How hard it is for an international graduate in dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian and work in the US ?
I am Italian and I have obtained my four years BS in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in Spain. I would love to get some experience in the US, but I don't really know where to start.
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
It seems like you're on the path to becoming a Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist in the United States, that's fantastic! To get there, you'll likely need to take the CDN exam. How are your English skills? Proficiency in comprehension, reading, and writing will be a great asset to you.
Don't worry about the nutritional and dietetic aspects of the exam. If your education from the accredited Spanish tertiary institute is anything to go by, you're well-prepared in that area.
Commision on Dietetic Registration https://www.cdrnet.org/
Keep going, Maria. You're doing great!
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
YOU'VE ARRIVED AT THE WEB-BASED TREASURY OF CAREER WISDOM!
AS DAD ALWAYS REMINDED US, EXPERIENCE IS INVALUABLE
Spent 35 years as a DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST IN AUSTRALIA
Response: To become a Registered Dietitian (RD) in the United States as an international graduate in dietetics might seem daunting, but it's certainly achievable. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate your career path as an RD in the US:
1. Get a Verification Statement: If your degree is from a country other than the US, you'll need a Verification Statement from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This statement confirms that your degree fulfills the academic prerequisites for the RD credential. You can apply for the Verification Statement through your university or the accreditation body in your country.
2. Undertake an ACEND-accredited internship: To qualify for the RD exam, you must complete an ACEND-accredited internship in the US. These are usually year-long programs offering practical experience in medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, and foodservice management. You can find a directory of accredited internships on the ACEND website.
3. Clear the RD exam: Once your internship is complete, you'll be eligible to take the RD exam conducted by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). The exam is divided into two sections: a multiple-choice test and a practical exam. More details about the exam can be found on the CDR website.
4. Secure a state license: To practice as an RD in a specific state, you'll need to secure a state license. Licensure requirements differ from state to state, but usually involve passing the RD exam and fulfilling continuing education requirements.
5. Explore specializations: After becoming an RD, you can explore specializations in fields like pediatric nutrition, sports nutrition, or renal nutrition.
1. Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). (n.d.). International Students and Graduates. Retrieved from <https://www.acend.org/students/international-students-and-graduates/>
2. Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). (n.d.). How to Become a Registered Dietitian. Retrieved from <https://www.cdrnet.org/become-a-rd/>
3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). (n.d.). International Dietetics Practitioners. Retrieved from <https://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(19)30003-4/fulltext>
* If you're not a US citizen or permanent resident, you might need to secure a visa to work in the US. The kind of visa you'll need depends on your specific situation.
* Some states have extra requirements for international graduates, like clearing a state-specific exam or completing additional coursework.
* Many employers prefer RDs who are multilingual, so being proficient in Spanish or other languages can give you an edge in the job market.
* There are plenty of resources to assist international graduates in becoming an RD in the US, such as the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND) and the AND Foundation.
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
Embarking on a Journey to Become a Registered Dietitian in the US as an International Graduate
Embarking on the journey to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) in the United States as an international graduate can seem like a daunting task. However, with some careful planning and a whole lot of dedication, it's definitely doable!
Educational Requirements: As you're an international graduate from Spain with a BS in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, the first step is to get your academic credentials evaluated. This is done by a credentialing agency that's recognized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing body for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This evaluation will check if your education aligns with the standards set by the CDR. It's crucial to make sure that your program is on par with a US-accredited program in dietetics.
Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Completion: If your education is found to be equivalent, you might need to complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) in the US. The DPD is a series of courses in dietetics and nutrition that's accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This step may be necessary to bridge any gaps between your international education and the requirements for RD eligibility in the US.
Supervised Practice: Once you've completed the DPD, the next step is to apply for and complete a supervised practice program, also known as a dietetic internship. This is a hands-on training program that gives you practical experience in various aspects of dietetics, like clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and foodservice management. Getting a dietetic internship can be competitive, but it's a vital step towards becoming an RD.
Registration Examination for Dietitians: After successfully finishing the supervised practice program, you'll be eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the CDR. Passing this exam is a must to get the RD credential.
State Licensure: Besides becoming an RD, some states in the US also require you to have a license to practice as a dietitian. Licensure requirements differ from state to state, so it's important to look into the specific requirements of the state where you plan to work.
Visa and Work Authorization: As an international graduate, you'll also need to secure the right visa status and work authorization to legally work in the US. This could involve getting an employment-based visa or participating in a cultural exchange program that allows for temporary work authorization.
Professional Networking: Making professional connections within the field of dietetics in the US can also be very helpful. Getting involved with professional organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and attending industry events can provide valuable networking opportunities and insights into the US dietetics landscape.
Conclusion: The journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian in the US as an international graduate involves navigating through educational, practical, and regulatory requirements. While it can be challenging, many international graduates have successfully built careers as RDs in the US by following these steps and seeking guidance from relevant professional organizations and credentialing agencies.
Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used:
Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR): The CDR is the credentialing body for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and sets the standards for eligibility to become a Registered Dietitian.
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND): ACEND accredits Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) and supervised practice programs, playing a crucial role in setting educational standards for dietetic professionals.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: As the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, this source provides valuable information on becoming a Registered Dietitian in the US.
These sources were used to ensure the information provided on becoming a Registered Dietitian in the US as an international graduate is accurate and reliable.
I may not be an expert in your chosen field, but I'm aware that the US often provides work visas for specialized areas that are in high demand. These roles are quite specific and competition is intense.
My first suggestion would be to visit the USCIS website and see if your profession is listed there. If it is, then the next step would be to seek out potential employers who have previously offered the H1-b visa and get in touch with them. If you're already in the US, volunteering could be a great way to network and make valuable connections.
It's worth noting that healthcare professions like nursing and medicine are often in high demand. These roles may have a higher likelihood of securing an H1-B sponsorship.
If you're considering further education, it could be beneficial to choose a course of study that aligns with the professions listed on the USCIS website.
I hope these suggestions help, and I wish you every success in your journey.
1. **Credential Evaluation:**
- Begin by having your international educational credentials evaluated by a reputable agency recognized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This evaluation will determine how your degree aligns with U.S. standards.
2. **Complete Required Coursework:**
- Based on the evaluation, you may need to complete additional coursework to meet the educational requirements for RD eligibility. Ensure that you take courses in the specific areas required by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
3. **Dietetic Internship:**
- To become an RD in the U.S., you must complete a dietetic internship program accredited by ACEND. These programs are highly competitive and provide practical experience in various dietetic settings.
4. **Apply for Internships:**
- Research and apply to dietetic internship programs in the U.S. Be prepared for the application process, which typically includes a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and an interview.
5. **Internship Match:**
- The Dietetic Internship Matching process, managed by D&D Digital, is used to match applicants with available internship positions. You'll need to register for this process and rank your preferred programs.
6. **Complete the Dietetic Internship:**
- Once accepted into an internship program, successfully complete the required hours and experiences. This will include rotations in clinical, community, and food service settings.
7. **Pass the RD Exam:**
- After completing the internship, you'll be eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians, which is administered by CDR. Passing this exam is a crucial step to becoming an RD.
8. **State Licensure (if required):**
- Some U.S. states require dietitians to obtain state licensure in addition to RD certification. Research the licensure requirements in the state where you plan to work.
9. **Gain Experience:**
- Once you become an RD, seek employment or gain experience in your desired field of dietetics. Networking and internships during your educational journey can help you secure job opportunities.
10. **Visa and Work Authorization:**
- As an international graduate, you'll need to secure the necessary visa and work authorization to work in the U.S. Consult with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or an immigration attorney for guidance.
11. **Continuing Education:**
- Stay updated on the latest developments in the field of dietetics by participating in continuing education activities. RDs are required to complete continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their certification.
12. **Professional Organizations:**
- Consider joining professional organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which can provide valuable resources, networking opportunities, and support for international graduates.
Becoming an RD in the U.S. as an international graduate is a rigorous process, but with determination, dedication, and a clear understanding of the requirements, it is certainly achievable. It's essential to stay organized, seek guidance from professionals in the field, and be prepared for a competitive journey. Each step you take brings you closer to your goal of working as a Registered Dietitian in the United States.
Remember, it's essential to steer clear of working illegally on a tourist visa.
Another option to consider is pursuing graduate studies in the US. You can do this by obtaining a student visa. Once you've completed your studies, you can look for internships. These opportunities could potentially lead to a company offering to sponsor you, and they might even file for your green card.