What You Can Do as an RDN and Exercise Physiologist
An RDN is a highly trained food and nutrition expert who can pursue a range of careers and work in a variety of settings. With the dual background in Exercise Physiology for graduates of the MS CPD, these expansive settings include:
- Hospitals and clinics
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Cancer treatment centers
- University athletic department
- Native health clinics
- School districts
- Private practice offering nutrition and exercise consultation
- Long-term care facilities
- WIC offices housed within health districts
- Military dietitian and exercise physiologist positions
What It Takes to Become an RDN
An RDN meets stringent academic and professional requirements, including:
- Minimum education of a Bachelor’s degree with coursework approved by the Accreditation Council in Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, food service management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry. A graduate degree will become a requirement for the RDN credential beginning in 2024.
- Completion of an accredited, supervised, 1000-hour experiential practice program at a healthcare facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
- Passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
- Completion of 75 continuing professional educational (CPE) requirements every 5 years in order
to maintain registration.
The WSU MS CPD has a first-time pass rate of >90% on the Registration Examination for Dietitians over the past 2 years.
Our unique, accredited curriculum prepares students for further study or immediate employment.
The MS CPD degree requires a minimum of 36 graded graduate-level credits. 20 credits are experiential rotations to meet the ACEND–required 1,000 hours of supervised practice as a coordinated part of the program.
The MS CPD degree generally requires three to four semesters to complete, with the amount of time to program completion determined by the student’s undergraduate degree.
Each student is placed with preceptors at supervised practice sites for a majority (>70%) of the required supervised practice hours, with the remainder being completed with faculty on campus.
The MS CPD degree divides these hours amongst the following practice areas:
- Clinical Nutrition (440 hours)
- Foodservice management (200 hours)
- Community Nutrition (200 hours)
- Exercise (180 hours)*
*For students who enter the MS CPD without practical hours in exercise, they will complete two semesters of a Practicum course to acquire 180 experiential hours and required competencies in this area.
Students may be required to show evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination at supervised practice sites; if they cannot show proof of vaccination they may not be able to complete the MS CPD and therefore cannot take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
WSU MS CPD Mission Statement
We prepare entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists who promote optimum health and wellness for individuals and communities through the integration of nutrition and exercise physiology in a variety of dietetic career paths.
MS CPD Accreditation
The Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology (MS CPD) at Washington State University is granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accreditation details for the MS CPD are as follows:
- Program Status: Accredited
- Next Site Visit Year: 2027
- Current Term Ends On: 12/31/2028
Effective 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). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics (MS CPD) at Washington State University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about licensure and certification requirements by state, click here.