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Distance Dietetic Program

The University of Northern Colorado offers a distance-based track of the ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) called the Distance Dietetic Program (DDP). Students complete the same curriculum as our on-campus program, however, it is designed to be more accessible for students particularly those who have employment and/or family commitments that preclude participating in a full-time on-campus experience. The distance track offers 15 courses online; the rest of the required courses are taken at a regionally accredited institution where you live or on-line and they transfer in. You may desire to complete your bachelor’s degree in dietetics or, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may choose to obtain a second bachelor’s degree or a certificate. Successful completion of the distance dietetics track will enable you to apply for dietetic internships and graduate schools on your path to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist. 

The UNC Dietetic faculty will advise you regarding which courses you have taken or are planning to take will fulfill the requirements for distance completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. They will help you design your schedule of pre-requisite courses to take in preparation for enrollment in the on-line courses. You may begin taking courses in a Distance Dietetic Program cohort if you have taken the Dietetics pre-requisites, you have been advised by your advisor, you meet the 3.0 or above grade point average requirement and there is space available in the courses. If you do not already have a Bachelor's degree, or if you plan to pursue a second Bachelor's degree in Dietetics, you can complete your first three years of coursework at a campus close to you and the last 30 credits online with UNC.

The Dietetics Program at UNC is accredited as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Completion of UNC’s DPD is the first step on the pathway to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) or dietetic technician, registered (DTR). The steps to become an RDN are:

  1. Complete a bachelor's degree and receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program (Didactic Program in Dietetics, Coordinated Program, Future Graduate Program, Foreign or International Dietitian Education Program) Note, effective January 1, 2024, a graduate degree will be required to be eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration. (Dietetic registration exam.)
  2. Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice dietetic internship program or Individual Supervised Practice Pathway is an option. Supervised practice/experiential learning is combined with the Coordinated Program, Future Graduate Program, and International Dietitian Education Program.
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's dietetic registration exam.
  4. Gain licensure in your state of practice, if applicable.
  5. Maintain continuing education.

Beginning January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) has changed the degree requirement for dietitian registration eligibility from a Bachelor's degree to a Master's degree (in any field) in addition to the current requirement of a verification statement from an ACEND accredited dietetics program.  For more information, see Graduate Degree Registration Eligibility Requirement Frequently Asked Questions and Graduate Degree Registration Eligibility Requirement Student Option Scenarios.

Eligibility for Online Programs by State of Residence

The University of Northern Colorado has been approved by Colorado to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Through this membership, we adhere to established standards for distance higher education and are authorized to serve students from all 49 NC-SARA participating states.

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Entry-Level Registration Eligibility Requirements Update

The Commission on Dietetic Registration website provides information regarding the plan and timeline to initiate the new entry-level practice requirements of earning an advanced degree along with completing supervised practice and taking a registration exam.

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The new requirements will take effect January 1, 2024. Those who become Registered Dietitians before this time will be allowed to practice without an advanced degree.

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at the University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and adheres to the knowledge, skills, and competencies described by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
800-877-1600, ext. 5400
www.eatrightpro.org/acend