Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Colorado

Registered dietitians looking toColorado practice in Colorado are not regulated or licensed by any state agency. Colorado does, however, restrict the titles of dietitian and certified dietitian to those individuals who have fulfilled the registered dietitian requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the American Dietetic Association. 

The Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) is a non-profit organization representing more than 1200 members consisting of registered dietitians, dietetic technicians registered, and dietetic students in the state. Therefore, if you wish to practice as a registered dietitian in Colorado, don’t feel like you have to do it alone. CAND is there to assist you in providing the latest information on nutrition and health, professional and networking opportunities, and continuing education events.

Becoming a registered dietitian in Colorado does require following certain steps mandated by the CDR, which we will discuss in this article. 

Education and Experience for Registered Dietitians in Colorado

Colorado’s registered dietitians must fulfill certain educational and experiential requirements of the CDR, just like registered dietitians must do nationwide. This includes completing a nutrition and dietetics education program approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  Find such programs here. As you are browsing through the choices, keep in mind that as of January 1, 2024, the CDR will mandate that all registered dietitians have a minimum of a master’s degree. 

Registered dietitian programs in Colorado will fall into one of these categories: 

  • Graduate Program (GP): This program offers students both didactic (lecture) courses and practical experience, and ends when you earn a graduate degree. 
  • Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP): This type of programoffersstudents didactic (lecture) dietetic coursework and 1000 hours of supervised dietetic practice. 
  • Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD): This type of program offers students the dietetic coursework (lectures) only. It must be followed by a Dietetic Internship (DI) lasting at least 1000 hours.

Examination for Registered Dietitians in Colorado

Once your educational and experiential portion of registered dietitian preparation is completed, you will be ready to take the CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians. You will be instructed by a program representative to fill out necessary forms to register for the exam, as well as to review the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates.  

You must pay a $200 fee online when you register to take the test, which is offered at Pearson VUE testing centers across the country. In Colorado, centers may be found in the following locations:

  • Denver
  • Greenwood Village
  • Colorado Springs

You should be highly familiar with the examination’s content from your studies, as it will include principles of dietetics, nutrition care for groups and individuals, food and nutrition services and program management, and foodservice systems. Upon finishing the exam, your score will be displayed to you. You will receive your CDR card in the mail, confirming that you have become a registered dietitian eligible to work in Colorado. 

Earnings for Registered Dietitians in Colorado

Colorado employs 1170 dietitians and nutritionists as of May 2021, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their annual median wage is $61,350. Those earning in the top 25 percent make $76,920 annually, while those earning in the top 10 percent make $91,110 per year.  Those working in various cities and towns statewide may make differing salaries, as is evident from the annual median wage data below:

  • Denver/Aurora/Lakewood $62,470
  • Boulder $61,650
  • Fort Collins $61,530
  • Colorado Springs $60,550
  • Greeley $60,360
  • Grand Junction $60,110

Jobs for Registered Dietitians in Colorado

As of July 2022, the following job openings were posted for registered dietitians in the state of Colorado:

  • Dietitian, Registered, Bariatric- Denver Health, Denver, CO
    • Salary: $54,500 to $79,200/year
    • Requires RD credential
  • Clinical Dietitian Advanced – Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO
    • Salary: $65,104 to $97,656/year
    • Requires RD credential
    • Requires 10 years of clinical nutrition experience
  • Dietitian – Animas Surgical Hospital, Durango, CO
    • Salary: $25.04 to $35.97/hour
    • Requires RD credential
    • Requires two years of hospital nutrition experience
  • Dietitian, Food & Nutrition Services – Jeffco Public Schools, Jefferson County, CO
    • Salary: $66,180 to $79,280/year
    • Requires RD credential
    • Requires two years of experience in school food service management software, especially nutritional analysis
  • Dietitian II, Registered Dietitian – State of Colorado, Pueblo, CO
    • Salary: $51,876 to $75,924/year
    • Requires RD credential
    • Requires one year of experience in dietetics and nutrition 

Joining the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

It is highly recommended that, as a Colorado registered dietitian, you join the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Becoming a member of both the state and district association corresponding to your location can help you earn up to 26 continuing education credit units per year, helping to keep you on the leading edge of developments in nutrition and dietetics. You can also take advantage of the many job opportunities CAND posts on its website, for members only. It should also be noted that CAND encourages diversity and inclusion by recognizing, respecting, and including members with different abilities, ages, creeds, cultures, genders, ethnicities, gender identities, political affiliations, races, religions, sexual orientation, sizes, and socioeconomic characteristics.  

District associations within CAND include: