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 who are educated and trained specifically in this field. In order to become a fully qualified RD or DTR in China, candidates have to fulfill certain 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, then they can be registered by Chinese Nutrition Society (CNS) as licensed RDs or DTRs.

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

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

Both Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians, Registered are involved in the field of nutrition and dietetics. However, they have different expectations and duties. A Registered Dietitian can use evidence-based nutrition science to engage in dietary management, nutritional support, medical 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 Dietitian in dietary management and nutrition counseling.

Expertise Assessment

The qualification process to become an accredited 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 validity.

Candidates who meet the following criteria can apply for the 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 required courses for Registered Dietitians (see Appendix 2) and acquire corresponding credits 2. Complete a series of required 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 the required courses for Registered Dietitians.

Continuing Education

Registration for the first time 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 education 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. Registered Dietitians are required to obtain at least 50 credits and Dietetic Technicians, Registered are required to obtain at least 30 credits in every 5 years for re-registration.

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 majors Food Safety and Nutrition
Preventive Medicine
Clinical Nutrition
Food Hygiene and Nutrition
Nutrition related majors General Medicine
Clinical Medicine
Food Quality and Safety
Food Science and Engineering
Food Nutrition and Inspection Education
Culinary Science and Nutrition Education
Maternal and Child Health
Pediatric Medicine
Nursing
Pharmacy
Pharmacology
Clinical Medicine of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine
Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Rehabilitation
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Pharmacology of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Associate degrees Nutrition majors Clinical Nutrition
Food Nutrition and Safety
Nutrition related majors Nutrition Equilibrium
Food Nutrition and Detection Rehabilitation
Culinary Technology and Nutrition
Development and Management of Health Care Products
Health Management
Chinese Medicine Health Care
Gerontology Health Care and Management
Western Food Technology

Appendix 2: Dietetic curriculum

ModulesRegistered DietitianRegistered Dietetic Technicians
CoursesCreditsCoursesCredits
General MedicineAnatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Microbiology, Immunology10Biochemistry, Physiology1
Fundamental NutritionIntroduction to Nutrition, Nutrition Foundation4Introduction to Nutrition, Nutrition Foundation3
Food Science and Food SafetyFood Science, Food Analysis, Food Processing, Food Safety6Food Science, 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, Medical Nutrition 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
Dietetic Internship 1  
Total credits 50 27
Total hours (16 hours per credit) 800 432

Contact: RDC@cnsoc.org