It can take up to 4 or 5 weeks before you can sit for the RD exam after completing your dietetic internship. Within this time, many individuals will be offered jobs as dietitian’s right off the bat. So what happens if you’re immediately offered a job as a dietitian before taking the exam? Can you accept the job without being a registered dietitian? Or what do you do if you’re offered a job and don’t pass the RD exam on the first try?
The answers to these questions are that you can work as a dietitian without passing the RD exam under a provisional license. A provisional license gives individuals who have not passed the RD exam the ability to work as a dietitian under the supervision of a registered dietitian.
The three basic requirements that enable you to apply for a provisional license are:
- A bachelor’s degree in dietetics or a related field from an Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics accredited University.
- The competition of a supervised practice program aka dietetic internship.
- You have been hired as a dietitian. (You can’t apply for a provisional license if you don’t have a job).
Specific documents and fees needed for the application process
- Official transcripts
- You will need transcripts from the University(s) you graduated from showing a bachelor’s degree was awarded in the dietetics field.
- Official verification statement of completion
- This document states that you’ve met all requirements need to complete your dietetic internship. You will need your internship director to mail this form to your state licensure agency.
- Formal job description form
- This form will be submitted to your state licensing board detailing where and what type of work you will be doing.
- Supervision form
- Your work supervisor who must be a registered and licensed dietitian must submit supervision form that states that she/he will readily available in person or by telecommunications and will review your work while you’re provisionally licensed.
- Application + licensing fee.
- Regular and provisional licenses are only good for 1 year. For example, in the state of Louisiana a first time applicants will be required to pay a one-time application fee ($45) and an annual provisional license fee ($50)
Maintaining your provisional license
Provisionally licenses are good for one year and may be renewed annually for a period of up to five years. Some of the things you have to do to keep you provisionally license active are:
- You must obtain at least 15 hours of continuing education every year you’re provisionally licensed
- Your supervising dietitian must annually submit to the licensing board a written report detailing that you’re in the process of meeting the experience requirements in anticipation of taking the RD exam.
Upgrading your provisional license
One the RD exam is passed you will now be able to upgrade to a regular license. Once you’ve obtained a regular license you will not need to be supervised. You will also not be required to obtain 15 hours of continuing education every year.