Crash Course: Collision of Master's Requirement and RDN Staffing Shortage


In a world dealing with the Great Resignation, our profession has the added stress of new credentialing requirements that impact the available pool of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) in the workplace. With the master’s degree requirement change in 2024, the timeline from completion of a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) to the RDN credential is lengthened. This extended timeline will create a delay in the number of eligible candidates to take the RDN exam. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics shows a discrepancy between expected job growth and eligible candidates who have passed the RDN exam. Data on employment demand, projected new RDNs, and other staffing issues will be presented. Current and novel strategies for retaining, recruiting, and negotiating from the perspectives of the new RDN on the job market and the hiring manager will be shared, including practical suggestions for navigating the complex intersection of the graduate degree requirements and staffing shortages. Advocating for the RDN will be highlighted from multiple perspectives. Hiring managers will leave with tangible steps to address this unprecedented time in the profession.

Learning Objectives

Describe how the implementation of the graduate degree requirement for entry-level RDN practice will impact supply and demand of RDNs in the workforce

Use RDN staffing data to highlight challenges and advocate with employers, healthcare payers, and other funders to improve RDN compensation

Create a thoughtful plan for stabilizing RDN staffing during ongoing unprecedented staffing challenges for the nutrition and dietetics profession

Performance Indicators

3.2 Advocates for and participates in activities that support advancement of the profession

7.1 Identifies, analyzes and manages risks, adverse events, and safety to self, staff, clients and public

14.4Coordinates human resource activities, adhering to labor agreements, organizational policies and applicable legislation


Heather Cox

Senior Instructor, Didactic Program in Dietetics Director

Virginia Tech

Angie Hasemann Bayliss

Clinical Nutrition Manager

Morrison Healthcare/University of Virginia Health


Wendy Phillips

Regional Vice President

Morrison Healthcare

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