FAQs About Registered Dietitian Nutritionists


Is a nutritionist different than a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

Yes, RDNs (or RDs) are the food and nutrition experts. All Registered Dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist has met academic and professional requirements and is easily identified by the credentials, RDN or RD*. Whereas the term nutritionist does not legally bind a person to specific certifications or credentials.

Criteria met by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists:
• Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree
• Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program
• Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
• Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration

Registered Dietitians work in both traditional and non-traditional settings, translating the science of food and nutrition into practical advice for a healthy lifestyle. Read more about the RDN credential requirements and employment opportunities, by downloading the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics RDN Fact Sheet.

What Services do RDNs provide?
For more information on the services provided by a Registered Dietitian and areas of practice, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, RDN - Areas of Expertise

Where can I find an RDN?
Find a nutrition expert in your area! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website allows you to search for an RD near you, using your zip code, Find an RDN!

What is a Certified Dietitian (CD)?
The State has an interest in protecting the health and safety of every citizen. Licensing or certifying dietitians and other health care workers protects the public. Citizens know that a “Certified Dietitian (CD)” has met certain standards of education and experience to be an expert in food and nutrition. In addition, the CD continues her/his education according to guidelines and abides by the profession’s Code of Ethics. Certification is voluntary for dietitians in Washington State, though some employers may require it due to specific regulations. 

What Is a Dietetic Technician, Registered?
Dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) are educated and trained at the technical level of nutrition and dietetics practice for the delivery of safe, culturally competent, quality food and nutrition services. DTRs are an integral part of healthcare and food service management teams.
Criteria met by Dietetic Technicians, Registered:
• Associate degree
• Supervised practice training program
• National registration exam
• Continuing professional education requirements to maintain registration

Learn More on the qualifications of a DTR by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics DTR page here.

* In March 2013, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics approved the optional use of the credential registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) by all registered dietitians. The Academy states that every registered dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is a registered dietitian. When seeking the food and nutrition experts look for the credentials RD or RDN. For more information you can link to RDN credentials, frequently asked questions.