Pathways to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Interested in becoming an RDN? Choose from a one-step Future Education Model program with integrated experiential learning, or a stand-alone Dietetic Internship with a separate master’s degree. Either way, Merrimack has the pathway for you!
Starting on January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). There are two distinct pathways to earn your master’s while also completing the supervised practice hours required by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) – and Merrimack College is one of the few institutions that offers both!
- Option 1: Future Education Model (FEM) graduate programs offer a one-step program that meets the requirements to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam – without requiring a separate Dietetic Internship. The first FEM program in Massachusetts, Merrimack’s M.S. in Nutrition and Human Performance allows you to complete 1,000 hours of supervised experiential learning in sports/human performance, clinical, community, food service and research rotations, while also completing your graduate coursework. It offers a truly streamlined pathway to becoming an RDN.
- Option 2: You can choose to pursue a standalone Dietetic Internship to fulfill your supervised practice hours, and complete a separate graduate program to meet CDR’s master’s degree requirement. Merrimack offers three eligible health sciences graduate programs- in Community Health Education; Exercise and Sport Science; or Health and Wellness Management. Available online or on-campus, these master of science programs can be completed in just nine months, before, during or following your Dietetic Internship. They provide a strong health science foundation combined with real-world population health and leadership skills.