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CSSD Eligibility Requirements

Minimum requirements for specialist certification are established and approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. In order to be eligible to become a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Current Registered Dietitian (RD) status by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

  • Maintenance of the RD status, for a minimum of two years from the original examination date.

  • Initial Certification: Documentation of 2,000 hours of sports dietetics practice experience as an RD within the past five years*. 

  • Recertification**: Documentation of 1,500 hours of sports dietetics practice experience as an RD within the past five years.

Certain education and professional experiences can substitute for some of the required sports practice hours up to a total of 500 hours maximum.

  1. Education:
    • Completed graduate degrees in sports nutrition, exercise physiology, exercise science, kinesiology, nutrition with sports emphasis or nutrition to substitute for 300 hours (masters) and 400 hours (doctorate). 
    • If your educational degree was used to substitute for the required hours with initial certification, you cannot use the same degree for recertification.
  2. Professional experiences (completed within the past five years from the date of application):
    • Primary author of an article in a peer-reviewed scientific publication- 20 hours per article
    • Co-author of an article in a scientific publication- 10 hours per article
    • Author of a published sports dietetics textbook/manual- 100 hours per textbook
    • Author of a chapter in a published sports dietetics textbook/manual- 15 hours per chapter
    • Sports research as a sole or principal investigator- 20 hours per research activity
    • Sports research as a co-investigator - 10 hours per research activity
    • Sports-related continuing education- 75 hours must follow PDP guidelines
    • International Olympic Committee (IOC) Diploma in Sports Nutrition- 500 hours.

*The five-year mark is a threshold and not a requirement.  You only need to document as far back as it took to earn the required 2,000 hours, not to exceed five years from the date the application is submitted. 

**CSSDs whose credential has lapsed, may recertify with 1500 hours of sports dietetics practice experience (rather than the 2,000 hours of practice experience required for initial certification), provided they apply for the next available testing window following the lapse of their credential.