New Dietetic Career Opportunities After Graduation
Once you complete your undergraduate degree in dietetics or nutrition, there are many new career opportunities available. In the past, the standard route was to immediately apply to a dietetic internship post-graduation to become a dietitian. Other paths were to finish your bachelor’s degree from an accredited didactic program and take a national exam through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to become a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR). Now, you have more options, more opportunities, and more titles.
Getting into an internship has been very challenging due to the high volume of applicants and limited space available within the various programs. Because of this impact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics put together a task force called the Nutrition and Dietetics Associate (NDA) program to take a closer look at different issues and challenges our profession faces regarding licensure, certification, and more. After much analysis, the board of the NDA came up with additional opportunities for dietetic credentials.
Here is a list of the new titles you can obtain and how to get them:
Original Pathway I: DTR: this is your basic, first tier to becoming a DTR. You complete an associate degree from an accredited school. Upon completion of the national exam, you will receive the title of AA-DTR or AA-NDTR.
Original Pathway II: DTR: this is where you complete your bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and the required coursework for an accredited didactic program in dietetics in addition to supervised practice. Upon completion of the exam, you will receive the title of BS-DTR or BS-NDTR.
New Pathway III: DTR: this includes completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and completion of the required coursework for an accredited didactic program in dietetics. Also included in this title are people who have a PhD or MS in nutrition and dietetics but have not gone through an internship to become a Registered Dietitian. For example, if one has an MS, after completing the exam, the title will be MS-DTR or MS-NDTR.
After completing these requirements, one still needs to register for the national DTR exam and pass it. In addition to recent changes with the title of registered dietitians to registered dietitians/nutritionists (RD to RDN), the dietetic technicians, registered have adopted similar verbiage from DTR to NDTR (nutrition and dietetics technician, registered).
Many questions still arise as to what these new titles and requirements will mean for the future of DTRs. However, one must note that new opportunities are available and change is happening. Stay updated with the latest information by checking out the Commission on Dietetic Registration and the Academy’s websites. Here’s a direct link to a video from the Academy President, Sonja L. Connor, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, who discusses this exciting time of change and new beginnings.