RD Certifications

certifiedAs I have gone through my long journey to become a dietitian, there has been a nagging question that I keep pondering. That is: What can I do to make myself stand out from the crowd of other applicants and move to the top of the RD wanted list? I have thought a long while about this and there are such options as getting a graduate degree or move into the medical field, but what about something that I don’t need extra years of college and thousands of dollars to get that will make me a great candidate for jobs.  This desire has caused me to look into a new line of career enhancements that it all too often seem are overlooked and forgotten.  So what are they and how can they help us? They are R.D. certifications.

The benefits that have been seen by ones that have received these certifications are:

  • Increased peer recognition

  • Increased credibility by other medical professionals

  • Increased salary and pay

  • Promotion and career advancement

There are some requirements to keep in mind when considering these specialist certifications and they are:

  • Have maintained RD status for 3 years

  • have 4,000 hours (within the past five years) of professional practice as an RD in the specialty (1,500 hours for sports dietetics)

  • Successfully completed the Board Certification as a Specialist in Dietetics examination

Specialty Options Available and their job definitions:

Gerontological Nutrition (CSG)– Gerontological nutrition dietitians design, implement and manage safe and effective nutrition strategies to promote quality of life and health for older adults. They work directly with older adults to provide optimal nutrition and food sources and information in a variety of settings (such as, hospitals, long term care, assisted living, home health care, community-based nutrition programs, food service industry, correctional facilities, governmental programs, related industries), or indirectly as documented by management, education or research practice linked specifically to gerontological nutrition.

Sports Dietetics (CSSD)– Working as a Registered Dietitians for a minimum of two years applying evidence-based nutrition knowledge in exercise and sports. They assess, educate, and counsel athletes and active individuals. They design, implement, and manage safe and effective nutrition strategies that enhance lifelong health, fitness, and optimal performance.

Pediatric Nutrition (CSP)– Working directly with healthy and/or ill children (newborn to 18 years of age) as well as children with special health care needs in a variety of settings (hospitals, community-based and /or family-centered programs, education programs, home, etc.) OR indirectly as documented by management, education, or research practice linked specifically to pediatric nutrition.

Renal Nutrition (CSR)– Working directly with adults and/or children with acute or chronic renal dysfunction or failure, under treatment by kidney transplantation, dialysis, or other modalities in a variety of settings (home, hospitals, other treatment centers, etc.) OR indirectly as documented by management, education, or research practice linked specifically to renal nutrition.

Oncology Nutrition (CSO)– RDs working directly with individuals at risk for, or diagnosed with, any type of malignancy or pre-malignant condition, in a variety of settings (e.g. hospitals, clinics, cancer centers, hospices, public health) OR indirectly through roles in management, education, industry, and research practice linked specifically to oncology nutrition.

The cost for all these programs is between $250-300, which is really a minimal fee considering the benefits that these can afford to any that take advantage of them.  As this area of dietetics is growing and evolving there may be more certifications available in the future.  While these options are not for everyone they definitely are a very good option for many of us looking to get the most out of our careers.


Commission on Dietetic Registration. Board Certified Specialist. 2013. http://cdrnet.org/certifications/board-certified-specialist

Shadix, Chef Kyle MS, RD, Bell-Wilson, Jenna A. PhD, RD, LD, CSSD. Finding your Niche- Certification options for the RD. Today Dietitian. Vol. 9 No. 3 P. 40. March 2007. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdmar2007pg40.shtml

Written by Andrew Grover. Andrew Grover is a Foods and Nutrition: Dietetics student: He loves to learn more about the how the human body functions and its interactions with food and the possible therapeutic value in many foods. He graduates this June and hopes to work as a clinical dietitian and then move into management or corporate wellness.

Part of our Featured Writers series student writers independent of the dedicated Food Digest team have an interest to write and share their thoughts. If you would be interested in writing an article for Food Digest, let us know!

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