What do I need to do to become a Registered Dietitian?

The four basic requirements to become a registered dietitian are:
1. Completion of the required coursework; typically four years of college or university.
2. Completion of 1200 clock hours of supervised professional practice, sometimes known as a dietetic internship.
3. Earning a bachelor's degree.
4. Passing the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

To become an RD through the Loma Linda University program, you need to:
1. Complete high school or the GED.
2. Complete the prerequisites for the Loma Linda University Nutrition and Dietetics Program.
3. Apply to the Nutrition and Dietetics Program either for the BS degree or certificate (for those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree).
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 (RD) or dietetic technician, registered (DTR), and a nutritionist?

"RD" and "DTR" 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 RDs and DTRs study nutrition and applications to food and health. Some RDs or DTRs 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 is the difference between a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) and what career opportunities are available for each? (Information is provided by the Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) FAQs web page

An RD is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD." To obtain this credential, you must complete at least a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university. You must also complete required coursework and at least 900 hours of supervised practice accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). In addition, you must pass a national RD examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). You must also complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

The majority of RDs work in the treatment and prevention of disease. This includes administering medical nutrition therapy in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other healthcare facilities. In addition, a large number of RDs work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of RDs work in the food and nutrition industry, in business, journalism, sports nutrition, and corporate wellness programs.

A DTR is a food and nutrition practitioner. The practitioner has completed at least a two-year associate's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited college. They must also complete required course work and at least 450 hours of supervised practice accredited by CADE. In addition, you must pass a national DTR examination administered by CDR and complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. The majority of DTRs work with RDs in a variety of employment settings. These include healthcare (assisting RDs in providing medical nutrition therapy), in hospitals, HMOs, clinics or other healthcare facilities. In addition, a large number of DTRs work in community and public health settings as nutrition counselors. This includes schools, daycare centers, correctional facilities, weight management clinics and WIC programs.

What factors should I consider when deciding on a school? (Information is provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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 that 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?

The signed verification statement documents that an individual has completed the requirements of an ACEND accredited or approved dietetics education program. The verification statement documents completion of the dietetics program. It also documents eligibility to write the registration examination from CDR. Finally, it documents eligibility to become an active AND member.

• To establish eligibility to write the registration examination for dietitians and dietetic technicians.*

The Commission on Dietetic Registration requires a verification statement upon completion of the Coordinated Program, Dietetic Internship and Dietetic Technician Program. This indicates completion of academic or supervised practice requirements for eligibility to write the registration examination.

*Not applicable if individual completed the name/address verification form for program director to submit via CDR software.

• To establish eligibility for AND membership.

A verification statement is required when applying for AND active membership.

Who can sign verification statements?

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

When are verification statements signed and disseminated?

Coordinated programs - baccalaureate degree level
For students earning their baccalaureate degree, verification statements are issued when the student has completed CADE-accredited Coordinated Program requirements (didactic and supervised practice). Additionally, the registrar must clear the student for graduation. This indicates that all degree requirements also have been completed.

Students who have previously completed a baccalaureate degree can provide a verification statement upon completion of Coordinated Program requirements.

What is a Coordinated Program in Dietetics?

The Coordinated Program in Dietetics combines the nutrition and dietetics coursework and at least 1200 hours of supervised professional practice combined within the professional curriculum. 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 for an internship program following graduation. It enables graduates to enter the profession one year earlier than those going to the traditional didactic program. Often, the cost of the two-year coordinated program is less than the income earned in the first year of practice.

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

In both programs a student graduates with a BS 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 1200 hours of supervised professional practice. After successfully completing dietetic internship, students are eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Registered Dietitian.

In a Coordinated Program, a student graduates with a BS degree after four years. In those four years, the student has completed at least 1200 hours of supervised professional practice. They also complete all the coursework as in the didactic program. After successful completion of the program requirements, students are eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Registered Dietitian.

What degrees do you offer?

The Coordinated Programs in nutrition offered at Loma Linda University include:

BS 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

Why are the prerequisites for the BS program different than those for the MS program?

The prerequisites for the BS and MS programs are identical only if you do not have a bachelor's degree.  If you have a BA or BS, you would need to satisfy only the algebra, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology and human nutrition.

What term should I apply for?

All programs begin in the autumn quarter each year.

What criteria do I need to meet in order to be considered for the LLU coordinated program?

Admissions criteria are as follows.

  • A GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Completion of all admission requirements
  • A demonstrated interest in the field of nutrition and dietetics as written in your letter of application
  • Three recommendations

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 are able to apply what they have learned. Our program prepares students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.

Do you provide any job placement services for graduates?

No, we do not have a formal job placement service. Our graduates do not have a problem finding employment. Many graduates already have a job waiting for them when they graduate based upon experiences in supervised professional practice. Others pursue a master’s degree in nutrition or another field. It is possible that a job opportunity may open at a facility in which the graduate completed his/her supervised professional practice. Job openings are posted and made available to all students.

Do you have open houses for your program so I can learn more about your program and meet the faculty?

The university holds an annual open house. There, you can meet faculty and experience Loma Linda University. In addition, you may make a personal appointment to discuss specific questions at any time. We welcome you to call or email and make an appointment. (909) 558-4593, (909) 558-1000 or email nutrition@llu.edu

Do you offer an online program or classes?

The Masters in Nutrition Care Management is an online program designed for Registered Dieticians who have been in the workforce for at least 2 years.  This is an MS for those especially interested in an online management degree option.

How is your school different from others?

Loma Linda University is a Christian, Seventh-day Adventist University specializing in the health sciences. Our School of Allied Health Professions is one of the largest Schools of Allied Health in the United States. It is the largest in terms of programs offered but second in terms of numbers of students. Even though we are large, we are small enough to know you well, to know your name, and to take a personal interest in you.

Admission to our program guarantees you a place in every class you need to graduate. Students do not need to scramble to be sure the classes needed next quarter are not already full. Students complete the coordinated program in two years unless you make a personal decision to take the program in three years.

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 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://home.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 School.

1. The three (3) recommendation forms. (included in the online application) will be sent to the recommenders names you have provided.
2. Apply for financial aid while you are applying to our program.
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 college or university before being admitted. A high school diploma or the GED is required for acceptance to the Nutrition and Dietetics BS Program or N&D BS +MS Program.

Official transcripts must be sent to the Loma Linda University Admissions and Records Office before a letter of acceptance can be sent to you.

Where do I send my application materials?

Send all application materials to:

Admissions Processing
11139 Anderson St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
Phone: 909-558-4599 or 909-558-1000, ask for the Nutrition and Dietetics Program

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. DO NOT INCLUDE A RELATIVE.  Recommenders may return forms by email or by USPS mail to LLU.

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 until the end of March (March 31) for classes beginning 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 (Ask for Nutrition and Dietetics)
or 909-558-4593
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://home.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.

What is the enrollment fee at Loma Linda University?

The enrollment fee at Loma Linda University is currently $768 per quarter. It covers student health insurance, parking, and activity fees, including use of the Drayson Center (gym).

How many transfer units do you accept?

Applicants must file complete records of all studies taken on the high school and college levels. These should be filed with with the Office of Admissions and Records of the School of Allied Health Professions. LLU reserves the right to require written or practical exam completion in any course for which transfer credit is requested. Remedial and high school level courses are not accepted for transfer.

Junior colleges

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

How do I know what classes to take at the school I currently attend to meet LLU prerequisites?

Transfer patterns have been prepared for many schools. If your school is not represented on this list, contact the department for specific equivalent courses.

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. Contact us for more information. Requirements include the following:
• Tuberculosis screening
• Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
• Tetanus
• Hepatitis B series
• Chicken pox screening or vaccination
• Pre-entrance physical examination
• Eye examination (by ophthalmologist or optometrist)

What is unique about the Seventh-day Adventist heritage?

Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution. Here, there is a deep commitment to respecting the rich diversity of its student body. It views respect and sensitivity for all people, regardless of their culture and ethnicity, as a part of true Christianity. We recognize that students come from many different faiths. This University has a tradition of religious liberty, and it 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. 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 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 well-prepared 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. These courses include Adventist Heritage of Religion and Health, Christian Ethics in Health Care, and an elective course. 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 required for the MS curricula are listed in the program brochure.

Will I need to attend chapel as a student of 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 secular life.

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

See our International Student information

Please note:  The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has recently changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (AND).