What's on the RD Exam

How to Pass the RD Exam

If someone wishes to become a registered dietitian, he or she must learn how to pass the RD exam. The exam consists of 80 to 130 questions (including a set of ungraded new test questions). It covers four domains of knowledge: Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems. The cost of the test is $200 and it is administered in over 250 locations within the U.S. The grading scale is 150 and a passing score is 25.

Registered Dietitian Practice Test

The CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration) administers the RD (Registered Dietitian) exam for the Academy (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). The Academy initially created the RD test and is still an advocate for dietitians. The Academy is also involved in improving the health of Americans through nutrition research and education.

Eligible candidates for the RD test will have:

  1. At least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited American college or university
  2. Completed a didactic program in dietetics accredited by ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics)
  3. At least 1200 hours of supervised practice

For your supervised practice requirements, you must fulfill them in the U.S. or its territories. For your supervised practice to qualify you for the RD test, you must be part of ACEND’s Individual Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP).

Once you are approved to take the RD test, you have one year in which to do so. The test is only offered in the fall of each calendar year. You can take the test at any Pearson VUE center in the U.S. If you were already certified in Canada, the Netherlands, the Philippines, or Ireland, your certification will be recognized and you will not need to take the RD test in the U.S.

The RD test includes multiple choice, sequenced items, and key features on the topics of Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems. There are 130 questions and you will be given two and a half hours to answer as many questions as possible. If you fail the RD test on your first attempt, there is a 45 day waiting period before you can apply to retake the test.

A registered dietitian (RD) provides nutritional counseling and services in many different settings, including schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals, community/public health facilities, corporate nutrition programs, the food and nutrition industry, sports nutrition, business, and research.

There are three types of registered dietitians: a clinical dietitian who specializes in medical nutrition and works in facilities such as hospitals and long-term care facilities; a community dietitian who is a nutrition educator in settings such as government agencies, non-profit organizations, public health clinics, and HMOs; and a management dietitian who oversees the kitchen and dietary meal plans for foodservice settings such as hospitals, cafeterias, and food corporations.

The Academy and the CDR created a Code of Ethics for registered dietitians, and while working in these various settings, a registered dietitian must know and follow the Code of Ethics:

Code of Ethics

  • Dietetics practitioners conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, and fairness.
  • Dietetics practitioners support and promote high standards of professional practice (for the benefit of clients, the public, and the profession) by reporting perceived violations of the Code of Ethics.

rd examHow to Pass the RD Test

In response to the high standards put forth by the Academy and the CDR, it is important that you study and prepare for your RD test. The RD test confirms whether or not you are proficient in the areas of Principles of Dietetics, Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Foodservice Systems. Mometrix can help you achieve these standards by offering you tools such as an RD study guide, an RD practice test, and RD flashcards. These tools will help you study as well as give you the opportunity to practice taking the RD test. Here are the breakdowns of what you will find on the RD test.

Principles of Dietetics

The Principles of Dietetics portion of the RD test will cover: Food Science and Nutrient Composition of Foods, including topics such as safe cooking temperatures, different types of cooking, food safety, and food composition. Nutrition and Supporting Sciences, including the human body’s metabolism and reactions to different foods. Education and Communication to test your aptitude for teaching nutrition to the public. Research to test your aptitude for testing new nutritional programs. Management Concepts to test your ability to oversee a kitchen staff and other types of food preparation settings.

Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups

The Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups portion of the RD test will cover: Screening and Assessment to test your ability to analyze and document a condition or situation.  Diagnosis to test your ability to make an accurate diagnosis of a condition or situation. Planning and Intervention to test your skill in creating a proactive nutrition plan to prevent further issues.  Monitoring and Evaluation to test your ability to continue watching conditions after treatment.

Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services

The Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services portion of the RD test will cover: Functions of Management to test your knowledge on the roles of supervisors. Human Resources to test your knowledge on hiring the appropriate staff and dealing with dietitian team issues. Financial Management to test your ability to manage the financial aspects of a nutrition program or service. Marketing and Public Relations to test your marketing creativity and public speaking skills. Quality Improvement to test you in areas of quality control and your ability to make suggestions for improvements in current practices.

Foodservice Systems

The Foodservice Systems portion of the RD test will cover: Menu Development to test your skill in menu planning and executing. Procurement, Production, Distribution, and Service to test your ability to handle the logistics of a foodservice system. Sanitation and Safety to test your knowledge of proper food handling and preparation. Equipment and Facility Planning to test your skill in planning an efficient and effective facility. Sustainability to test your knowledge on how to continue the growth and application of proper nutrition in the U.S.

Mometrix can help you pass the RD test by helping you study. Use the Mometrix RD study guide, RD practice test, RD flashcards, and RD video tutorials to get closer to your college goals.

Published by

Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more