or master's degree conferred by a US regionally-accredited college or university. The summary section of the evaluation report must state the degree is equivalent to a degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution. (refer to the RDN and RD flowchart). The identified, independent non-profit agencies that perform this specialized service are listed here. CDR only accepts transcripts evaluated by the agencies listed on this webpage. The list is provided as a convenience to international students and professionals. All transactions between the individual and evaluation service are considered private business transactions, without the Academy or CDR intercession or obligation. Contact the agency for current information, procedure, and costs.

Several types of evaluations are available. A detailed course-by-course evaluation will be the most useful for the program director of a Didactic Program in Dietetics, Coordinated Program in Dietetics or Graduate Program who will evaluate your previous academic preparation and identify the courses you will need to meet the dietetics course requirements.

At this point in the process, please do not mail equivalency reports to the Academy, ACEND or CDR.

Please review all completed evaluations to insure that the statement, "regionally accredited," is documented on the official evaluation report.

In order to become a RDN or RD, an individual must complete the following three-step process:

  • Complete ACEND-accredited academic coursework in a Didactic Program in Dietetics and a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a US regionally-accredited college or university or foreign equivalent.

    NOTE: As per the 2017 ACEND accreditation standards, Foreign Degree Education (FDE) program graduates are eligible to apply to a dietetic internship. This new requirement will not take effect until after June 1, 2017. Therefore, an individual would have to graduate from an FDE after June 1, 2017 in order to be eligible to apply to a DI.

    — Obtain an original verification statement from the Director of the ACEND-accredited DPD or FDE documenting completion of these requirements.
  • Apply to, enroll in and complete ACEND-accredited supervised practice requirements in a Dietetic Internship or Individualized Supervised Practice Program (ISPP) for registration eligibility, and
  • Pass the CDR Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Or:

  • Complete the didactic (academic) and a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a US. regionally-accredited college or university or foreign equivalent, and supervised practice requirements concurrently through an ACEND-accredited Coordinated Program in Dietetics.(CP) Graduate Program (GP), or International Dietitian Education (IDE) program, and
  • Pass the CDR Registration Examination for Dietitians.

ACEND publishes a complete list of all ACEND-accredited dietetics education programs on its website. Programs are listed by program type: Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), Dietetic Internship (DI), Coordinated Program (CP), and Graduate Program (GP), and by state within each listing. The uniform resource locator address (URL) is: eatrightpro.org/acend. This listing also provides a direct link to program directors through their e-mail address when available. Specific guidelines for acceptance, prerequisites, program content, and financial aid, as well as an application, should be requested directly from each program.

View the complete list.

Although all DPD programs must comply with the ACEND Accreditation Standards, each program is uniquely designed. For this reason, requirements to obtain the DPD verification statement may vary from one program to another. You may wish to contact one or more of the DPD program directors in your geographic area concerning the evaluation process. Policies/procedures and costs for the evaluation may vary from one institution to another. Using the program’s policies, the Director will review the equivalency report of your previous academic preparation from one of the foreign degree validation agencies listed in Question 2, plus copies of all transcripts. Following this evaluation, you will be advised regarding the additional coursework necessary to meet the academic requirements for the verification statement. Verification statements signed by the DPD program director will be issued after completion of all academic requirements. This Verification Statement is proof of completion of ACEND academic requirements. (Refer to the RDN and RD flowchart.)

You must complete an ACEND-accredited DI or ISPP.

DI

The application process is competitive and an applicant may apply to any number of DI Programs. A computer matching process with specified deadlines is used for most DI appointments. The DPD Program director and the ACEND Web site are all resources for you in the application process. Contact the DI director for application materials and to verify application deadlines.

ISPP

ISPPs allow 1) graduates who did not match to a dietetic internship, but who possess a DPD verification statement, 2) individuals holding a doctoral degree without a DPD verification statement to apply for an ISPP; however eligibility requirements and options may vary by program. You can see which Dietetic Internships, Coordinated, or Didactic programs currently offer ISPPs by visiting Accredited Education Programs. Doctoral degree holders without a DPD verification statement must attend an ISPP that is approved to offer a track for individuals with a doctoral degree. Students interested in applying to an ISPP should research the eligibility requirements of the program where they intend to submit an application, including whether you are required to locate your own preceptors, and then contact the program director. Individuals with work experience should also inquire whether the program grants credit for specific competency requirements through an assessment of prior learning.

Upon completion of a DI or ISPP, you will receive Verification Statements signed by the program director. This verifies completion of the supervised practice requirement for registration eligibility (refer to the RDN and RD flowchart.)

Additional information about supervised practice programs and computer matching can be obtained by calling ACEND at 312/899-0040 ext. 5400.

If you complete registration eligibility requirements through the Coordinated Program (CP) or Graduate Program (GP),  the same type of evaluation process will be completed by the CP or GP program director. Again, the evaluation includes review of the equivalency report of your previous academic work from one of the independent nonprofit validation agencies listed in Question 2, plus copies of all transcripts. Following this evaluation, you will be advised regarding the additional coursework necessary to complete the academic requirements, while also completing the supervised practice portion of the program. (Refer to the RDN and RD flowchart.)

The DI, CP, GP or ISPP program director will submit your name to CDR for registration eligibility. Once they have submitted your information into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS), you will receive an email requesting that you complete your personal demographic information.

After all your documents and information have been approved by CDR, your information will be sent to their testing vendor, Pearson VUE. You will receive an email from CDR confirming your registration eligibility within 48 hours of your applications approval. Within 48 hours of this first email, Pearson VUE will send you an Authorization to Test email allowing you to schedule your exam. Upon achievement of a passing score on the examination, you will become a RDN or RD. (Refer to the RDN and RD flowchart.)

The Commission publishes a Study Guide for the Registration Examination for Dietitians (10th Ed,). To purchase the guide (Catalog number 062517) call the Academy’s Customer Service Team at 800/877-1600 ext. 5000 or 312/899 0040 ext. 5000.

Original verification statements are essential. They are as important as obtaining a degree and are often needed for similar purposes. Verification statements are documents that are awarded upon completing an ACEND-accredited nutrition and dietetics education program. These are official documents that are necessary as proof that you have successfully completed the required education (academic and supervised practice) according to standards outlined by ACEND. You need original verification statements (not photocopies) not only for the DI or ISPP application process but also for Academy membership, employment and state licensure.

Many states have enacted laws that regulate the practice of nutrition and dietetics. It is important that you contact the state regulatory agency where you plan to practice before obtaining employment to obtain information on their requirements and regulations. A list of state regulatory agencies can be obtained on the CDR Web site. If your state is not among this list then it does not have licensure/certification. If you need further assistance, you may obtain information from the Academy's Washington office by calling 202/371-0500. Please be aware that registration as a RDN, RD, NDTR or DTR with CDR, state licensure, and membership in the Academy described below are separate processes (refer to the RDN and RD flowchart and the NDTR and DTR flowchart).

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics sets Standards of Education for entry-level dietetics education and is the accrediting body for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ACEND is the only accrediting agency for dietetics education programs recognized by the United States Department of Education. Continued recognition by USDE since 1974 affirms that ACEND is a reliable authority as to the quality of dietetics education program that it accredits. Programs accredited by ACEND meet the education requirements established by CDR. Both ACEND and CDR operate independently of the governing bodies of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. CDR is a member of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NCCA establishes and monitors adherence to stringent national standards for certifying bodies that attest to the competence of certificants. CDR’s Class A membership in the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) since the early 1980s reflects achievement of the highest standards of professional credentialing and places the Commission among a select group of certification elite. Consistently at the forefront of credentialing policy and technology, the Commission has led the way in certifying that registered dietitians and dietetic technicians have acquired, maintained, and continue to advance their professional skills within their chosen area of practice. Individuals seeking the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Registered Dietitian (RD), Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR), or Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) credential must complete the education and credentialing requirements established by CDR.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917, by a visionary group of women dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve the public's health and nutrition during World War I. Today, the Academy has 75,000 members — registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered, and other dietetics and nutrition professionals holding undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics, and students — and is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

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.