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Understanding Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines dietetics as “the science and art of applying the principles of nutrition to health.”  The RD credential is required for most careers that involve providing nutritional care to individuals and groups.  Typical jobs include:

  • Healthcare – hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care
  • Foodservice – hospitals, school foodservice
  • Community – public health programs, wellness and health promotion
  • Private practice – client counseling, public speaking, writing for the public,  menu-planning, recipe development

Becoming a Registered Dietitian

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.  Students who already have a degree do not have to earn a second degree in nutrition.

  2. Complete the specific courses designated as didactic preparation (science, nutrition government, social science, statistics, food science and food service) to earn a verification statement.
  3. Build a strong resume including work or volunteer experience in dietetics-related areas.

  4. Complete a ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (coordinated program or dietetic internship).  These programs are very competitive and require both a strong GPA and an impressive resume.

  5. Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

  6. Obtain licensing in the state of Texas.

  7. Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree. 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 (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Coordinated program at The University of Texas at Austin are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

  8. In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

    For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

Dietetics Programs at The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers two programs for students who are pursuing the Registered Dietitian credential. Students who complete the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) are qualified to apply to supervised practice programs/dietetic internships at other institutions. DPD graduates who complete a supervised practice program at eligible dietetic internships are eligible to write the examination to become registered dietitians and may become active members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  The Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD) includes supervised clinical, administrative and community practice experiences so that students are qualified to write the dietetic registration examination when they graduate. Students interested in this program must apply for admission.

The dietetics programs are offered to students enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin publishes its tuition rates, including historical data. You can learn more about tuition rates, including how those rates are determined, by going to the university’s tuition page.

Both the DPD and the CPD are granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), 120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago IL 60606, (312) 899-0040. https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend