Who is a Registered Dietitian or Registered Dietetic Technician in China?

Registered Dietitians (RD) and Dietetic Technicians, Registered (DTR) are experts in nutrition and dietetics and are educated and trained specifically in this field. In order to become a fully qualified RD or DTR in China currently, candidates have to fulfill a few prerequisites first to be eligible to take a registration examination. After the applicants complete the exam, the grade will be posted after three months. If applicants successfully pass the exam and all other required supporting documents get approved, they then can be registered by Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) as licensed RD or DTR.

The Chinese Nutrition Society, was founded in 1945. It is a multi-disciplinary professional organization dedicated to research and the application of the best nutrition practices for the promotion of human well-being and the prevention of disease. Currently, CNS has over 18,000 members in 31 regions across China, including nutritionists, clinical dietitians, community health workers, academic professionals and students who are interested in pursuing career in health-care.

The expertise of practitioners from nutrition and nutrition related fields is evaluated by Registered Dietitian Committee (RDC), which is established by CNS. The RDC is in charge of managing examinations, registrations and continuing educations. The RDC also consists of two sub-groups. One is responsible for educations and examinations, and the other one is responsible for registration, supervision and regulation.

Both Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians, Registered are involved in nutrition and dietetics. However, they often have different expectations and duties. A Registered Dietitian can use the science of nutrition to engage in diet management, nutrition support, nutrition therapy and nutrition counseling for an individual or a group. A Registered Dietetic Technician usually work for or under the supervision of a Registered Dietitians in dietary management and nutrition counseling.

Expertise Assessment

The qualification process to become a credentialed RD or DTR includes the corresponding curricula, internships and a registration examination. The registration examination is administered nationally 1 to 2 times a year. The contents and questions of each examination are reviewed and certified by the RDC in order to ensure the validity.

Candidates who meet the following criteria can apply for registration examination:

Registered Dietitian Registered Dietetic Technicians
1. Complete a minimum of a bachelor degree in nutrition or nutrition related majors (see Appendix 1) 1. Complete a minimum of an associate’s degree in nutrition or nutrition related majors (see Appendix 1) or a bachelor degree in other majors
2. Complete a series of courses for Registered Dietitians (see Appendix 2) and acquire corresponding credits 2. Complete a series of courses for Registered Dietetic Technicians (see Appendix 2) and acquire corresponding credits
3. Work in nutrition and nutrition related fields or complete the dietetic internship for at least 1 year 3. Work in nutrition and nutrition related fields for at least 2 years
4. Ability to work independently  

Those who are already Registered Dietetic Technicians and have worked in nutrition and nutrition related fields for more than or equal to 5 years can apply for the registration examination of the Registered Dietitian after completing a series of courses for Registered Dietitians.

Continuing Education

The first-time registration is valid for five years. One must apply to the Chinese Nutrition Society for re-registration three months before it expires. Candidates who are re-registered must meet the following criteria:

(1) Meet the minimum credit requirements for continuing education.

(2) Comply with the Code of Ethics.

(3) Employers have no objection against the applicants in obtaining certificates of RD or DTR.

Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians, Registered must complete continuing professional educational requirements to improve their professional knowledge and skills. Continuing education includes corresponding curricula, professional conferences/meetings, training sessions, and research opportunities (with various other options). Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians, Registered earn corresponding credits through continuing education. Within the validity period of the certificate, Registered Dietitians are required to obtain at least 50 credits, and Dietetic Technicians, Registered are mandatory to acquire 30 credits minimum.

Certification of Cooperation Organizations

Educational institutions, dietetic internships, and test administration are all multi-cooperated in the training of Registered Dietitians. Cooperation organizations need to be assessed, certified and regulated by CNS. The certification is valid for 5 to 7 years, in which reapplication is needed for re-qualification.

Appendix 1: Nutrition and nutrition related majors

Bachelor degrees Nutrition majorsition Food Safety and Nutrition
Preventive Medicineition
Medical Nutritionition
Food Hygiene and Nutritionition
Nutrition related majors Basic Medicineition
Clinical Medicine
Food Quality and Safetyition
Food Science and Engineeringition
Food Nutrition and Inspection Educationition
Culinary Science and Nutrition Educationition
Maternal and Child Healthition
Pediatric Medicineition
Nursingition
Pharmacyition
Pharmacologyition
Clinical Medicine of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicinet
Chinese Medicineition
Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Rehabilitationition
Traditional Chinese Medicineition
Pharmacology of Traditional Chinese Medicineition
College degrees Nutrition majors Medical Nutritionition
Food Nutrition and Safetyition
Nutrition related majors Nutrition related majorsNutrition Equilibriumition
Food Nutrition and Detection Rehabilitationition
Cooking Technology and Nutritionition
Development and Management of Health Care Productsition
Health Managementition
Chinese Medicine Health Careition
Elderly Health Care and Managementition
Western Food Technologyition

Appendix 2: Dietetic curriculum

ModulesRegistered DietitianRegistered Dietetic Technicians
CoursesCreditsCoursesCredits
Basic MedicineAnatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Microbiology, Immunology10Biochemistry, Physiology1
Fundamental NutritionIntroduction to Nutrition, Nutrition Foundation4Introduction to Nutrition, Nutrition Foundation3
Food Science andFood SafetyFood Nutrition, Food Analysis, Food Processing, Food Safety6IFood Nutrition, Food Safety5
Foodservice and ManagementCulinary Science, Diet Management and Design, Recipe Preparation, Catering Management and Practice6Culinary Science, Diet Management and Design, Recipe Preparation, Catering Management and Practice10
Community NutritionDietary Nutrient Reference Intake, Dietary Guidelines, Nutrition Survey and Evaluation, Food, Health and Dietary Patterns (including Vegetarian), Community Nutrition and Chronic Disease Management, Health Management5Dietary Nutrient Reference Intake, Dietary Guidelines, Nutrition Survey and Evaluation, Food, Health and Dietary Patterns (including Vegetarian), Community Nutrition and Chronic Disease Management, Health Management3
Human NutritionNutrition of People of Different Ages (Different Physiological Conditions),Nutrition of People of Different Occupations and Environment, Sports Nutrition4Nutrition of People of Different Ages (Different Physiological Conditions),Nutrition of People of Different Occupations and Environment, Sports Nutrition3
Clinical NutritionIntroduction to Clinical Nutrition, Intestinal and Parenteral Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy7Introduction to Clinical Nutrition1
Nutrition EducationPsychology, Nutrition Counseling and Education, Nutrition Counseling and Educational Practice4Nutrition Counseling and Education, Nutrition Counseling and Educational Practice1
Environment and HealthIntroduction to Environment and Health, Epidemiology and Health Statistics3 1
Capstone 1  
Total credits 50 27
Total hours (16 hours per credit) 800 432

Contact: RDC@cnsoc.org