I am so excited to announce that I am officially a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), a credentialed expert in nutrition! I am now equipped to translate research and science into plain language to help you adapt and strategize your everyday lifestyle choices into healthy, edible actions. Becoming a RDN also means, it’s time to celebrate and open a bottle of champagne! I have been working towards this credential since 2009, so you better believe I am toasting to that!
I would now like to take this time to talk about what RDN’s do and the path it takes to become a credentialed nutrition expert. Becoming a RDN takes a minimum of 5 years, with most RDN’s taking longer to earn the credential. To become a RDN, you need to earn a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree from a University. During your dietetics undergrad, you take challenging courses, like organic chemistry, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, micro and macronutrient metabolism, and many, many other difficult science courses. Some other dietetic courses include medical nutrition therapy, foodservice management, community nutrition, nutrition communication, and other nutrition courses. Many of the students in my dietetics undergrad went on to medical, pharmacy, and physician assistant school because many of the dietetics courses overlap with the prerequisites for those specialized programs.
After you complete your dietetics degree, you then need to complete an extremely competitive and intensive 9 month accredited dietetic internship where you put all of your undergrad science, counseling, and management knowledge into practice. During the internship you attend ICU rounds at the hospital, calculate IV nutrients for patients who don’t have a functioning digestive system, counsel low income mothers about their underweight children – and the list goes on. The internship is designed to expose you to every aspect of nutrition, helping to guide you to your nutrition specialty.
Then, after you have completed all of your internship rotations, case studies, and projects, you are able to sit for the national RDN exam. Then, like magic, you are officially a RDN!
Now let’s take a trip down memory lane to reminisce the crazy, rocky ride it took me to finally become a RDN.
- 2008 – Started at Arizona State University
- 2009-ish – Changed my major from nutrition communications to dietetics so that I could pursue becoming a RDN
- 2013 – Graduated with my degree in dietetics
- 2013 – Began working as a nutritionist with Aramark at ASU’s dinning facilities
- 2014 – Completed my Associates Degree in the Culinary Arts – read about becoming a Chef here
- 2015 – Started the 9 month Dietetic Internship Program at Arizona State University – read my tips for matching to a DI program here
- 2016 – Became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist!!
As you can see it took me almost 8 years to become a RDN, and although that timeline might seem straight forward, there were a few setbacks and detours along the way. Getting accepted into my Dietetic Internship Program was extremely difficult and the internship itself was definitely challenging at times. Studying for the RDN exam was also extremely difficult because I was so distracted with my website, wedding planning, and traveling and it was such an amazing feeling to finally sit for the exam and finish what I had started.
When I had just started college in 2008 and was trying to figure out my passions, goals, and aspirations, I never would have guesses I would have ended up on this path. I am now crossing the finish line, at the end of the crooked and windy road on my own two feet. I now have the word Chef at the beginning of my name and RDN credentials at the end, and I couldn’t think of anything more sweet.
Check out my resource page for Dietetic Students & Dietetic Interns here!
Photo credit: Photos were taken by the extremely talented Andrew Jade Photography