Career Map: Dietitian
This document was updated in December 2014 in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. 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, © 2014. 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. Dietitians are educated and trained to work in three core areas of dietetics practice: clinical, food service management and population health. The Integrated Competencies for Dietitic Education and Practice (ICDEP) is the best resource for understanding the scope of dietetic practice in Canada.
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 1. or 2. 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), unless the conviction is reviewed by CDO and deemed not relevant your ability to practice dietetics safely and ethically.
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, unless the finding is reviewed by CDO and deemed not to be relevant to your ability to practice dietetics safely and ethically.
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.
The application instructions may be found on the College’s website.
It is important to note that the first step in the application process is to have your degree assessed by World Education Service (WES). This can be done before or after you arrive in Canada, but your application will not proceed without this assessment.
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.
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. The review process takes about 4 to12 weeks and can be done prior to your arrival in Canada.
Assessing Academic and Practical Training Qualifications
Your academic and practical training will be assessed by the Registration Committee. The assessment will be based on the documents that you submit. Important information:
- You are responsible for having your official documents (for example, university transcript) sent directly to CDO by the institution where you completed your education and training.
- CDO requires original documents or copies of the original documents that have been certified by a Notary Public or Commissioner for Oaths and Affidavits.
- If your 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 or stamp is required on translated and certified documents.
The Registration Committee’s written decision will be sent to you along with the reason. 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.
The Internationally Trained Dietitians Pre-registration Program (IDPP) is a program is 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, visit Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program (IDPP) - Ryerson University.
Canadian Orientation and Assessment
If you completed your practical training and work experience outside Canada, you may be required to complete Canadian Academic and Practical Training (CAPT) consisting 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 (CDRE).
Please note that the IDPP program also offers assistance for COA completion.
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).
For more details about demonstrating the required language proficiency, consult the College's website.
Completion of Registration Requirements
If the Registration Committee decides that you need to complete additional education or practical training, 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.
Once the Registration Committee determines that you meet the College of Dietitians’ requirements, you will be required to write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE).
The CDRE is a computer based multiple choice exam that tests knowledge, comprehension of knowledge and critical thinking by analyzing, interpreting and applying knowledge required to practise dietetics in Canada. The exam is offered in May and November each year in multiple sites across Ontario. 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 Canada. These costs could include room rental, honorariums for people supervising the examination, and any associated travel costs.
You have four years 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 is available on the College’s website.
If you fail the Registration Examination on your first attempt, you are allowed to write it again without completing additional education or training. If you fail the exam on any subsequent attempt you will have to complete academic and practical upgrading before you can write the exam again.
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 $120. It expires ten weeks after the date of the CDRE. If you fail the CDRE, your temporary registration may be extended if you are able to arrange for appropriate supervision. Refer to the College's website for information about appropriate supervision.
If you are not able to arrange appropriate supervision your temporary certificate will expire 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.
Costs and Fees
A summary of all potential costs and fees associated with the application and registration process can be found on the College's website.
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.
For information on Labour Market in Ontario, applicants are recommended to visit the Government of Canada Job Bank website where they can access topics such as:
- Job Search in Ontario (can browse by “Dietitian)
- Explore careers by occupation, education program, wages
- Job Market
This information is also available at public libraries or Employment Resource Centres in your community.
For registration requirements, contact the Provincial Regulatory Body or visit the comprehensive Registration/Renewals section of its website:
College of Dietitians of Ontario
5775 Yonge Street, Suite 1810, Box 30
Toronto, ON M2M 4J1
Toll free: 1-800-668-4990
For information on academic and practical training programs in Dietetics, contact Dietitians of Canada:
Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
350 Victoria Street, room VIC600
Toronto, ON M5B 2K3
Contact name and telephone: Program Assistant, 416-979-5000, ext. 4095
For evaluation of your academic degree, contact the World Education Services (WES):
World Education Services
45 Charles Street East, suite 700
Toronto, ON M4Y 1S2
Toll free: 1-866-343-0070 Fax: 416-972-9004
For English-language fluency assessment, contact the Educational Testing Service:
For information in French-language proficiency Testing contact:
University of Ottawa
Language Testing Services
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
70 Laurier Avenue East, Room 130
Ottawa, ON K1N-6N5
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
Toronto, ON M4R 1A3
For a government contact about accessing health-related professions in Ontario:
Access Centre for Internationally Educated Professionals
163 Queen Street East, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M5A 1S1
Toll free: 1-800-596-4046
Copyright in this career map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the College of Dietitians of Ontario, 2014.