Becoming an RD

How do I become an RD?

Anyone who wants to earn the credential of Registered Dietitian (RD) must obtain the minimum of a bachelor's degree and complete a dietetics program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). A listing of ACEND-accredited programs can be found at the link above. Two routes to earn the credential are currently available:

  • Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD)

    An ACEND-accredited CPD combines all the necessary coursework and a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice experience that is required for eligibility to write the national registration examination for dietitians, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Graduates of a CPD earn either a bachelor's or graduate degree, depending on the specific CPD. An undergraduate CPD program can be completed in four years (two years of prerequisites and two years in the professional program).

    Upon successful completion of a CPD, graduates are eligible to sit for the RD exam. No internship is required, as the 1200 required practice hours are completed in the program

    This is the type of program we have at WSU.

  • Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) PLUS Dietetic Internship (DI)

    An ACEND-accredited DPD provides the required coursework leading to a bachelor's or graduate degree, depending on the specific program. Graduates of a DPD must then complete 1200 hours of practice in an ACEND-accredited DI to establish the eligibility to write the national registration exam for dietitians, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. An undergraduate DPD can be completed in four years, and DIs typically run from 8 to 24 months depending on their specific requirements.

    Appointments to DIs are awarded on a competitive basis and most use a national computer matching process.

  • After your program: Writing the exam and licensure

    Once you have successfully completed a CPD or DPD plus DI, you are eligible to obtain the RD credential by applying for and successfully completing the registration exam. Exam requirements are set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Complete details on the process can be found at the CDR link.

    Some states have licensure requirements for dietitians to practice. If you want to practice in one of those states, you must apply for licensure through their regulating body. You can contact the state's dietetic association for more details. 

    Michigan does NOT require licensure for dietitians at this time. You are eligible to practice in Michigan with your RD/RDN credential.

Why choose the Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD) at Wayne State in Detroit?

Our CPD is one of only three ACEND-accredited programs in Michigan. Since its inception in 1980, the Wayne State CPD has been fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Program graduates who plan to remain in the Detroit metropolitan area readily find employment at many of the facilities and agencies where they completed their rotations. In fact, over 80 percent of our graduates find employment in the field within three months of graduation.

Admission to the CPD is competitive, with class size limited to 20. Students can apply by April 1 for the program that begins in the fall semester of that same year (application to the CPD is separate from application to WSU). Students can view more details about the program in the CPD Student Handbook.

  • Advantages of a CPD
    1. Completion of practical experience with academic credit.
    2. Reinforced learning by combining classroom and practical training.
    3. Registration eligibility in four, rather than five, years for undergraduate students.
    4. No need to compete for unpaid internships after completion of the academic program.
    5. Diverse practice experiences in multiple settings.
    6. Flexibility to follow the program as an undergraduate, graduate, or non-degree (post-bachelor) student.
  • Program costs

    The table below shows an estimate of costs for the two-year CPD, not including the two years of prerequisite courses. Please see more information on WSU tuition.

    First semester

    Item Estimated cost
    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics student membership $58
    Textbooks and course materials $300
    Tuition (based on 11 credits for upper division resident)i $5494

    Second semester

    Item Estimated cost
    CPD feeii $400
    Physical examination and lab fees $751iii
    Textbooks and course materials $125
    Tuition (based on 16 credits for upper division resident) $7890

    Third semesteriv

    Item Estimated cost
    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics affiliate membership $58
    CPD fee $700
    Lab coat $35
    Textbooks and course materials $140
    Tuition (based on 13 credits for upper division resident) $6452

    Fourth semester

    Item Estimated cost
    CPD fee $700
    Textbooks and course materials $125
    Tuition (based on 15 credits for upper division resident) $7411

    i. Tuition fees will vary if the student is not a resident of Michigan or Windsor, or is enrolled as a graduate student.

    ii. The CPD fee is $1800 total, spread over the three dietetic practice courses (semesters 2-4). This fee covers administrative costs for the program, including clinical rotation supervision, professional liability insurance, name badges, criminal background checks, registration examination review course, CPR certification, and other miscellaneous fees.

    iii. This amount is for a complete physical and all required vaccinations (MMR, varicella, DtaP1 Hepatitis B, influenza, and a TB test) if completed at the Campus Health Center for a student with no insurance. This amount will vary depending on if all vaccines are needed, and if the student has insurance coverage. Vaccinations can also be completed for low cost at local health departments.

    iv. Those students with a degree in dietetics, who enter the program at the third semester point, are still responsible for the $400 CPD fee from the second semester, which will be charged to the NFS 4990 course that is required in the spring/summer semester at the end of the program. These students must also have a physical examination; the estimated cost is listed under the second semester.

    Note: Costs are estimates and as such are subject to change. This list does not include the cost of housing or transportation to supervised practice sites. 

  • I already have a bachelor's degree, can I apply to the CPD at WSU?

    Our CPD program is at the undergraduate level and students who complete the four-year program are awarded a bachelor degree in Dietetics. However, students who already have a B.S. degree from WSU or another college or university can still apply.

  • I already have a bachelor's in dietetics from a DPD.

    The CPD is right for you. It will take the place of an internship and provide advanced dietetics courses not part of your undergrad dietetics degree coursework. Because you have your dietetics degree, you will enter the program at the second year level, and you complete the program in three semesters vs four.

    Many students like yourself take the opportunity to work on a master's degree at WSU while completing the dietetics program. A CPD advisor can give you more information on this option.

  • I already have a bachelor's degree in nutrition.

    Most of your prerequisite coursework is probably done, but there will be a few exceptions such as applied dietetic courses. The CPD will give you the training and credentials to practice in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

    The RD designation is a requirement for most positions in which you assess nutritional status and teach either individuals or groups about nutrition. Many students like yourself take the opportunity to work on a master's during the program.

  • I already have a bachelor's degree in another area.

    You have met the first requirement for becoming an RD, which is to have a bachelor's degree. This means that you don't have to worry about degree requirement courses.

    The number of program prerequisite courses you will need depends on your degree. Generally, those students who completed degrees in the sciences, in particular, the health sciences, have fewer prerequisite courses to take.

    The CPD can build on and enhance your background. Many disciplines such as education and psychology are the perfect partner for the CPD because of the importance of the specialized content they bring to understanding and teaching people. Many students like yourself take the opportunity to work on a master's degree during the program.