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From: Mark Rifkin (
Subject:         Re: Registered Dietician ???
Date: January 10, 2006 at 1:25 pm PST

In Reply to: Registered Dietician ??? posted by Cathy on January 10, 2006 at 11:50 am:


Thanks for your post and excellent question. A degree in food/nutrition is a standard 4-yr BA/BS. (The actual title "Registered Dietitian" is issued by the American Dietetic Association after completion of the academic content, plus a 7-9 month internship, plus a proctored exam.)
Whether you need a degree in nutrition is dependent on two questions:
1) whether you already have a BA/BS, and
2) the rules of your state.
Some states, such as Maryland, do not require a degree in nutrition, they only require a degree and the core content in nutrition. In other words, if you already have a degree, you'd only be required to take the core nutrition content + any prerequisites.

To take my case as an example, I was working fulltime (although, w/o significant family obligations), so I went part-time. Some classes were at night, others required taking time off from work.

Near the top of the webpage listing ADA-approved programs (
is a link to a list of over 50 distance education programs.
Others such as U Bridgeport (Connecticut) offer an online MS, which would qualify the student to be eligible for a CNS from, a competitor of sorts of the ADA.

The next step below dietitian is something I should have mentioned in a previous post and did not. DTR, which stands for Dietetic Tech, Registered) is a certification issued by ADA after a 2-yr AA degree, plus a 3-4 month internship, plus an exam. ADA-approved DTR programs are listed at

Techs are usually supervised by Dietitians and are not considered able to perform all the tasks of a dietitian. However, they are able to perform basic nutrition education and supervised counseling. Whether they can provide unsupervised counseling to individual clients is a matter decided individually by each state. In Maryland, they are not legally allowed to do so, although I did know a DTR in private practice. I'm not really sure of all her job duties.

Hope that helps,
Mark Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN

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