What do I need to do to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)?

The four basic requirements to become an RDN are:
1. Complete the required coursework; typically, four years of college or university.
2. Complete1000 clock hours of supervised practice, sometimes known as a dietetic internship.
3. Earn a bachelor's degree.
4. Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Note: Beginning January 2024, a master’s degree will be required for eligibility to take the registration examination.

To become an RDN through the Loma Linda University Coordinated Program in Nutrition and Dietetics, you need to:
1. Complete high school or the GED.
2. Complete the prerequisites prerequisites for the Loma Linda University Nutrition and Dietetics Program.
3. Apply – Complete an application for the Nutrition and Dietetics Program.
4. Complete the program requirements with a passing grade of C or better.
5. Earn a bachelor’s degree
6. Successfully pass the registration exam.

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or nutrition and dietetics technician, registered (NDTR), and a nutritionist?

"RDN" and "NDTR" credentials are only used by authorized practitioners. Authorization comes from the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. These are legally protected titles. Individuals with these credentials have completed specific academic and supervised practice requirements, successfully completed a national registration examination, and maintained requirements for re-certification.

All RDNs and NDTRs study nutrition and applications to food and health. Some RDNs or NDTRs may call themselves nutritionists. However, the definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the scope of practice for someone using the designation nutritionist.

What career opportunities are available for each?

Information is provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and can be found here).

What factors should I consider when deciding on a school?

This decision is a very personal one that should be made based on a variety of factors that are important to you, such as:

  • Size of school and program--would you be more comfortable in a small private school or a large state (public) university?
  • Cost--can you afford a private school or is a state-supported school a better value for you?
  • Available financial aid--what resources are available to you?
  • Geographic location--do you prefer a rural or urban setting, residential or commuter school?
  • Faculty composition and qualifications--have you visited the web site or campus and talked with faculty?
  • Degrees awarded--are you interested in a bachelor's or master's degree?
  • Success of graduates in obtaining internship placement and jobs--how well do graduates do after completing the program?
  • Success of graduates in pursuing career goals--what are your career goals, and do they match the goals of the program?

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) do not rate or rank programs. All ACEND-accredited or approved programs meet the Accreditation Standards. This signifies programs provide the knowledge, skills, and competencies you need to enter the dietetics profession. These accredited or approved programs meet the requirements for membership in AND and registration by Commission on Dietetic Registration. The program is granted continuing accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education. This is part of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Address:120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995. Phone: 312-899-5400.

What is the purpose of the verification statement and when are they signed and disseminated?

Verification statements can be signed only by current program directors of ACEND-accredited or approved dietetics education programs.

Coordinated programs:

For both the bachelor’s degree level (until December 31, 2023) and the master’s degree level, verification statements are issued when the student has completed the requirements (didactic and supervised practice) and their degree has been awarded.

What is a Coordinated Program in Dietetics?

The Coordinated Program in Dietetics combines the nutrition and dietetics coursework and at least 1000 hours of supervised practice. Typically, two years of prerequisite work and two years of professional training at the junior and senior level are required. This is to develop professional skills concurrently with cognitive and technical skills. Graduates are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians to become credentialed as registered dietitians.


The coordinated program eliminates the need to apply to an internship following graduation.

How is the Coordinated Program in Dietetics different than a Didactic Program in Dietetics?

In both programs a student graduates with a bachelor’s degree. The difference is that in a Didactic Program there are four years of coursework. Then the student needs to apply for a dietetic internship where the student completes at least 1000 hours of supervised practice. After successful completion of an internship, students are eligible to sit for the Registration Examination.

In a Coordinated Program, a student graduates with a bachelor’s degree after four years. In those four years, the student has completed at least 1000 hours of supervised practice along with the required coursework. After successful completion of the program requirements, students are eligible to sit for the Registration Examination.

What degrees do you offer?

The Coordinated Program in Nutrition and Dietetics offered at Loma Linda University include:

BS+MS in Nutrition and Dietetics - School of Allied Health Professions
MS in Nutrition and Dietetics - School of Allied Health Professions
MPH in Nutrition - School of Public Health

For what term should I apply?

All programs begin in the autumn quarter each year.  Applications open each year at the end of November and remain open through the end of July.

What criteria do I need to meet to be considered for the LLU Coordinated Program?

Admissions criteria are as follows.

  • A GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses
  • A demonstrated interest in the field of nutrition and dietetics as written in your letter of application
  • Three recommendations
  • Complete a face-to-face interview

I am not vegetarian. Will your program prepare me to work with people who are not vegetarian?

Undergirding all educational experiences is a vegetarian approach to nutrition. Academic pursuits are designed to provide students with opportunities to learn, apply, and advance the scientific understanding of vegetarian diets. We do understand that not everyone is vegetarian. Our classes are designed to prepare dietitians for a variety of environments. We have in-class discussions regarding meat, poultry, and fish. We also discuss presentation and quality standards for meat, fish, and poultry cooking.

What is special about the LLU coordinated program?

Our program is designed to prepare highly competent registered dietitians locally, nationally, and internationally. We integrate classroom curriculum with clinical applications and experiences in local medical facilities, community sites, and quantity food production services. Therefore, students can apply what they have learned. Our program prepares students to enter the workforce soon after graduation.

Do you provide any job placement services for graduates?

No, we do not have a formal job placement service. Our annual surveys indicate that almost 100 percent of the graduates seeking employment are hired within 12 months after graduation.

Do you offer an online program or classes?

The curriculum does include a few online courses, but most classes meet in person. 

How is your school different from others?

Loma Linda University is a Christian, Seventh-day Adventist University specializing in the healthcare sciences.  Our approach is to equip graduates to treat the whole person, including physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

What kind of job is available to me after graduating from the nutrition and dietetics program?

Job opportunities in nutrition and dietetics continue to be strong. Entry-level positions include hospital-based positions in medical nutrition therapy, counseling, and food systems management. Community nutrition programs through county health departments and the Women’s, Infant, and Children’s Programs (WIC) continually hire registered dietitians. Child nutrition programs and school food services based in school districts are active recruiters for registered dietitians as well.

Advanced level positions are typically available after several years of work, although some graduates are fortunate enough to qualify for these positions.

How do I apply for your program?

To apply online, go to http://llu.edu/academics/how-apply

Complete the application form online and pay the application fee. There is a non-refundable application fee of $60 for first-time applicants. For re-application within the last three years, the fee is $30. (The application and all records submitted in support of the application become the property of the University.) For online applications, the programs you may select are listed on the drop-down menu.

Submit a personal statement (essay/letter of application) to give additional information which may help the admissions committee. Request that official transcripts of all college coursework be sent to the LLU Admissions.



The three (3) recommendation forms included in the online application will be sent to recommender’s contact information you have provided.
Upon receipt of the notice of acceptance, return the required deposit and the card provided to confirm acceptance.

Provide health records or certificates, as required.

You must complete prerequisite coursework at any accredited community college, college, or university before being admitted. A high school diploma or the GED is required for acceptance to the Nutrition and Dietetics programs.

Whom may I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

You should ask people who are qualified to give pertinent information as to your potential professional qualifications. Please include two from individuals who know you in an academic setting and one from your present or past employer and/or clergy. DO NOT INCLUDE A RELATIVE.

What do I write in my personal statement (essay/letter of application)?

In your personal statement, write the basis for your interest in this profession. Include your purpose, specific reasons you want to attend this university, and other information you think is significant. One criterion for admission is a demonstrated interest in the profession. The depth of your interest may be demonstrated in the personal statement you submit.

What is the deadline for submitting my application?

We accept applications between November 30 and April 30 for classes beginning the following autumn quarter.

When does your program start?

Fall or Autumn quarter – the last week of September.

How many times a year do you accept applications?

We accept applications for only Fall/Autumn quarter.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
School of Allied Health Professions
Nichol Hall 1103
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350
Phone:  909-558-1000
Fax: 909-558-0837
Email: nutrition@llu.edu

When should I apply for financial aid?

You should apply at the same time you are applying for our program. Loma Linda University’s student financial aid office will help you obtain the necessary applications and guide you through the process of applying for aid. Apply for financial aid online at http://llu.edu/academics/how-apply. For any questions related to financial aid, please contact their office. Contact information: Office of Financial Aid, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350. Phone: (909) 558-4509 or finaid@llu.edu .

What is the enrollment fee at Loma Linda University?

The enrollment fee at Loma Linda University is currently $950 per quarter. It covers student health insurance, parking, and activity fees, and use of the fitness center (Drayson Center).

How many transfer units do you accept?

Transfer credits are granted for college-level Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry courses if taken within five years of the expected enrollment date. Prior to enrolling in a program, prospective students must submit the course syllabus for review by the program director. Remedial and high school level courses are not accepted for transfer.

Community colleges

A maximum of 70 semester units or 105 quarter units of credit is accepted from accredited community colleges.

Unaccredited schools

Credits from unaccredited schools are not accepted by Loma Linda University.

Professional schools

Credits earned in a professional school are accepted only from a school recognized by its regional or national accrediting association. Additionally, they are accepted only for courses that are the equivalent of what is offered at the university. 

What are the pre-entrance health requirements?

Students planning to attend Loma Linda University are required to fulfill immunization and health requirements. These requirements must be turned in to Student Health Services. 
Here is a link to the new student health requirements: https://llu.edu/campus-and-spiritual-life/student-health-service/new-students-health-requirements

What is unique about the Seventh-day Adventist heritage?

Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution with a deep commitment to respecting the rich diversity of its  student body. It views respect, sensitivity, and inclusivity for all people as part of true Christianity. We recognize that students come from many different backgrounds. This University has a tradition of religious liberty, and highly respects students' religious values that differ from ours. We look upon the various perspectives of each spiritually- committed student as enriching to our campus and educational environment.

Two distinctive features of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which are part of the Loma Linda experience, become evident to first-time students. The first is the concept of Sabbath rest, which reminds us of God as Creator. Seventh-day Adventists realize this in part by celebrating Saturday as the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. During these hours, you will find university facilities are closed to give time for rest, renewal, and worship. A second distinctive feature worth noting is an emphasis on health and wholeness. As a student, you will be able to exercise in our recreation and wellness center. This is an award-winning health and fitness complex. The cafeterias on campus feature vegetarian meals. You should also note that the University holds that a drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free lifestyle is essential for achieving the goal of "wholeness." This means that all students agree to refrain from the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other "recreational" drugs while enrolled at the University.

Do I have to take religion classes at Loma Linda University?

Students in the bachelor’s degree program take 8 units of religion.  Classes in religion are part of the core curriculum in each of the University's schools and programs. All students commit to a sense of responsibility for the honor and integrity of the university. Religion courses are also part of the MS curricula.

Will I need to attend chapel as a student at Loma Linda University?

Weekly chapels represent a critical dimension of the educational experience at Loma Linda University. Chapel emphasizes the value LLU places on spiritual development, corporate worship, and community. Chapel provides opportunities to benefit from integrated teaching, confront current issues, and implement faith in personal life.

I am an international student. What special information do I need?