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Entry-Level Registration Eligibility Requirements Update

This communication is to provide you with an update on recent CDR action regarding the Council on Future Practice Visioning Report and Recommendations released in Fall 2012. The full report is available here. Following release of the report, CDR met jointly with other Academy organization units including ACEND, CFP, NDEP and the Education Committee to discuss the report and recommendations and its implications for the dietetics profession and the public it serves. A summary of the joint organization unit meeting outcomes is available hereThe Visioning Report recommendations were also presented by represenatives of the Council on Future Practice at all Area NDEP meetings this spring.

Several of the recommendations directly relate to CDR’s role as the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Recommendations 1 and 2 specifically address the requirements for eligibility to take the entry-level registration examination for dietitians.

Recommendation #1
Elevate the educational preparation for the future entry-level RD to a minimum of a graduate degree from an ACEND-accredited program.

Recommendation #2
Recommend that ACEND require an ACEND-accredited graduate degree program and/or consortium that integrates both the academic coursework and supervised practice components into a seamless (1-step) program as a requirement to obtain the future entry-level RD credential.

As the credentialing agency for the Academy, CDR is charged in the Bylaws with the establishment of registration eligibility requirements for its certifications.
Excerpt from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Bylaws, January 7, 2012 Article VII Section 2
Section 2. Commission on Dietetic Registration (“CDR”).
Purpose Statement: CDR has sole and independent authority in all matters pertaining to certification
 ...Establish and evaluate requirements, standards, policies and procedures for certification programs, including eligibility, reinstatement, examination and recertification for all levels of dietetics practice (e.g., entry, specialty and advanced level practice)...

As most of you are aware CDR has historically required that all applicants for eligibility to take the registration examination for dietitians complete the minimum of a baccalaureate degree granted by a US regionally accredited college or university, or foreign equivalent, and an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and an ACEND supervised practice program (Coordinated, Dietetic Internship or Individualized Supervised Practice program). Since release of the Visioning Report this past Fall, CDR has received numerous inquiries from educators, employers and practitioners requesting the deadline date to apply for registration eligibility to take the entry-level registration examination for dietitians with a baccalaureate degree. CDR is legally required to provide ample notice to its stakeholders of any anticipated change in CDR registration eligibility requirements. This is especially true of one as significant as changing the minimum degree requirement. For these reasons, CDR initiated discussions relative to these recommendations at its March, 2013 meeting. Given CDR’s long-standing working relationship with ACEND, CDR invited ACEND representatives to participate in its discussion of these recommendations to provide the ACEND perspective and timeline relative to these recommendations.

While it is clear that ACEND needs time to establish standards for the ACEND accredited program at the graduate level, CDR is bound to meet its legal obligations and stakeholder expectations. Bearing this in mind, CDR passed the following motion at its April meeting:
Move to change the entry-level registration eligibility education requirements for dietitians, beginning in 2024, from a baccalaureate degree to a minimum of a graduate degree. All other entry-level dietitian registration eligibility requirements remain the same.

It is important to note that this motion only addresses the degree requirements for entry-level registration eligibility. It allows the graduates of ACEND - accredited DPD and supervised practice programs to continue to be accepted for registration eligibility, provided they have a graduate degree granted by a US regionally accredited college or university, or foreign equivalent. As is now the case with the baccalaureate degree, the graduate level degree can be in any major.

This motion does not address the seamless degree programs recommendation (Recommendation #2) in the Visioning Report. Once ACEND has established the graduate education program standards, CDR will establish the deadline for acceptance of graduates who have not completed an ACEND-accredited graduate education program. This deadline may be several years after the 2024 deadline for completion of a graduate degree for registration eligibility.

It is CDR’s intent to broadly disseminate this policy change to its constituents, Academy student members, and licensure boards during the coming few weeks. As ACEND accredited dietetics Education Program Directors, we ask your assistance in publicizing this January 1, 2024 graduate degree registration eligibility requirement to your students.

Contact name changed July 2020:

Please contact Sharon M. McCauley, MS, MBA, RDN, LDN, FADA, FAND, Executive Director, CDR or 1-800-877-1600 ext 4823, if you have any questions regarding this action.

A frequently asked questions page can be found here.