Career Map: Dietitian
This document was updated in March 2007 in collaboration with the Access to Professions and Trades Unit, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Requirements may have changed by the time you apply. Please contact the College of Dietitians of Ontario before completing your application.
Copyright of this career map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the College of Dietitians of Ontario, © 2007. This career map may be used or reproduced by any third party for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes, provided that no fee, payment or royalty of any kind shall be charged by the third party for any further use of the career map by any person. Any proposed commercial or for-profit use or reproduction of this career map requires a written license from the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the College of Dietitians of Ontario.
The practice of dietetics is the assessment of nutrition and nutritional conditions and the treatment and prevention of nutrition related disorders by nutritional means. In order to work as a dietitian in Ontario, you must register with the College of Dietitians of Ontario (CDO). Only dietitians registered with CDO can use the titles Dietitian, Registered Dietitian (RD) or the French-language equivalent Diététiste Professionnelle (Dt.P.), or hold themselves out to the public as a person who is qualified to practise in Ontario as a dietitian.
In order to become registered with CDO, you must:
1) have graduated from
- a university level* program equivalent to an accredited** Canadian program in foods and nutrition, or
- a university level* program and completed the subject areas in foods and nutrition accepted as equivalent to the above program.
2) have achieved the competence standards acceptable to CDO by any one of these four ways:
- an accredited * internship (minimum 35 weeks in length)
- an accredited ** practicum (minimum 35 weeks in length)
- successful completion of a graduate program acceptable to CDO
- successful completion of a program of practical experience considered equivalent to a) or b) by CDO
3) pass the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE)
4) be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or be authorized under the Immigration Act (Canada) to work as a dietitian. The Registration Committee may exempt you from this requirement in special cases.
5) complete and submit an application form along with the required documents and pay the fee
6) not have been found guilty of a criminal act or of having broken the Food and Drug Act (Canada) or the Narcotic Control Act (Canada)
7) not have been found guilty of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity related to the practice of dietetics or any other profession anywhere in the world
8) be fluent in English or French
9) show that you have successfully completed an acceptable refresher or upgrading program if you have completed your academic and competence requirements (1 and 2 above) more than three years ago.
You can request an application package in writing, by email, fax, or telephone or it can be downloaded from CDO’s web site (www.cdo.on.ca). You must complete the entire application form and attach all the documents requested by the College of Dietitians of Ontario (CDO). If CDO receives an application form that is incomplete or if certain documents are missing, CDO will notify you. You must send the completed application form and/or the missing documents to CDO within 60 days of the notice of a missing document. If you do not reply within 60 days, you may require an extension; otherwise your file will be closed and you will have to reapply.
Once CDO receives your complete application form, all required documents, and the application fee, the Registration Committee will assess your academic and practical training qualifications and, if applicable, your previous work experience as a dietitian. Your case will be reviewed on an individual basis. The review process takes about 8 to10 weeks and can be done prior to your arrival in Canada.
Step 1 - Assessing Academic and Practical Training Qualifications
The assessment of your academic and practical qualifications is based on the documents that you submit. Please note that you are responsible for having all your official documents (for example, your transcript) sent by the institution where you completed your education and training directly to CDO. Only original documents or copies of the original documents that are certified by a Notary Public or Commissioner for Oaths and Affidavits will be accepted. If these documents are not in English or French, it is necessary to provide certified translations. These can be translated by any authorized translator, in Ontario or outside Ontario. An official seal is required.
The Registration Committee’s written decision will be sent to you. If the Registration Committee determines that your academic and practical training meets the requirements of CDO, you will be eligible to write the CDRE. If you do not meet CDO’s requirements, the Registration Committee will advise you of the steps that you must take in order to meet the qualifications required to register as a dietitian in Ontario.
If the Registration Committee determines that you have to take more courses or upgrade your practical skills, you will be given a reasonable period of time to do so (18 months for a 3-credit course and a 12-week upgrading practicum).
Applicants whose qualifications fail to meet CDO’s registration requirements will be refused registration as a dietitian with CDO. In this case, the Registration Committee will give you the reasons for this decision and advise you on further requirements you would need to complete before reapplying.
For the assessment of your academic and practical qualifications, you must send the following documents to CDO:
- an official assessment of your undergraduate and graduate degrees by the Comparative Education Service at the University of Toronto. There is a cost for this service. Please contact the university directly at the address provided at the end of this document
- a photocopy of your degree(s)
- a photocopy of your internship or practicum certificate
- any official documentation (for example, program handbook, syllabus, calendar) on your program of study and internship that would assist the Registration Committee in the review process
- official transcripts of all post-secondary education sent directly by the institution to CDO
- completion of the College of Dietitians of Ontario’s Education Summary form (available at www.cdo.on.ca
- if you are registering through the graduate route or a non-accredited practical training experience (see 2c and 2d above), the Registration Committee may request that you submit competency attestations in your area of specialization (clinical or community) to show that you have met the competence standards acceptable to CDO. If so, you will be provided with the required documentation and directions.
Please contact CDO or visit our web site www.cdo.on.ca for a current checklist of requirements.
New Internationally Trained Dietitians Pre-registration Program (IDPP): CDO welcomes the new program designed to assist Internationally Trained Dietitians to fill gaps in academic and practical training requirements and to prepare them to practice dietetics in Canadian environment. For more details please access the web site: Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program (IDPP) - Ryerson University
Step 2 - Assessing Practical Work Experience
If you completed your practical training and work experience outside Canada, you are required to complete Canadian Academic and Practical Training (CAPT) consisting of a minimum of one 3-credit advanced level course in Clinical Human Nutrition, followed by a minimum 10-week period (it will be lengthened as needed to meet your individual learning needs), practical training under the supervision of a registered dietitian. This experience will familiarize you with dietetic practice in Canada and help to prepare you for The Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination.
Please note that the IDPP program also offers assistance for CAPT completion.
For the assessment of your practical work experience, you must send the following documents to CDO:
- licence or certification to practise from any other licensing bodies with whom you have previously been registered
- completion of Employment Verification Form(s) which are provided by CDO. Once your application is received, the College will send you the appropriate form, if required. The form must be completed by your employer and sent directly by them to CDO together with a job description
Step 3 - Language Assessment
You must show that you can read, write, speak and understand English or French fluently. You may choose either French or English as your principal language. If your first language was not English or French and where there is insufficient objective evidence of your fluency, you must complete language tests to prove that you are proficient in the language of your choice (English or French).
If you are required to write language tests, the test scores must be sent directly by the testing institution to CDO.
Demonstration of proficiency in English includes the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or an Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) - speaking component. An alternative to TOEFL and TSE requirements is the completion of the Ryerson University IDPP program. The minimum acceptable scores for TOEFL and TSE are as follows:
|Computer Test (CBT)||Internet Test (iBT)|
TSE: Résultat de 50; ou résultat de 26 pour le test TOEFL sur Internet – composante orale.
Demonstration of proficiency in French includes:
Written: a CanTEST score of 4.5 in Listening and Reading, the required writing score of Band 4.0 and an interview test which confirms speaking performance.
Spoken: a CanTEST score of 4.5.
For more information on language proficiency testing please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) (for TOEFL or TSE) or CanTEST directly. (Contact information is provided at the end of this document).
Step 4 - Completion of Registration Requirements
If the Registration Committee decides that you need to obtain Canadian Academic and Practical Training, additional education or practical training in order to meet the registration requirements, you must successfully complete these in Canada within the given time period. All extensions are requested in writing to the Registration Committee. At the end of the stated period, you must provide official documents (such as official transcripts or signed verification forms from the registered dietitian supervising your practical experience) as proof that you have completed all the requirements of the Registration Committee before you can write the examination.
Step 5 - Registration Examination
After the Registration Committee determines that your academic and practical training qualifications meet the College of Dietitians’ requirements, you will be required to write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE). This multiple choice exam tests skills and knowledge required to practise dietetics in Ontario. For applicants to CDO, the exam is usually offered in May and November each year in Toronto, Ontario. The CDRE is also written in all the provinces except the province of Quebec. Applicants who live more than 700 km from Toronto may request an alternative exam location. Requests for an alternative location must be made in writing at the time you submit your application to CDO. You are responsible for any additional costs associated with establishing an alternative location in Ontario. These costs could include room rental, honorariums for people supervising the examination, courier costs and any associated travel costs.
You have four years or three opportunities, whichever comes first, to pass the CDRE. Your first attempt must be within one year of becoming eligible to write this exam. The Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination Preparation Guide has been prepared to tell you about the examination process and will be available when you have been deemed eligible for the examination and have submitted the required fee. The electronic copy of the exam preparation Guide is available at www.cdo.on.ca.
If you fail the Registration Examination on your first attempt, you are allowed to write it again. If you fail this exam on your second attempt, you will have to complete academic and practical upgrading before you can write the exam for your third and final attempt. If you do not pass the CDRE on your third attempt or within four years, you will not be able to continue in this examination process. You must wait two years from the date you were considered ineligible to continue in the examination process before you can reapply for registration with CDO.
You are eligible for Temporary Registration if you have met the academic and practical experience requirements and have applied to write the CDRE at the first available opportunity. This temporary registration would allow you to work legally as a dietitian in Ontario while you are waiting to write the examination and while you are waiting for your results. Temporary members are not permitted to supervise dietitians. The temporary registration fee is a proration of the annual registration fee. It expires ten weeks after the date of the CDRE. If you fail the CDRE exam, your temporary registration will be automatically revoked and you must immediately cease using the titles "Dietitian", "Registered Dietitian", or "RD" and their equivalents in any other language; you must immediately cease to practise as a dietitian or to hold yourself out to be qualified to practise as a dietitian in Ontario.
Labour Market Information
Many dietitians in Ontario work in large institutions such as hospitals and long term care facilities, but more and more are moving into jobs in the community and food industry or going into business for themselves as private practice dietitians. For dietitians who work for hospitals and large institutions, the typical work week is 32 - 40 hours, although weekend and shift work may be required.
The overall outlook for dietitians is good and should remain so into the future. Although restructuring of hospitals will reduce growth in the traditional health care facilities, the aging population, increasing interest in nutrition, and the trend toward preventive medicine as well as primary care should provide increasing opportunities for employment in community settings and food and nutrition related industries.
For more information about working as a dietitian in Ontario see Ontario Job Futures on the Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) website, www.ontariojobfutures.ca/. In Ontario, this information is also available at public libraries or HRDC Employment Resource Centres in your community.
Costs And Fees(in Canadian dollars)
|Academic Assessment Fee||$100|
|Practicum/Practical Training Assessment Fee||$150|
|Annual Registration Fee||$500|
College of Dietitians of Ontario
5775 Yonge Street, Suite #1810
PO Box 30
Telephone: (416) 598-1725
Fax: (416) 598-0274
Web site: www.cdo.on.ca
For information on academic and practical training programs in Dietetics, contact Dietitians of Canada: Dietitians of Canada
480 University Avenue, Suite #604
Telephone (416) 596-0857
Fax: (416) 596-0603
Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
350 Victoria Street, room EPH300
Contact name and telephone: Michelle Gordon, Program Assistant, (416) 979-5000, ext. 9045
For evaluation of your academic degree, contact the Comparative Education Service:
Comparative Education Service
Office of Admissions
University of Toronto
315 Bloor Street West
Telephone: (416) 978-2190
Fax: (416) 978-7022
Web site: www.utoronto.ca
For English-language fluency assessment, contact the Educational Testing Service:
PO Box 6151
Princeton , New Jersey
Telephone: (609) 771-7100
Fax: (609) 771-7500
TYY: (609) 734-9362
Web site: www.toefl.org
For information in French-language proficiency Testing contact:
Second Language Institute
600 King Edward Avenue
For information on where and how to get help with settlement in Ontario visit:
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 200
Telephone: (416) 322-4950 Fax: (416) 322-8084
Web site: www.ocasi.org
For a government contact about accessing health-related professions in Ontario:
Access Centre for Internationally
163 Queen Street East, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M5A 1S1
Tel. 416-862-2200 or 1-800-596-4046
*As assessed by the Comparative Education Service at the University of Toronto
**The accrediting agency is the national dietetic association, Dietitians of Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Dietetic Association. A list of accredited programs and internships offered in Canada and competency standards is available from Dietitians of Canada. The address is provided at the end of this document.
Copyright in this career map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the College of Dietitians of Ontario, 2007.