The New Advanced Practice Certification for Registered Dietitians

Advanced Practice Information for Registered Dietitians

Learn more about what it is and if it’s right for you

As a profession, we are fortunate to have many highly-skilled practitioners who often serve as leaders in the field of nutrition. To recognize and highlight the talents of these individuals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) has introduced a new Advanced Practice credential. Read on to find out if YOU are eligible or interested in pursuing the Advanced Practice credential.

What is the Advanced Practice certification?

The Advanced Practitioner distinction was launched in 2015 after a lengthy process that included market research to gauge interest and perceived value of such a credential, polling of dietitians with more than three years’ experience (deemed “beyond entry level”), and the determination of viability of the credential. The certification was created for professionals practicing in clinical nutrition specifically. According to the Academy, the Advanced Practice certification distinguishes those dietitians who cannot only deliver direct nutrition care autonomously and optimally, but also lead interdisciplinary teams and direct nutrition-focused research, policies, or protocols. Note that this certification is separate from specialty certifications that some dietitians have earned (i.e., Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, etc.).

Who is Eligible to Become an Advanced Practitioner and What is the Process?

CDR has designated two pathways for dietitians to pursue the Advanced Practice certification, and they vary depending on whether or not the applicant has a graduate-level degree. The eligibility requirements are shown in the description linked here (insert “Profile” image),1 courtesy of the Academy. Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you must also pass the two-part certification exam. The exam is offered once a year during a three-week testing window in the Fall. The certification is active for five years. If you wish to renew it, you must meet all of the original eligibility requirements and retake the exam.

How Much Does the Certification Cost?

There is a $100 fee to assess eligibility to sit for the exam. The exam itself costs $500.

Should You Pursue the Advanced Practice Certification?

Because the Advanced Practitioner distinction is so new, data evaluating the costs versus benefits are forthcoming. It is not yet known how the certification will impact compensation, career advancement, or job growth. Thus, the decision to pursue the certification is merely a personal choice. Speak with your colleagues, supervisor, or professional mentor to help you decide. If you wish to read more about the process of developing the Advanced Practice certification, click here.

Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, Malnutrition Awareness

Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC is a travel dietitian for Dietitians on Demand.  She is passionate about empowering dietitians to be more involved with the interdisciplinary healthcare team. Her favorite adventures while on assignment include:  The 17-Mile Drive in Monterey, CA; Lake Placid, NY; Montreal, Canada; and of course, the Jelly Belly® Jelly Bean and Ben & Jerry’s® ice cream factories located in Fairfield, CA and Burlington, VT, respectively.

References: Brody RA, Skipper A, Chaffee CL, Wooldridge NH, Kicklighter JR, Touger-Decker R. Developing an advanced practice credential for registered dietitian nutritionists in clinical nutrition. JAND, 2015;115(4):619-623. Commission on Dietetic Registration. Advanced clinical nutrition practice certification FAQ. 2015. Accessed October 29, 2017.

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