The “DTR” and “RD” credentials are a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the American Dietetic Association.
Some DTRs and RDs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are DTRs and RDs. The definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation “nutritionist,” but in other states, virtually any-one can call him- or herself a “nutritionist,” regardless of education or training.
Individuals with the DTR and RD credential have fulfilled specific academic and professional requirements, including the completion of required course work, a supervised internship accredited by CADE (Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education), and passing a national examination administered by the CDR. In addition, DTRs and RDs must complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain their credential. Because dietetics is a unique profession of such complexity and benefit to the health of the population that it requires a defined educational process based on national standards, accreditation is necessary.