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:
- Acute care hospitals
- Outpatient and community clinics
- Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs
- Cancer treatment centers
- University athletic department
- Native health clinics
- School districts
- Private practice offering nutrition and exercise consultation
- Long-term care facilities
- Public health settings
- WSU Extension community nutrition and research programs
- Military dietitian and exercise physiologist positions
What It Takes to Become an RDN
An RDN meets stringent academic and professional requirements, including:
- A graduate degree with coursework approved by the Accreditation Council in Education of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
- Prior to entering the graduate program, coursework at the undergraduate level typically includes food and nutrition sciences, business, sociology, psychology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry.
- Within the program, coursework at the graduate level includes food service management, community nutrition and public health, medical nutrition therapy, research methods, and biochemistry.
- Completion of an ACEND accredited program inclusive of 1,000 experiential hours of supervised practice at healthcare facilities, community agencies, university settings, school districts, and/or foodservice management departments.
- Passing a national registration examination for dietetics administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
The WSU MS CPD has a >90% first-time and 1-year pass rate over the past 3+ years on the Registration Examination for Dietetics.
Our unique, accredited curriculum prepares students for further study or immediate employment.
The MS CPD degree requires a minimum of 35 graded graduate-level credits, with 19 of these graded credits comprised of experiential rotation courses to meet the ACEND–required minimum 1,000 hours of supervised practice as part of our coordinated program in dietetics.
The MS CPD degree requires three to five semesters to complete, with the amount of time to program completion determined by the student’s undergraduate degree.
Experiential Learning (Supervised Practice)
Each student is placed with preceptors at supervised practice sites around the state of Washington and northern Idaho for a majority (>70%) of the required 1,020 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 and Health Promotion (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 a student cannot show proof of vaccination, they may not be able to complete the MS CPD and therefore cannot take the Registration Examination for Dietetics.
WSU MS CPD Mission Statement, Goals, and Measurable Outcomes
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.
Goals and Measurable Outcomes
Goal 1: Graduates will be credentialed entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).
- At least 80% of the students will complete the program/degree requirements within three years (150% of the program length).
- All preceptors who respond to the annual program evaluation survey regarding the supervised practice rotations will rate the preparation of each dietetic student’s knowledge and skills at a level of satisfactory or above.
- At the conclusion of the practice, 80% of the MS CPD students will rate their preceptors and supervised practice experiences at a level of satisfactory or above.
- The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
- 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
- At least 80% of the MS CPD graduates who respond to the survey administered one-year post-
graduation will rate their graduate preparation at a level of satisfactory or above for job
- Of graduates who seek employment, 70% or more are employed in nutrition and dietetics or
related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- At least 80% of the employers who respond to the survey given to them by the MS CPD
graduate at one-year post graduation will rate the preparation of the graduate at a level of
satisfactory or above.
Goal 2: The program will prepare MS CPD graduates to test for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) credentials, such as the Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EPs).
- At least 80% of all surveyed graduates from the MS CPD will rate having the interdisciplinary training in exercise and nutrition as advantageous when working with patients/clients.
- Graduates who choose to test for ACSM credentialing will achieve a first-time pass rate of at least 70%.
Note: The MS CPD Outcomes data are available to the public upon request.
MS CPD Accreditation
The Master of Science Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology (MS CPD) at Washington State University is accredited 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.